Thoughts on Course 5 – Redefinition

I am looking forward to really taking this next semester to redefine some of my practice with technology and to use technology to leverage the learning! The last year and a half has turned me upside down and I have become an avid learner about tech stuff. I find myself almost nightly jumping around ideas and thoughts.  I need to remind myself to blog about these things as it would be a good reflective practice after completing different things.

After the break, I will be getting 8 chrome books for full use in the class and they will be a permanent fixture for kids to use as needed.  We have been going to the lab to complete things which has not always been ideal. I have been  burrowing  iPad sets and net books when I can get my hands on them and they have helped. The real lesson from our implementation of chrome books is how necessary this “just-in-time” technology is for transformation.

So, in looking to the coming months – here are some ideas floating around my head:

1. Indigenous Inquiries: Our next Social Studies Unit is on Indigenous Peoples.  This is a fairly large unit in terms of time frame and depth of investigation so this might be a logical choice due to timing and length of the project coinciding nicely with the timeline of Course 5.  My thoughts were to have each student create an ebook using book creator and share them with other classes for feedback, further learning and other collaborative projects.  This is something we are doing this week with a class from Singapore of high school english students who have written books for us to read and provide feedback on.

2. A Math Makeover: I was thinking of having the kids create imovies or just explanatory movies explaining big concepts.  These could be shared using twitter, youtube, our blog and would then create some peer to peer teaching and learning. This gives them the ownership of the content and causes them to be the teachers.  I am not sure if this is a transformative project but I see the technology turning what they produce over to a wider audience and, of course, the technology itself, is transforming what they create.

3. Book Club Buddies: We have been working in book clubs over the last month and have been learning how to take notes, value what we read as important enough to share with others, and to then turn our thoughts into a discussion.  My thoughts with this were along the lines of connecting with another class to actually be book club buddies where they share in the learning with another group of students of the same age and grade level.

To reflect on the assigned questions, here is what I am thinking:

  • Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?
    -I think that there is certainly some element of redefinition.  I am still grappling with exactly what this looks like and I love learning how to make an activity more transformable.  I like my first option of the kids making books as this is something that I think carries lots of potential and excitement.  I have not tried this yet but I think it would be great for my kids to work through design, media elements and production of a sophisticated level.

  • What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?
    -Tech gets messy in my room sometimes as I try to do to much, learn at the same time as the kids, and then also struggle with access to devices, sufficient planning and preparation so my concerns are doing it well and having it be a real positive experience for all.
    My kids are also at varying levels of tech comfort so planning the differentiation is something I will put time into.

  • What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?
    -I think letting go a bit will be a shift. Another shift in pedagogy will be to get out of my comfort zone and connect with another classroom.  This is really the area of transformation I have been wanting in my classroom.  We share our blog, we use twitter from time to time and we watch other classrooms but have not done anything live or of a collaborative nature.

  • What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?
    -Research is always a skill that my kids are constantly needing support in.  For me as well I need time to really plan out how they will research and what exactly it will look like.  We are not 1-1 but we are getting more devices in class next term so the skills of using a wider array of tools and devices will be an adjustment and learning curve for all of us.  I think that an attitude of setting higher standards for quality of work will be something I will want my kids to take on as well.

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