Today I returned to Steinmetz to help out with HTML classes there. Both the teacher and the students in general (in the periods I’m there) seemed very glad to have me back. The curriculum from the last semester was finishing up, and the students were turning in design templates for personal web sites. These sites will eventually be fully created at the end of this semester using all the students have learned over the course of the year.
For better or worse, the second semester is beginning with review, literally from the beginning (the concept of viewing/modifying raw HTML pages in NotePad). The class is taking on several new students seeking to fulfill credits necessary to graduate, and so stepping back will attempt to bring everyone up to speed. For my part, I’m hoping this encourages the proficient students to go and try (HTML) things on their own - it’s not explicitly my role in the classroom, but I’d hate for the subject to get boring for them.
I also was tasked to help a few students out completing several online modules that were required curriculum in the state of Illinois. They covered a general span of topics, from the concept of financial credit to responsible actions. Having actually not encountered them back in high school, I found them very analogous to training programs I was required to complete while at other jobs. Here was a sort of education delivered in the form of training videos and quizzes whose nature was not necessarily to derive a logical answer to, but to reiterate exactly what the videos had said. I personally thought the modules (in structure and in particular wording) to be condescending to the students - nevertheless, the students passed most of them.
Although perhaps outside the scope of what we do through STARS, such an education method seems such a contrast to the methods otherwise employed, both in this class and in other STEM classes, where both the material and the nature of evaluation suggest there is more to do with the subject than just spitting something out in response.
That’s easier, certainly, but then we may as well be computers.