[Edu-sig] Experience with projecting student screens?

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Thu Aug 14 18:29:25 CEST 2008

Yes, good advice Laura.  This is where one's skill as a teacher comes
in, plus it helps to have that atmosphere of "team learning" i.e.
these are your peers on the same team and we all have an investment in
helping one another get up to speed in various ways, sort of what XP
is about in the switching of partners i.e. you're a potential ally of
anyone in the room, know that going in.

A typical sequence in my experience is doing a projected talk on
VPython, heaping praise on the minimalist API, just one page, easy to
get a cylinder up by cutting and pasting.  Then I give some play time,
each student alone with the docs, trying stuff out, no pairing.  It's
at this point that showcasing student work makes some sense, i.e.
"look at what Jill has come up with" -- they inspire one another.
This extends to showing source code and fixing it online.

I might walk to a student station and help with debugging, standing
behind but not touching the keys, using the laser pointer to highlight
on screen (or on the projected screen) which line needs fixing.  Other
students watch, learn from, or decide that's not a mistake they're
making so continue on with their individual project.

In other words, when I project and discuss, it's sometimes only for
the benefit of a few, not all except in some corner of their
attention.  As a teacher, I have no problem being "tuned out" in some
learning modes (some neophyte teachers have problems with individual
learning going on in the same room, coming from a "me active, you
passive" background, or "teacher as Tarzan" school of thought -- I
only swing from trees, i.e. demand attention, sometimes, not every
freakin' minute (not a drama queen)).

When I'm projecting a movie or video clip, I might like to push this
to each student monitor simultaneously -- not there yet. In a setup
where each student has a screen, it's not always necessary to project,
as you can just pipe to each monitor.

On the other hand, that's too intrusive in some modes i.e. you want to
have the shared channel in a window and up front (projected), but the
freedom to have a code window open that's not slaved to any teacher

Synchronous learning (teaching) is a whole different ball game from
asynchronous, the latter design patterns more like reading in the
library, being an independent scholar.  In between are small group
projects.  The technology is giving us interesting new synchronous
possibilities but there's a lot of trial and error in this picture for
sure (as r0ml advised at OSCON, expect exceptions and write lots of
code to allow graceful failures).


On Thu, Aug 14, 2008 at 9:11 AM, Laura Creighton <lac at openend.se> wrote:
> In a message of Thu, 14 Aug 2008 08:31:56 PDT, "kirby urner" writes:
>>I wonder if anyone on edu-sig has experience in classrooms that allow
>>switching any student's screen to become the projected screen, even
>>dividing up the projected screen among students (as in some Xbox
>>I find students don't always like having their privacy disturbed nor
>>the big brother feel, but understand multi-user game play.
> <snip>
> My limited experience with this is that it makes a big difference if
> this is set up so that students can decide to show their own work on
> the big classroom screen, rather than having you as the teacher
> expose them to the whole class in a manner out of their control.
> I have seen such systems be completely abused by the students and
> turned into a way for the good students to excessively brag about
> their accomplishments to the other good students, and ridicule and
> heap scorn on those having difficulties.  'Welcome to the shark
> tank', indeed.  Of course discipline has to pretty much have gone
> to hell before such experiments in cruelty become institutionalised,
> but if you do the 'travelling lecturer' bit, you may be unfortunate
> enough to run into such situations.
> Laura

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