This semester we have had some awesome presenters in 504, we had Tom Ward and his use of video in the class room and Liz Kolb with an overview of BYOD/BYOT. However, I am going to blog about David Theune. David was the first presenter of the semester, but he interested me the most with his ideal of using audience in the classroom.
Use of audience in the classroom for David stemmed off the idea of rubrics. If anyone has been in school long enough they will understand what a rubric is. It can be the bane of an assignment or the lifeline that you hold onto to assure yourself you will get a good grade. I have experienced both emotions in the presence of a rubriced assignment. They would cause me stress when I felt they called for too much, but when I was too lost when trying to finish an assignment the rubric served as my blueprint. The idea of a rubric as a blueprint seemed to be where David decided that an audience should be in a classroom. He mentioned that whenever he gave a rubric that called for, say three similes in an essay, he would without fail get three similes, but never more. This is where the audience comes in. Instead of a rubric, David suggested implementing an audience. Instead of working towards the bottom line, students would then work to make sure that they looked good in front of an audience when presenting an assignment. Previously, this was not something I even thought about.
Sure, you could say that there is in a sense always an audience for an assignment. However, I think that with a rigid rubric most students wouldn't think about the audience, their classmates, for a presentation. They would instead be thinking about whether or not the teacher would notice that they hit every part of the rubric. In contrast though, by stressing the audience, be it classmates, parents, or the community at large, the student will then work towards making sure that they deliver quality work in front of the audience. Nobody wants to look bad in front of people. In the future I will definitely be willing to try such a thing in my classes.
My only reserve to such an idea would be students that would willingly not try hard to complete work in relation to content. What I mean by this is, what about the class clown that only wants to get up there to make his classmates laugh? Will he or she truly work towards content or will they just focus on the laughs? Thinking to myself though, this is a situation in which implementing another audience besides classmates would come in handy. Would that same student be willing to crack wise if they had to do it in front of their parents? In the end an emphasis on the audience the assignment will meet is a quite engaging idea. One that perhaps could add a lot more motivation in a student to perform as well as they can.