Mistakes are Great

Earlier in January, I wrote about the Collaborative Exam Review that my pre-calculus classes (a total of 43 students) wrote using a variety of tools from Google Drive.  Today was exam day, so the project is done, and have decided that what I liked best about is was that it was their responsibility and it wasn’t perfect.

In preparing the review, students had to take responsibility for knowing what they needed to know (so they needed to become experts on their topic) and they had to take responsibility for knowing it well enough to explain it coherently (via their solution image) to others.

Even so, kids made mistakes.  However, because of the culture of responsibility for the material that already existed in this review, the mistakes actually made the comments and discussion on the review problems/solutions that I required in the week leading up to the exam even better.  Students evaluated peer solutions and, when they had questions or found mistakes, used Google Drive’s commenting features to offer constructive criticisms or additions to the material was already there.  Lots of different students started getting in on the discussions, going back and forth about what was right and what was wrong.  At the end of the day, I think this helped them demonstrate their mastery of the material better than simply completing a review packet.  After all, you can’t tell someone else they did something wrong if you don’t know how to do it yourself!


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