This fall, The Unquiet Library has hosted a unique art installation inspired by student research this past spring. Some of you may remember Teagan from this past winter and her unique approach to creating mindmaps. Teagan and her partner Kristiena (whom you may remember as one of my co-authors from this fall for a Knowledge Quest article) created a digital multigenre research composition on veterans and PTSD. Both Teagan and Kristiena were part of a group of students who generously shared their insights and reflections on being immersed in a participatory culture of learning. In their words, they set out to explore “…PTSD, the effects it has on veterans, and how veterans can receive help from this mental illness. It is very important to understand the severity of this undermined illness because without knowing about the organizations that help these veterans, the specific treatments these organizations use, and what we can do as a community to help, we are letting our country’s veterans down.” Their inquiry was inspired by their readings of All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque, Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac, and Ghosts of War by Ryan Smithson.
Teagan, who is a gifted photographer, decided to create her own original images to depict some of the key ideas and findings from their research and integrate them into the multigenre digital text. I was so struck by the artistry of her work that this fall, I asked her if she would consider letting the library create prints of her work and have a research inspired art gallery. She graciously gave me permission and used excerpts of her research to create informational placards for each print. After we mounted the prints and placards on art easels, we arranged Teagan’s artwork in the sequence she outlined for us so that viewers could follow the narrative of her artistic creations. Students and teachers alike have been impressed not only with her moving and striking photography, but they have also been pleasantly surprised to learn that it was sparked by the information she discovered in her research and that the gallery is an alternative representation of those findings. Not only did Teagan photograph and process the photographs, but she and her father both served as models for the prints.
The research inspired art gallery has not only helped others learn about PTSD and its impact on veterans, but it has also nudged people to see research as something more than an assignment and that it is a mode of learning that can far beyond a class assignment. I am hopeful that future galleries featuring inquiry inspired creative works will be commonplace and can incorporate additional participatory mediums for interacting with the gallery with a feature like panels coated in IdeaPaint where people can respond to the art and ideas. On behalf of the library and our learning community, I would like to thank Teagan for generously sharing her talent and wisdom with us.
Last Thursday, I showed our Media 21 students the new “discussions” feature in Google Docs since we’ve been using Google Docs extensively for collaborative writing and document sharing since last August. After I introduced our presearching graphic organizer at the beginning of class today, one of our students decided to use the discussions feature with two of her classmates during presearch time today to share and discuss resources they were finding through the research pathfinder (accessible from our Media 21 Symbaloo webmixthat students have pulled into their Symbaloo information dashboards). Sydney and her two classmates were demonstrating AASL Standard for 21st Century Learners 3.1.2, “Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners” as they not only shared information sources, but also as they also used the discussion feature in their shared Google Document to have a conversation about the information they were finding in their sources.
I was so impressed by how Sydney applied the sharing skill in a new information seeking context that I asked her to share with others how she went about this task, and she graciously agreed to tell us about her brainstorm!
In recent weeks, Mr. Larry Peacock and Mr. Steve Sapere’s Healthcare Science students have been studying religious diversity and how those understandings inform the work of healthcare providers. Why is this such an important unit of study for students? Mr. Sapere shares:
As healthcare providers, we will be presented with patients from diverse religious backgrounds. Providing proper care to these patients will require a great deal of knowledge and sensitivity on our parts. A necessary part of the training of any healthcare provider is a familiarity with various religions and their beliefs and practices as they might pertain to medicine and medical treatment. Students were asked to research a world religion, focusing in particular on any practices, beliefs or dietary requirements that might impact how a healthcare worker might administer care. As an additional requirement, students were asked to arrange to have a guest speaker representative of the religion they studied come and share with the class.
In collaboration with Ms. Hamilton, Mr. Sapere co-created the research pathfinder to support students’ research. As part of this unit of study, Mr. Sapere contacted his lifelong friend, Dr. Jeff Weintraub, about doing an interview with a class. The Unquiet Library and Ms. Hamilton offered to help make the interview real time and interactive by using Skype, so on Friday, February 11, the 7th period Healthcare Science students came to the library to participate in this visit with Dr. Weintraub.
Dr. Jeff Weintraub was born and raised in the New York City suburbs, where he attended junior high and high school with Creekview Healthcare Science teacher Steve Sapere. He did his undergraduate work/study at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and he attended medical school at Cornell Medical School in Manhattan. Dr. Weintraub currently works in the Emergency Medicine department of Norwalk Hospital in Norwalk, CT. He and his wife Robyn (another Cornell grad) are the proud parents of two lovely children.
Here is an excerpt of the Skype visit:
Students share a few reflections on the Skype visit:
Categories: Celebrations, Collaborative Lessons Conversations!, Research Pathfinders, Teaching and Learning, Web 2.0
Tags: Dr. Jeff Weintraub, Healthcare Science, Larry Peacock, learning, Ms. Hamilton, primary source, Steve Sapere, students, the unquiet library