I recently did a resume project with my seniors. We watched videos we looked at resumes, and when they turned into final product I was embarrassed to say the least. After all, their project was authentic, because it is a resume that they can use immediately. The students were given choice in which resume template they used (there were more than just 2 templates). The fact that the kids were writing about themselves should have given them ownership. So why were the end products so poorly put together? I was trying to figure out what they were missing for this project to be a success. It dawned on me that we are in distance learning, which prevents the students from being able to work together.
More recent researchers have confirmed that sharing new knowledge publicly with people other than the instructors helps the learner to deepen their understanding, demonstrate flexibility of knowledge, find their unique voice, establish a sense of purpose, and develop a greater sense of personal significance (Bass, 2014).
In short what was missing was an opportunity for the students to gain their voice on the assignment. Without being in the classroom with other students, and being engaged in trying to explain why they put various responses on their resume, many of my students completed this assignment in a passive voice. In other words, “Just do what the teacher wants done just for the points”. They didn’t have an opportunity to deepen their understanding by demonstrating the their knowledge as they talked their resume through with a partner or group. “We have seen in our research (Thibodeaux, Harapnuik, & Cummings, 2017) voice is a codependent part of the COVA approach and without genuine choice and ownership of the authentic learning opportunity voice would not exist nor qualify as being authentic.” We need to remember the importance of voice in our assignments.
Bass, R. (2014). Social pedagogies in ePortfolio practices: Principles for design and impact. Retrieved from http://c2l.mcnrc.org/pedagogy/ped-analysis/
Cummings, C., Harapnuik, D., & Thibodeaux, T. (2018). Choice , Ownership and Voice through Authentic Learning. In Handbook of research on digital content, mobile learning, and technology integration models in teacher education (p. 89). Creative Commons.