ALOHA … means both hello and goodbye and I believe it represents my evolution as a technology teacher and learner. I feel as if I was given the tools to move forward, better equipped to support the 21st century learners that I am entrusted to educate. Having all the preparation from COETAIL allows me to support my students’ use of a range of technology to improve their information and technology communication as they graduate and enter the working world – I may be thinking to far ahead, but it doesn’t hurt, right?
Just in case, the video doesn’t cover it in detail I want to write a brief synopsis through the lens of the final presentation checklist.
Personalization/ Individualization/ Differentiation
The students selected what issue of local and global importance they wanted to inquire into. We achieved the process in three stages:
1. The students were given a visible thinking tool where they had to funnel their interests, then write down the three they were interested in. As teachers, we compiled a list of what the students interests were, taking out issues that only one students recorded and those that did not represent local or globally significant issues.
2. The students then all received the list and wrote the issues that they were most interested in (they had three choices from the list), and were told to focus on what they wanted and not what their friend would choose because, if they were not passionate about the issue in 10 weeks they would get disinterested in the issue. Again, as year level teachers we create groups based on what the students identified as their area of interest, but also we looked at the group dynamic to see what was the most harmonious grouping we could create.
3. We presented that list to the students and they were able to give feedback. If students strongly disagreed to the group or topic they were given we tried to make appropriate accommodation for them because we were aware if the students felt unhappy in the beginning of the project, the exhibition would become an unhappy experience for them.
Again the process was driven primarily by the students. They were supervised by mentors who volunteered their service from primary and secondary school. With either teachers or mentors the students refined focused their area of interest. For example the education group was refined to Education in Angola group and the Landmines group became known as the Impact of Landmines group. We spent a week or so determining their key questions, 3 lines of inquiry, concepts and related concepts with the members of the team.
As the video explained, the students were given email addresses and had mini-lessons on email etiquette. They were also encouraged to use Google docs, DropBox, and the school server to share their information with the teachers, mentors and the rest of their group.
As part of their sharing some students created blogs and websites to reach the wider world. Locally they communicated their learning with their parents, teachers and other members of the community through, movies, songs, Prezis, Powerpoints (we had resistance to Zen PowerPoints, even though it was introduced in the first term) and a myriad of other forms of technology was used.
This is a key element in the exhibition and throughout the process the students had to collaborate not only with each other but with adults. Aside from teachers and mentors, they were supported when they contacted individuals for interviews, went on field trips and other interactions with others to achieve their goals. This highlighted the students attitudes and attributes as well as skills.
Authenticity and Relevance
Five words … locally and globally significant issues.
If the topic the students chose didn’t apply when they were constructing their funnel, as teachers we removed them from the list for the students to choose from, in the second round of picking their issue.
As for relevance their actions, blogs, movies, posters for compounds and supermarkets demonstrated global and local application of their learning.