Sharing the Outcomes

Planning for Your Circle Publication, Presentation, or Product

Many interesting projects fail to make a lasting impression on participants because the time was not taken to look back and review what was learned. The Circle publication, product, or presentation play a critical role in motivating circle participants to organize and evaluate the materials that they have exchanged and discussed into a final presentational or production phase. Some groups may have a sense of the whole task from the beginning and are better at anticipating the overall structure. For younger circle participants, the projects unfold slowly and they may need help in organizational skills.

Circle participants organize the information they exchange for their sponsored project into a part of the Circle publication or presentation. This process helps them learn how to review, summarize, evaluate and arrange the information. Preparing the information for other participants in their Learning Circle and for others beyond the circle gives participants a clearly defined purpose and audience for their writing.

Contributions to the other projects give circle participants a very personal reason for wanting to read the work of their partners. By watching how their exchanges and information were incorporated into a final report, they will see multiple examples of ways of analyzing and presenting the information.

Often the final publication will be in electronic format and will develop over time in a website, a youtube channel, or a set of edited blogs. Using the web allows for wider online distribution. However, in some communities, it might make sense to share their work with others through print media. The circle needs to plan for either online or print publishing. Some Circles may decide to do both.

Circle Publication Production Manager

Some Circles have found that it is helpful to identify a person as the Circle Publication Production Manager. This person oversees the printing or assembly of the Circle publication. In some cases, this person will have special resources for printing or will have access to a site on the Internet for publishing. This person may offer to post or print the whole publication integrating the pieces that are assembled by each of the circle participants or participating classroom.

The Production Manager takes on the responsibility of checking with the other circle members to find out when each of the project summaries will be ready and creates the table of contents or overall navigation for the publication.

Sometimes it is helpful for circle members to enlist the help of others who maybe be able to help with arranging for printing, online publishing or public presentations. As each person formulates plans for how to publish their project summaries, it is important to share the plan with others in the Learning Circle so that consistent decisions can be made about color and design.

One of the first learning circles that we organized was around a newswire service. Each school would select a section of the newspaper to sponsor. For example, one school might be the editors for local school news stories, another school might be publishing a special section on technology, a third might be want to sponsor the science in the news in each of the countries. Maybe another school wants to collect math puzzles and sports. Once the topics are decided the students would publish stories on the computer chronicles newswire to all of the schools. The editors in each school would have the final say if a story was published or not.

Analyzing Requested Information

Circle members will need to develop strategies for recording, examining, and summarizing the information that has been collected. Sometimes this means working through a set of discussion forums to find the best ideas, examples or stories. Making decisions about what is important and how much space to give to a topic or idea is part of the process of preparing information for others. Some information may need to be integrated, data might need to be analyzed. Sometimes a narrative summary of the responses is effective. In creating these collections or in analyzing text exchange, it is important to make sure that participants are recognized for their contributions.

There is no way to provide the perfect format for the presentation of the different types of information collected. The important thing is to think about how to best display the information and explore what has been learned from collecting the information. This last step is essential. Participants need time to reflect on the activity as a whole.

Evaluation Strategies

Participants often have to evaluate writing received from circle partners. Understanding the importance of constructive evaluation is crucial for learning circles. For example, if there is a selection process through materials exchanged, it is very helpful to share some information about the overall assessment process. As circle partners form evaluation standards to apply to the work of others, they often internalize the writing standards which is part of the value of the editorial process. If feedback is done early enough, there may be time for the distant authors to revise their submissions based on the comments.

Assembling the Circle Publication

You and the others in your Circle will have created a plan for exchanging the project summaries. If you have a Production Manager who has agreed to print the whole publication, then you will be sending your edited summaries electronically to this person. He or she will be setting the deadlines and will take responsibility for assembling and emailing or posting the collective Circle publication.