My dear friend Lance Brogden frequently says “Go Big or Go Home!” However, this time I think I was actually trying to go too BIG. I know – not possible right, well, no, I think it is possible.
I have been mulling over this whole Final Project – just the words – FINAL PROJECT – are big. Lots of stress involved in a FINAL PROJECT. There are lots of points involved in a FINAL PROJECT. As much as I would like to say, it’s the knowledge that counts, not the grade – we are all conditioned to want a good grade as well… thus the stress.
So I was trying to think BIG – and I did. Then I realized it was getting too BIG and I needed to focus. While refining my final project, I have also been reflecting on all we have learned in this class. When you read the assignment sheet you think, 5 blogs, 5 comments and 1 final project, easy, I can do that.
Then I think about all the new tools I have really learned or at minimum been exposed to: Google Docs (I really didn’t like this tool before, now I see some real potential here), Word Press, Google’s RSS reader, Flipboard, Vimeo, Twitter (no I do not have an account yet, but I know I will soon), the chat feature in Google Docs, Google +, Big Marker and that’s just the ones I can rattle off without researching it.
That’s when it hit me, I wanted my final project to be this HUGE well researched deeply intellectual project, but is that necessary? No. What is necessary is that I add my new knowledge to my current curriculum and take it to a higher level. As technology is the focus here, I need to add some technological tools that will facilitate my students learning process and provide them with some universal skills that will help them in any career choice they make.
All week long I have been playing with a few toys online. I sent my students a link to a Google Doc (a spreadsheet where they can input their email address in one location) via the Edmodo Site so that I could send out a mass email from Dropbox where they will turn in various assignments they create in PhotoShop. In addition they all created Google + accounts where I plan on having them do a class critique of their photos in a virtual classroom and then document their comments on a gradesheet similar to the one Jeff (@jutecht) uses with us. That’s a lot of technology, that’s a great final project.
I look at all the programs they used in just the one class period: Google Docs, Edmodo, Dropbox, PhotoShop and Google +. All of my students used one or more of those programs for the first time. All learned at least one universal skill. This is not a BIG assignment, nor is it the deeply intellectual FINAL PROJECT I wanted to create when I was trying to “Go big or go home.” Yet, it is a lesson that is chalk full of skills my students will use and refine in the future.
Writing up the lesson in the formal format with all the teachereze is the final step for me in the final assignment. I will work on that this weekend. However, that is only the end of the assignment. The best part is what comes next. I can’t wait to see where my students and I will go while using these new tools and our newly forming skills. Buzz said it best, “To infinity and beyond!”