Explosive Learning: Week 2 at Burke

Our time thus far at the Burke has been special and we have learned so much about the role Dreamporte can play in a classroom. Ms. Rodny has taken over for Carly and has brought her experience and expertise to our lessons. She has done great work and given valuable feedback that we are using to shape Dreamporte.


On Monday we ran our lesson on volcanoes and earthquakes, making some alterations to better use our resources in the art room. After an opening discussion and watching videos of volcanos and earthquakes, which lead to great questions about why natural disasters happen, the students made their own volcanoes out of cardboard. The kids were all involved and making their own modifications. In fact, they were so enthusiastic that they decided to keep working on the lesson on Tuesday as well.


While have learned how valuable of a tool this is in the hands of curious kids, we have also learned a lot about how to make Dreamporte better from its shortcomings. The first issue with our summer program thus far has been technical. The phones, while they have been useful and work well enough, do not fit perfectly in the goggles. Thankfully, this is fixable. We can adjust the headsets for now and get different phones for the next classroom.


The second thing we can strive to improve is making the material immediately relevant for the students. The way we connect large, global concepts have to directly relate to them if we expect them to become invested. Alisa did a good job explaining what this clear relevance would look like and helped us reshape a final chapter on pollution that connects litter in Dorchester to melting glaciers in China and global warming. It should be a fun couple of lessons next week.


We’ve learned so much from working with these amazing educators and students at Burke. This pilot has inspired us to learn more from as many educators as we can to make Dreamporte an even more effective and accessible tool. If you are an educator, we would love to talk to you about what your think about the program, how you plan lessons, etc.. Contact Caleb Johnson at calebjohnson@college.harvard.edu if you would like to contribute to the conversation on how we could work better.


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