The Importance of Exhibition

One of the new features of our G21 framework is the expectation for exhibition, so that students have the opportunity to share their work. But aside from G21 projects, it’s still a powerful and necessary component of instruction, especially when it comes to the creative process.

Today at GMS – I walked into a technology class with Mr. Herbert and encountered students working on creating robotic vehicles using LEGO Mindstorms software and intelligent LEGO parts. While not formal by any means, the exhibition of skills was on full display. Students were working in small groups, and they were able to test their work in real time, and I saw them working towards writing better scripts to control their vehicles. Sometimes in constructionist learning, exhibition is a part of the learning process by design.

When I visited Ms. Ferguson’s classroom at RES later in the day, a student was asked to share a short story she had been working on as part of her GRIP project. The fact that Ms. Ferguson paused the book study they were doing and gave this student the “stage” to share her work was significant. She realized the importance of exhibition and what ensued were a lot of positive comments and feedback from her peers. The story was awesome, but even better for me was the mood boost that student received in getting an audience of her peers to validate her strong storytelling.

Exhibition of work happens a lot in our schools, but here are some ways you can make it happen:

  • Have students share their work with just one peer, and charge the listening student to ask one or more questions…
  • Have students capture their work in a digital format and post it online…
  • Use volunteers to become an audience for student work…
  • Create a podcast series and train students on how to add and publish episodes…
  • Start the end or beginning of each day with an exhibition…
  • Ask students to reflect in writing about what they have been learning…
  • Ask one student a day to exhibit in a safe, virtual space like Schoology…
  • Use the Schoology media library and invite students to upload their work; spend class or homework time in reviewing peer work with praise and constructive feedback

The last idea today was in play in Ms. Gill’s 5th grade classroom, where a pair of students shared with me and their class their social studies project on Ecuador. The feedback allows the whole class to learn some tips on avoiding extraneous noise in their next recording.

What students will develop in the repeated opportunities to exhibit their work and their learning is confidence and hopefully some inspiration for their peers!