August 02, 2017
By: Alisa Stolze (German eduScrum team member)
But I also learned, that it is worth practicing!
When I was visiting an eduScrum training in Alphen aan den Rijn in november 2016, me and the participating dutch teachers had the opportunity to talk to eduScrum students between 14 and 17 years to ask them about their experiences with eduScrum. We were sitting together on the cosy carpet of a hotel hallway with three groups of eduScrum classes and talked. Listening to the students, I thought it was very interesting that their happiness about working with eduScrum gets significantly bigger with every year of eduScrum practice.
Especially in those classes that begin working with eduScrum we could hear several critical voices
The work with eduScrum is not actually harder than regular lessons, but it is different, because students have to plan their work by themselves.
Especially eduScrum starters dislike having to get used to a new way of working.
The planning is too much effort, they say, and it takes them too long until they can begin with the real work of learning.
„I prefer getting an assignment from a teacher, listening to the explanation and afterwards just doing it and trying to understand. All those stickers are just too much for me.“ one girl tells us.
Another student adds: „I even think that the stickers and the tasking is extra work. I don’t need all those stickers to know what I have to do next.“
One grade higher the situation is already different. Students like Willy’s way of teaching.
One girl tells us, that eduScrum didn’t work very well for her during her first year trying. Why? Because the teacher that had been working with the class using eduScrum didn’t tell the pupils about why they do which step, why there is a Burndown to watch progress, for example, and why they would have a Definition of Done and a Definition of Fun.
„So what is the Definition of Done exactly?“ one of my fellow participants asks the group. „That something is really done. That there is nothing left to do and that we are happy with the results.“ It can be so simple!
The English terms used in eduScrum were no problem for the group.
I was especially impressed by how the students explain the effort points that they poker in order to determine how big one item of work is:
„Points don’t just tell you how much of work an item is, but also how hard it is.“
Planning? No problem. At the beginning it is a lot, ok, but then you estimate the points and split the effort points of work to fit the number of working lessons.
The overview of work to do or still remaining also helps the students to help each other.
Teams are based on different qualities: „If I really don’t get a thing I just ask my teammates and they can explain it to me.“
The eduScrum pros: happy about their possibilities and freedom
The group of students that practice eduScrum for three years now even ask following teachers to be allowed to use eduScrum for their assingments and are happy about their independency:
„I don’t like if people tell you what you should do. Here you are self-responsible, you can plan, you can make decisions to do more in one lesson and take it easier in another. That is great! You can always see by yourself where you are and how much work is left.“
„With one look at the Burndown Chart I know where I stand. It helps me and it is very easy to understand. If you are below the ideal line, you are faster than needed, if you are above, you need to speed up. You can see at one glance how much work you have to do in this lesson. It is very good to control yourself.“
„The Burndown helps you in a different way than the Flap (the board on which the students plan their items of work). On the Flap you see the items or tasks, but they don’t have the same effort points. If you put a sticker with a big item plus a sticker with a small item to done, well, that first looks like it was the same effort. On the Burndown I can see how much work really is done.“
Students like the teamwork
„Teamwork creates team feeling. If everybody in the group has already finished something and you don’t, that doesn’t feel nice.“
„You feel responsible. That is because groups are build on different qualities. Everybody has a purpose.“
„If you don’t do anything, you let your group alone.“
„First I thought I could do everything in the last minute, but now I prefer to work with the group.“
What is important to the students:
„If you start with eduScrum please explain very well! If everyone gets it, students can work on their own. And please show us, why it is important to do an assignment. We want an assignment with context that shows us why it is important to learn. Thank you!“