“Where will the work live?”

Curating and Exhibiting Student Work

What is the purpose of having students create museum-quality work and exhibiting it to a wide audience?  This week’s DLMOOC topic covered curation, audience and exhibition of student work by sharing amazing examples from High Tech High.  While I know that there are advantages to such displays of student work, I hadn’t realized just what an impact it could have on the culture of a school.  One student commented that students get a positive energy by constantly seeing high-quality work displayed in creative spaces throughout the school.

I remember visiting classrooms and schools that, on the surface, had beautiful displays of student work.  Underneath, however, I did not see much evidence of deeper learning; instead, the work represented rote memorization or surface knowledge.  These examples always make me pause when I see eye-catching displays of student work.  The work shared in the DLMOOC this week, however, does demonstrate deeper learning.  The projects are usually the result of a thorough study involving two or more content areas.  They reflect student voice and choice, project-based learning and critical thinking.  Students are prepared to explain and display not only their final product, but the process they took while learning.

As I learned more about exhibition of student work this week, I kept thinking back to my own classroom.  I was reminded of times in my career when the pressures of testing and other outside forces were not so great as they are today, and deeper learning and exhibition of student work took center stage.  I have included examples and further reflection in my Storify below.

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