The first Computer Science Showcase at Lincoln Sudbury was held last night in the LS Cafeteria. Students working alone or in pairs showed off twenty five final projects, which were viewed by parents, staff and community members. Their projects were assessed by four judges, three of whom were LS alumni and one a local developer. Prizes were awarded in three categories. The event was a lot of fun, and a great culminating experience for the students. Pizza and drinks were provided by the Lincoln Sudbury Parent Organization. Rather than adding just a few pictures, I made a slideshow which you should be able to see above.
Project Based Learning
About a year and a half ago, I had the opportunity to visit High Tech High in San Diego with four of my colleagues. We explored HTH’s approach to Project Based Learning, based on the three pillars of critical thinking, craftsmanship, and authenticity. I was personally challenged around the idea of authenticity, that students should create projects that are worth sharing with the world, and this exhibition grew out of my desire to promote authenticity in student projects.
Authenticity and Craftsmanship
One of my takeaways from this endeavor is that authenticity and craftsmanship are linked. While some students might be able to add a level of craftsmanship to a project only the teacher will ever see, that is the exception. As the date for our exhibition approached, the attention to detail my students showed ramped up a great deal. The several days before the exhibition brought a flurry of focused work to my students, in a way reminiscent of, but in my opinion superior to, that brought on by a culminating exam.
Bringing down Barriers
Running an event like this is hard. And the only time that made sense for me to do it is in a part of the year that is already challenging for me as a teacher. To bring more experiences like this to our school, I feel we need to think about institutional support for endeavors like this. I’m not sure what these should look like, but I’d like to help start that conversation. I plan to do this particular exhibition each year, and I have some ideas about how to improve it. Watch this space to follow along, and contact me with your ideas as well.