Thursday, 2 August 2012

Year 13 - Hexagons for exam prep

Preparing for the Theory exam. Topic: We-Media and Democracy 

We've worked hard, we've struggled along the way...
I've made (too many) resources available, including on the Critical Perspectives  blog there and the We Media and Democracy page here.

Drawing everything together is no easy task. So many theorists and so many case studies, so many key points and other things to remember for the exam...
We have done essay plans as a class for several questions but it is difficult to jump from a plan to a competent essay, so I thought I might try the hexagons again.

Starter: Just a minute in teams (pairs) - Topics included: convergence, citizen journalism, democracy, Henry Jenkins, digital determinism, public sphere (quite random)

Then time for exam practice - I settled on "To what extent do new media enrich democracy?"
I distributed blank hexagons. Given that students have to explore 2 'areas' in 60 min in the exam, I split the topics between teams - they would focus on either Social Media/Citizen Journalism or Creativity/Prosumers

On hexagons, they started by writing down key ideas, media, theorists and case studies.
Then they started linking them together.
After a few false starts, they got into it and were increasingly happy with their "branches", though on reflection all had 'weaker' areas or were unhappy with the way they had positioned certain things in terms of the structure. We agreed that it's better to struggle with the flow of the piece now than in the exam room.

Once hexagons were stuck down, pairs filmed themselves talking through their plan and connections.
One of them is below:

Short extract from M. and J.'s "talk-through"

The pair filmed on the iPad (so easy) whilst others used the other cameras... Cue problem with the Media drive on the Macs and the editing got nowhere but we could watch the footage on the camera.

The good thing is that gaps in knowledge and understanding are EXPOSED - nowhere to hide them. I actually had to prompt another group quite a bit through theirs as they were a bit stuck after 3 minutes.
What needed to be revised / consolidated / researched further was obvious.

Ideally, the task set was to watch through the vids at home (from the blog there) and critique through comments before the next lesson. That did not happen. I had already lost a third of students to other exams and re-sits, and most of them had some more exams that week.
We could however watch through them again and simply talk through strengths as well as issues and shortcomings, and address the latter.

I need to do this a little earlier next year...

Students found the exercise really useful and great prep for essay writing. Practice questions (the few that were handed in) were good. Let's wait for the 16th August...

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