Leading by learning

 

Techshield-Proshot-Bolt_etchedoringinal
Source: http://www.itwproline.com.au/Images/UserUploadedImages/4709/Techshield-Proshot-Bolt_etched.jpg

This image was found online by one of students in our Year 9 Media Studies class (but more about this later).  Media Studies is a Semester based unit built around the development of a total advertising campaign.  Students choose from a range of products and have to develop their own logo, slogan and media campaign to sell this product.  The great thing (hmm….) is that the students have so much experience in advertising as they have been the target audience for so many years (a sad reality).  The products available for them to sell are an energy drink, Australia as a tourist destination, a hair restoration product and a diet drink.  The choice of such products is deliberate.  They cover a range of products that are either bold, brash, controversial or done really poorly at some time or another.  The students are generally right into the whole process but often the initial ideas are just bland.

Typically the boys choose the energy drink and they name it Bolt and they use a lightening bolt or Usain Bolt as a celebrity endorsement and so on.  It is what I would consider to be a “just enough” mentality.  It ticks the box, has required little thinking energy and will allow them to just get over the line.  The key for me to jolt them out of this mentality is to inspire new ideas and energy by rocking the cages.  One particular group of boys were determined to use Bolt as the name and to keep the lightening bolt.  I spent considerable being very honest with them about the “blandness” of such an idea and then decided on another path.  Through discussions, we had come up with the idea that using a bolt like the one above and turning that into a lightening bolt could be a different path to explore.  This prompted initial excitement but then dismay as they discovered that their Photoshop skills weren’t getting the job done.  Seeing them deflated at the end of a double, I decided that I needed to show them the possibilities that could be achieved.  I complete a large amount of the tasks that I set my students myself because it is my duty to lead as a learner.  I am not a Photoshop expert by any means and started with a wad of Photoshop for Dummies books when I began.  I tell them this all the time because my skill level came from an open mind, a lot of hard work and frustration and a willingness to get better.  In class, I’ll often show them how I work through difficult challenges.  I talk through my thinking, I’ll get them to lead or I’ll lead sometimes but we work together.  The great thing about Photoshop is that by using the History window, you can step backwards and forwards with any process you do.  This helps to create a freedom to give new things a shot.  The below image was one I created to show them the possibility.  I talked the group through my process and then left them to their own.  They would bounce back to me from time to time but they grabbed the idea and made it their own.  I deliberately left out how I stylised mine and let them know that.  This was my version.  I am glad to say that their end product is much better than mine.

Techshield-Proshot-Bolt_etched

We are now even exploring the 3D version of this to really add impact to the campaign.  The slogan and media campaign have now taken shape for this group and my role is to fade to the back and get out of the way.  I still chime in from time to time but their team is leading the learning now.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 12.18.57 PM

Being open, honest and proactive as a learner in your class is one of the greatest gifts you can pass on to your students.  Lead by learning, be open to learning from them and watch them flourish as a result.

As allows, comments welcomed.  Thanks for reading.

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