Tag Archive: creative

Jun 09

Course 4 week 3-Project Based Learning

Project Based Learning (PBL)

Project based learning or PBL is something that my colleague (Machi Nakamura) and I have been working to incorporate with our lessons.  While challenged by the minimum amount of contact time, PBL has helped keep students engaged and allowed for differentiation within the classroom.  A project requirements could be adjusted in order to accommodate the needs and abilities of learners on both ends of the spectrum.

Challenged Based Learning

While Challenged Based Learning is an exciting approach to learning, I see this being more applicable to older students with more sophisticated language ability.

Looking closer at the application of PBL in the language classroom, I was happily surprised to find that a Japanese language teacher won the ACTFL Teacher of the Year Award.  Yo Azama shows the viewer how he scaffolds the lesson and activities to provide meaningful practice.  Looking closer at Azama-sensei’s presentation notes, the reader can see the additional resources that support the students for their culminating project of creating a brochure and video.

Teaching Foreign Languages Library clip

When it comes to PBL in the classroom, Connie Weber who teaches in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is quoted in a Edutopia article on the importance of creating a classroom culture that is conducive to PBL.

What is essential, “is establishing the learning atmosphere, how the class feels.” Instead of generating rules with her students, she invites them to “generate tendencies, [and] positive ways to be together.”

Japanese Only

The Japanese Only sign allows students a time during class to try out their Japanese. Since the students are "forced" to speak in Japanese, mistakes are more easily forgiven..

“They (students) suggest that they want each other to be nice, honest, respectful, patient; to have integrity and perseverance; to be safe to make mistakes and safe to share their views.” She adds one more quality to the list: “It’s important to play.”

English Ok

The English Only sign allows students a chance to confirm their understanding by using English. Students who were unsure about the conversations that took place during Japanese Only time have a chance to reinforce their learning.

In the classroom, I too have found that creating the culture is key to increasing student achieve.  I strive to have my students feel…

  • safe to take risks and make mistakes without fear of what people will say
  • open enough to be able to share their personal stories in a foreign language in front of the entire class
Getting Around
One project that does get positive feedback from students is from the Getting Around Unit.  Students learn how to research train schedules and routes on the internet.  They then choose to research one travel destination near Tokyo (predetermined list with the possibility of accepting new proposals from students).  Students create a promotional poster that includes all of the relevant information (train route, entrance fees, operating hours, etc.) and then the final piece is making a field trip proposal in front of the class.
DSC_5059

Field trip proposal poster

Telephone pizza order 

Another project that was a first this year had students “act out” the telephone pizza order in the Common Craft style.  While it was not required, I recommended for the students to try creating their “skit” in this new style.  I showed a Common Craft video (in Japanese) and then helped guide them along with the video creation process using simple story boarding, a digital camera, and Movie Maker.  The students were excited and worked hard to create a finished product that could be shared with the class and other classes.

As always, any feedback is welcome.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2012/06/09/course-4-week-3/

Jun 09

Course 4 week 2-How Deep is the Integration?

 

The SAMR model

The SAMR model, developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, has been a useful lens for looking at tech integration.  In my language learning classroom, have I been merely substituting electronic flash cards for the hard tag version?

One example (for this post)

I still give out vocabulary flash cards printed on hard tag.  We do different activities and games with those sets of flash cards.  With the use of Quizlet, students have been offered another choice of study and another layer reinforcement for the learning.  Quizlet has allowed me to augment the learning experience for kids with the ability to add pictures and use games as a way to enhance the practice ritual.  In addition, for upper grade levels, I have had students create their own flash cards after evaluating their own strengths and weaknesses.

TPACK diagram

Once again, we have an additional acronym to add to our educational vocabulary.  Below is another example of the TPACK diagram.  This is the result of a group work exercise at one of our COETAIL classes.

From diagrams to reality

So what does successful tech integration look like?  Watch the video below.

A Commitment to High Tech Education

It is surprising that this article was originally published in 2003.  (The video was later added to Youtube in 2010.)  It was impressive to see the integration of technology at this high school redefining what students were doing.  The tasks were relevant and meaningful for the students.  With clear purposes for the use of technology (in this video), students were motivated and challenged to interpret and produce results for use in the community.

Reflective questions

In Jeff Utech’s blog post, Evaluating Technology Use in the Classroom, Jeff presents four questions that could be used when observing a classroom activity, or watching a video such as the one from Edutopia.

  1. Is the technology being used “Just because it’s there”?
  2. Is the technology allowing the teacher/students to do Old things in Old ways?
  3. Is the technology allowing the teacher/students to do Old things in New ways?
  4. Is the technology creating new and different learning experiences for the students?
I like the way that Jeff has organized the questions starting with superficial use and gradually “peeling away at the onion”, digging deeper and deeper.  These are questions that I ask myself.  These are questions that I have had  my colleagues ask me.
Tech integration needs to start with the outer layers of the onion.  It is natural for us to explore and play with something that is new (just because it is there).  However, if I only tasted the outer skin of the onion, I do not know if I would continue to cook with onions.  The challenge is to continue to peel away at the onion in order to have a taste of the meaty, juicy part.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2012/06/09/course-4/

Jun 09

Course 4 Final Project-Dream Academy

How it all started
For the final project, I teamed up with our ES counselor, Naho Kikuchi to dream up a promotional video for our ideal school.  While were stretched for time, we were committed to work together for one last time.  We knew that two heads were better than one so we carved out some time to sit down together with a MacBook Pro and a few loose concepts.

photo courtesy of Superkimbo

The process
Before beginning to write things out, we started some conversations with some of our colleagues.  We talked to variety of faculty members to get some ideas flowing.  One of our conversations was with one colleague who discussed some of the take-away’s they had after recently reading Tony Wagner’s book, Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World.   While many points were discussed, one of the main ideas that stood out was creating a learning environment for students not focused on the content, but more on the process.  A school where teachers and administrators nurtured a learning community where they acted more as facilitators of the learning rather than the dispensers of knowledge.
We also watched and enjoyed Sean Thompson’s promotional presentation for Doshisha International School.  The slide show told rich story with a strong narrative and corresponding photos.
Naho and I wanted to keep the presentation inline with the teachings Presentation Zen–clean and simple.  Therefore we tried to keep it to as few of words as possible.  We also wanted to keep the presentation generic.  Inspired by a presentation that we had seen previously related to professional learning communities, we kept to a simple format of a black background with white letters.
Without any pictures included in the original presentation, our thought was that we could ask students and staff for their participation.  Students and staff could submit their photos of what they thought captured the essence of the ideas presented.
A final product would be the work of the community–photos submitted by a class,  grade level, or a division.
Technical details
We first started the project with Google Presentation.  Naho and I could easily share our ideas and make edits as necessary.
Later, as we started to work on timing and transitions, we transferred the project to Power Point to help work on the details.
Thanks, to my colleague and ITC, Mike Moody, I learned of Slideboom, an online service that allowed me to maintain the look and feel of the presentation by maintaining the slide transitions and accompanying sound track.

 

We had a bit of a challenge with working with appropriate files that would upload correctly.

 

The end result

Of course this project is still a work in progress, but I am happy with the result that is included below.

I ran across many technical issues with trying to get the transitions and music to be saved or uploaded without having some aspect of the presentation lose integrity.

In the end, this is what worked best to create a presentation that would retain the transitions, timing, and sound track with a minimum number of glitches

Please let me know your thoughts or send in any photos that you think would go well with the presentation.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.coetail.com/dimanishi/2012/06/09/course-4-final-project-dream-academy/