Today, at Barrie, I said good-bye to my eight students (I started out with nine the first week, then two joined, then progressively three quit). They are a great group, and I’ve been honored to teach them for these short 9 weeks. We first set aside some time for them to complete the Prezis which they had worked on in two separate groups. I had little to no involvement in building either Prezi, beyond simply pointing out the overall topic of each one.
- The prezi summing up the various careers that the girls aspire to can be found here
- The prezi summing up the skills that the girls learned during the workshop is here
Once they had finished their Prezis, which were fantastic, I had them do the Post-Workshop survey and draw a skill from a “bag” of skills which they would subsequently teach or demonstrate to their parents, who were invited for the second part of today’s final session.
From the post-workshop survey, I could not gather much useful information, and this was perhaps a result of the fact that we knew the parents were soon coming and the girls were also pretty tired from an entire school day followed by work on the Prezis (they were clearly angling for the snacks I had brought…). Mostly however, it turned out that they did not want to learn HTML coding as much as simply editing and populating a WYSIWYG wiki site, and that they did not appreciate the article topics being more or less imposed on them (as in, you can choose anything, as long as its a future career).
When the girls drew the skills out of a bag at random, I was really impressed, because each student took full ownership of her “skill” and made sure that she was able to demonstrate it and work through it in order to show the parents. The skills were as follows:
- producing a google trends graph or a name trends graph
- making an online survey using Google Docs
- finding images online that are creative commons
- embedding a youtube video
- adding a photo to the article with a caption
- embedding a google map into your page
- how to add a discussion post on somebody else’s article
- how to complete a Codecademy exercise
- editing an actual Wikipedia article
Finally, after a short snack break, at around 4:30 (the session started at 3:30), we had the parents join us, and they all sat interspersed with the girls around the room. We first had the girls demonstrate their particular skill, with the parents going around from one child to the next, and really enjoying it. Then we had the two groups make their presentations (at the end of one of them, I even got a card! It made me very happy). Finally, after all this, I presented the girls with their WikidGRRLs certificates and branded WikidGRRLs flash drives with UMD lanyards. They were very glad, and everybody applauded for each student who came up to receive her certificate.
I want to extend a special thanks to Tim Schaffer, Barrie’s director of technology, who helped me through the whole workshop but supported me in this last session in a particularly helpful way. You will see him on many of the photos, going around and helping the girls. He is a joy to work with. Overall, what I brought home with me from this day is a deep sense of gratitude, first and foremost to Stine who invited me to join this project, and secondly to the students who made it all worthwhile, and finally to Tim for his help at the school. In the future I will refer to this year, 2013, as the year when I taught the workshop for WikidGRRLs- hopefully the *first* year.