This is the second part of Intense-Great-Quiet started in the previous post. The names of the students have been changed.
Great was the second descriptor that Anthony applied to the EDM Lab for Thursday September 9. "What made it 'Great!', Anthony?" I asked.
Well, Dr. Strange, there were five students in the lab when I arrived. Helen and Kat were sitting next to each other and Helen immediately asked me how to add the code for a Wordle to her blog. I went and stood behind her and after asking a few questions, coaxed her through the process successfully. Not five minutes later Kat turned around and asked for help. I went to her and stood behind her and asked what kind of help she needed. She said she didn't know how to add a Wordle to her page. Helen kept working on her project but must have overheard my explanation to Kat of what I had gone over with Helen just minutes before.
Ten minutes passed and Kat asked me to show her how to add alt and title modifiers to her image that she had just added to her blog. As I walked to her seat I was a bit frustrated since the step by step directions are in the Instruction Manual. Since I was there to help, I kept moving toward Kat's chair. But I did say, in a voice loud enough to attract the attention of everyone in the lab, "Kat wants me to know how to deal with the alt and title modifiers for image tags. How many of you need help on that subject?" Everyone except Charles raised their hands. I then turned to Charles and said "Charles, you didn't raise your hand. Do you need help with alt and title modifiers?" "No, I have already done mine" was his reply. "OK, why don't you teach the others how to do them" I said.
Charles looked at me a few seconds, then somewhat grudgingly, got up from his seat and stood behind Kat. Joanie and Margaret were already there. Charles began to explain how he had entered the alt and title modifiers. About half way through the process he began to make mistakes. I stopped him and asked a few questions. I then proceeded to walk Kat through the process while the other students stood behind Kat and watched. When Kat had finished with her image, and had tested to see that the title correctly displayed, the others returned to their computers and worked on their images. A few minutes later they were showing each other that their images displayed the title window correctly."
Ten more minutes went by. There were no more questions directed to me but I could hear muted conversations. I looked and saw that the five students who had been working so independently before were now sharing ideas, offering help to one another, and working as a 'learning community' as you call it.
That was Great!
I agree. That was Great! In the Quiet time that will follow in the next post, I will reflect on these two incidents (Intense in previous post and Great in this post) in a way that may be useful to all of us who are trying to create "learning communities."