|High school student, Jaylen, speaks with Gaige Crowell|
Our September 27, only 2 of the expected 10 students showed up for our after-school program. There were some new programs being offered at the high school, and so most of the high school students decided to try those out as opposed to coming to the college. Those activities, like a film club, at the high school may have been more appealing. Keeping students interested while also working on the slow-moving process of building knowledge and skills is sometimes a challenge.
The low attendance, however, ended up creating the conditions for something special to take place. Two of our team leaders talked one-on-one with each high school student and then other leaders got involved. The session became a really important moment for the two high school students to discuss technology with college students.
"I was able to focus on just him," said Gaige Crowell in reference to the experience of meeting with just one student. "I could focus on all the information he was telling me, and I didn't have to worry about keeping up with more students' responses to the questions we gave them."
Later, as two additional undergraduates joined in, Gaige thought the high school student benefited by discussing topics with a small group of people. The need to explaining himself in different ways helped the high school student express himself better, Gaige noted.
"Working with a student one-on-one," said Amelia Williams, "helped me to focus on his aspirations and interests related to technology. I found it very interesting what different forms of technology he liked. I also learned that it is helpful to give students a timeline leading up to our end goal, which is one way to keep them engaged."
|High school student, Ryan, speaks with Rae'Jean Spears (center) and Amelia Williams (r)|
We created the after-school program to increase knowledge about technology among high school students. On Wednesday, though, we realized that creating opportunities for extended conversation was integral to our processes.
Week #3 reflection from graduate student, Rae'Jean Spears:
This week’s meeting with the East St. Louis Charter school students was interesting. We were given the opportunity to talk to a couple of the students one-on-one and get their honest opinions about the program thus far. I noticed two things: we shared similar long-term goals for the overall project, and their idea of technology revolves solely around computers. I’m interested if these understandings of technology will broaden outside of computers as we continue.Related:
• The East St. Louis Digital Humanities Club