This is still a work in progress. Next year I will be a teacher/integrationist in a Grade 5 class. I am excited about the possibilities for next year! This project being one of them. I plan on kicking it off at the start of the year to build community and prepare the class for the rigor of Grade 5. I am a fan of place based education and it will work well with accomplishing the academic tone of discovery I want to set for the rest of the year.
I plan on using Google Sites to implement instruction and also to model for the kids as they will be expected to create their own websites on Vietnam. I think I will follow a Problem Based Model where they will group together for ideas and research but then each will create their own website. I want them all to gain experience with Google Sites as we are going to be using it for portfolio management and learning throughout the year.
The unit is Understanding Modern Vietnam through the Five Themes of Geography. Google Earth skills will also come into play and the interactive White Board. We have one in our classroom and I want the children to be able to use it better than I. I want it to be their tool rather than mine for instruction. Below is the UBD it still needs fine tuning. This will happen going into next year as I collaborate with the team and flesh out the available devices with regards to the BYOD policy.
1.)Describe the project: What will your students do? The project will be about understanding Modern Vietnam through the 5 themes of Geography. They will research about their home country through the 5 themes and connect these themes with real world challenges their country faces today. They will reflect on these developments and how it connects to their lives as children and other children living in the country. They will share their viewpoints on the positives and negatives of growth while at the same time look towards what action they can take to shape their future.
2.)How does this project reflect your learning from COETAIL? The project is a big one. Just like Coetail. At first Coetail was information overload and daunting because there was so much. However it then turned into a saturation of knowledge and started to become more inherent. Now bits and pieces from every lesson float and connect with tasks I do and conversations I have. If there is a Coetail “culture” it will is one of reassurance, positive feedback and reflection on the process. I want to duplicate this and model it for the class. I want my class to have the same culture of learning. I will also be applying the “nuts & bolts” of what I learned such as creating a website, hyperlinks, CRAP, remix and Creative Commons.
3.)What goals do you hope to achieve with this project? To give an authentic, engaging learning experience that deepens perspective about their country and its development. Vietnam is changing very quickly. The majority of my students live in a bubble of privilege. I hope to plant a seed of mindfulness & empathy regarding change and its effects. The children in my class will grow up and become decision makers for the future of others but I want them to understand in today’s world even a child can take action to make a difference. You don’t have to wait and grow up. It’s never too early to start. Goals: Authentic learning experience Remove the culture of “just get it done” to “can’t wait to work some more” Plant seeds of mindfulness & empathy Know in today’s world anyone can take action to create positive change
4.)Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project? I realized with Coetail is that it’s not just learning about edtech it’s the culture of learning that comes with advent of using technology as a tool to learn. The devices, apps and programs will change. It is how we approach the chaos, what questions we ask and what decisions we make to navigate the world around us. I am a fan of place based education (yes another term!). This Unit will kick off the year to build community on a local, national, international and global scale. It will be a Tsunami of information and work that will at first overwhelm, then level out as the children gain knowledge and understand how learning in the classroom takes place.
5.)What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit? I am concerned about finding “experts” in the regions and themes the children will explore. The children are Vietnamese they learn about Vietnam through their Vietnamese classes and previous units of study in other grades. I want this experience to tap into their background knowledge and hope they can make the connections. While it may seem like old content I want it to have a “new” feel in terms of discovery and creating meaning. I don’t want to hear “we did this before!” Making it “fresh” with experts is part of a way to make it new, interesting and different. Formative and Summative Assessment is also in the back of my mind. The children and I will record and publish the process for reflection. This will serve as assessment and continue with other projects during the year.
6.)What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you? Interesting question…I will have to focus on connectivism and teach the managing of knowledge versus gaining knowledge. We will definitely be discussing Knowledge Half Life and what that means for them. I am also curious about fostering community in the class with regards to online genres of participation, learning and creating content. How can we connect the dots between sources of information and decision making? I am also interested in game based learning. I haven’t decided if I will use this in the unit. The idea of badges intrigues me. I would love to make Vietnam a puzzle or mystery for them to figure out instead of the standard research project with an artifact at the end.
7.) What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students? Oral and written communication skills are going to be key. I like the Vietnam focus because they can communicate in their native tongue and English. There is always a fine line between independence and following directions. I plan on implementing the school’s BYOD policy in the classroom. Prior to this their work was done in the lab. There will be a learning curve as they get to use devices in the classroom for work and play. We will work together regarding a “screen time” policy in class.