New Hampshire Learning Initiative Voices Exhibit
After the New Hampshire Learning Initiative (NHLI) team experienced our student voices exhibit at the ALP conference, they were eager to create one for themselves.
To begin, we talked about the vision for their exhibit and their focus, Jon Vander Els and other teachers interviewed elementary to high school kids from around their state about innovative practices: what were expanded learning opportunities actually like? How did the work study practices - collaboration, community, self-motivation, for example - come out in the day to day lives of these kids? What mattered to them. He then sent these interviews off to us and our team edited and produced a series of more than 50 clips.
Like this one of students at Maple Street, a unique charter school in New Hampshire that embraces out-of-the-box and outside of school learning experiences. Here the learners talk about the experience of spending time at a forest, building and problem solving together.
Or Nate, a high schooler, who did an expanded learning opportunity at an aircraft business. Giving him an authentic taste of a passion that he wants to pursue as a career, along with the life skills of what it takes to be an employee.
We edited photos to go along with the clips, and chose excerpts from student quotes. We loaded clips onto audio hosting software and generated QR codes. The QR codes add a level of interaction with the exhibit. It’s one thing to absorb an exhibit visually, it’s another to be able to scan and listen to the sweet voices of children as they explain why the learning they are doing is changing their lives.
From there, the exhibit came to life. We set it up for NHLI’s summer conference, creating a gallery wall that stretched across the hallways of the conference center. The exhibit was embedded into the learning experience of the conference and it was the first thing participants were asked to do. Attendees were given time to wander around, explore the exhibit and listen to the voices. They were prompted with questions to think about after. The exhibit grounded the conference. It reminded teachers, who had been off all summer, why they do what they do. Why they take on hard innovations that might be uncomfortable, or new, and most certainly challenging.
Chris Demers, the head of assessment at Concord School District was so taken with the exhibit. He quickly followed up with how to create one himself. Our team sent him this DIY kit.
Another teacher, Donna, from Sanborn School District told us, months later, that she still carriers around the booklet we made that let users take the QR codes with them and easily access the audio. She uses some of the clips with her students to share what exhibitions of learning should look like.