This blog post covers my final project for the COETAIL course. The link to my Google Presentation is here and to see the actual fourteen minute presentation look at the bottom of the post. For me this was one of the scariest moments of my life, presenting in front of such an accomplished group of professionals but the positive feedback I got made me feel like I was on cloud nine and gave me confidence in my teaching, something we rarely seem to get as teachers is feedback about how you are performing.
The goals of my project were to give students the opportunity to pioneer something that does not already exist on the Epicurious website, which is to create a recipe from scratch then create a recipe video of this and upload it to Epicurious (members cannot have image or video currently) and by doing this give students a genuine understanding of the importance of a logical detailed plan. The rubric I followed was the MYP criteria following the design cycle, so this particular task was assessed on Criterion C, which is the plan stage. In terms of the ISTE standards, the students covered critical thinking and problem-solving, and the majority of the project was communication and collaboration – the students had to work with a partner, who they didn’t usually work with and who were from a different culture to their own in order to research, plan and create a fusion pasta dish inspired by the ingredients and cooking techniques of the two cultures.
To see the dishes that the students have been creating check out NistBangkok on Epicurious to see nearly 30 recipes created by NIST year students. Hopefully some of you may like to try and give the students feedback
The tools the students used for collaboration and sharing were:
- One Note because it’s used school-wide for note-taking, but I wanted to use it in a different way. I wanted a shared One Note, accessible by all of the students and myself, allowing us all to collaborate in one place. Also, their completed work could be submitted here for ease of assessment and keeping on track with their contributions.
- Windows Live Movie Maker to make their videos, chosen by the students. I gave them a vote over which one would be easiest to use and this is the their comfort zone software. Work fine as long as image/video are on computer not external drive.
- The Epicurious website, where the students uploaded their recipes and videos. It’s got a huge following of 250k but it currently doesn’t have videos or images for members’ recipes.
- Their mobile phones and video cameras to record the different steps of their recipes and share photos of Facebook.
- Skype and Facebook to communicate with partners when they weren’t available.
- The school portal The students used the school portal where the librarian and I have created resources for the students to access recipes and information plus check for relevant books/magazines (yes they did do research the old fashioned way also .
- You tube to upload videos so as to share the link on Epicurious
- Online mind-mapping tools of their choice.
The project was introduced by showing the students the Epicurious website and ‘wowing’ them by showing them recipes uploaded by the students during the previous trimester. This seemed to excite them, the idea of taking part in this worldwide-accessed resource being used by students from NIST. They wanted to try out the recipes that sounded good! In terms of introducing the main sequence of lessons focused on for this part of the unit, it was via the MYP rubric for the plan stage. I then talked to students about the success of their recipes, we looked at recipes from books and recipes online and we created some of the recipes devised by the students last trimester to give them an understanding of what makes a good recipe plan. I then showed students a range of ‘how-to’ food videos and recipe videos selected from you-tube that they gave critical feedback to. This was done using the shared One Note, and it helped them to understand what makes a good step-by-step video. Students had the choice of whether they would like to create a photo story like the one I created to show them as an example, or they could create an actual video. The discussions about the video style was interesting for the students as they mentioned using voice over, captions, lighting, time, information use etc. GREAT!
How did students react to the overall project? They certainly enjoyed the opportunity to get in the kitchen and do some cooking, experiment with new ingredients, enjoyed the opportunity to create a film, but they also enjoyed having the distinction of writing the recipe and showing the video. In terms of writing their own recipes, some of them were nervous at the idea of uploading their recipes to the world wide web and some of the students mentioned that they felt brave or that they were excited that others might make their dish.
Outcomes. I feel that I met my goals by giving students the opportunity to create these recipe videos and share them on Epicurious. In terms of my goal to improve the quality of logical planning, it is possible to see this by look at the trimester 2 students recipe plans and this current set that created the video as well. Of course the issues with uploding these recipe plans are that of course they are not all level 6 perfect recipe plans and there will be some discrepancies for people creating them. I feel that this has been successful, however one of the main reasons for uploading to Epicurious was to then receive feedback from the people who we might not know. Due to my timing of the project we have not had time to get that feedback, so it’s a shame we didn’t have the chance to take the project that one step further. It has been a great learning curve for the students when they have been given the opportunity to create any of the recipes from this last trimester and they are able to give constructive feedback and gain even greater understanding of the importance of the detail in a plan. So there is teething problems as with trying anything new with students but overall I am one seriously proud teacher that these 12/13 year old students can create such unique dishes.
Student quote: ‘Throughout this whole unit I learned a lot of new skills both cooking skills and ATL skills. I think that the cooking skills I learned could use in the future when I cook something. An ATL skill that I learned about was collaboration because we had to work in partners and we had to communicate our ideas with each other and work together safely. I also learned how to make a good and detailed plan that others could follow and make an instructional video that could help other people make this dish as well. Overall I really enjoyed this unit and I look forward to trying other people’s dishes at home!‘
I think if I could do this project again I would take my students’ advice of using Google Docs as the collaboration tool instead of One Note, I though One Note was a great tool and I will continue to use but the presentation of the work would look better on Google Docs, it is more instant and less difficulty on set up. I could give the students more time to prepare the video and edit the video. This is simply a time issue – I wish I had been able to get the students to create their videos earlier, have more time to share and possibly get in touch with teachers from other schools and get their kids to produce our kids’ recipes. In hind sight I would also get the students to have created each others recipes to eek out any issues before uploading to Epicurious where thousands of people can potentially see the dishes.
I plan to share this unit with my PLN. I have just been working on my PLN over the last couple of months and reaching out to food technology teachers in South East Asia. In terms of sharing with my department, I would like to share the concept of a video plan, and also the use of online collaboration tools, shared One Notes and Google Docs and the benefits the students learned about logical planning when someone else made their product and of course is the truest test of a plan.
Did I achieve ‘redefinition’ in my project? I think so, because I don’t see how else the project would be possible without using mobile devices, You-Tube or online video sharing tools, and obviously, the Epicurious website. Before projects like mine, the only way students would be able to share their recipes with millions of people across the world would be for them to post them to their houses, which doesn’t seem very likely.
My greatest learning during this course has been the understanding that it’s good to experiment and trial new technologies. My initial thoughts when joining the COETAIL was that Jeff would magically teach us all of these tools and we’d be able to use them straight away with the students. What he has actually done is give us the understanding of the tools available and shown us how to choose the technologies that will benefit our teaching and the learning of the students. This can only happen when you trial the technologies yourself. This has only really become apparent to me over the last couple of months by creating a PLN, which I have now started teaching my Year 9 students to do. For example, I was scared to use Google Docs originally because I felt I didn’t understand it. But as soon as I created my own area of Google Doc for a South East Asia Food Tech Collaboration area I felt more confident. Now I understand how it works and the benefit it can have. I think the feeling of experimenting and trying new technology as being beyond my comfort zone, but as I have tried these things during the year I’ve realised more and more that my teaching the students is not the be all and end all. It’s about students teaching me, students teaching each other and us all learning the best ways forward together.