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The #TRWPconnect Experience

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My overall experience with the #TRWPconnect MOOC, a remix of NWP’s 2013 #CLMOOC with the Tar River Writing Project (TRWP) has helped shape me as an educator. I have learned that there are many more options in the “teacher-verse” for hands-on projects and a variety of online resources that can be applied to the classroom that we have yet to harness. The concepts of collaborative and connected learning highlighted throughout this experience inspired me to become more connected with my colleagues in a way that has furthered my instructional practice, and I have encouraged my students to practice these as well.

This online professional development experience also caused me to challenge the idea that “Makes” are not much different from the projects I have assigned in my class. We were introduced to Makes as any project or piece of work where we were creating something. I felt that I was allowing my students creative freedom, but I was actually placing too many restrictions on their work with lengthy checklists or rubrics for them to really show me what they were capable of. By placing less restrictions on requirements for projects, I was able to open the doors to an entirely new world of creativity and innovation for my students. Their work has evolved along with my standards, and now we are all speaking the same languages of “creativity” and “collaboration.” Many teenagers are worn out on the idea of “think-pair-share.” They say that the sharing is forced, and that they are only saying something because they have to. By implementing projects that allow students to explore many different creative outlets and modes of production, they have become more willing to take it upon themselves to collaborate with their peers. This has resulted in a higher quality of final products for each project they complete. 

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