Teaching at Kent Innovation High is all about using technology. Our students use their laptops everyday to access assignments and grades, research topics, to collaborate, and to create. Some hurdles that we faced as teahcer included: off task behavior, misuse of social media, and lack of structure during research.
As I have begun planning my first two project based learning units I have done so with intentions of providing more structure on content while expandig student choice. I did this by alowing students to choose from a long list the topic/problem/issue they wish to invest their time in (UDL). Students will also be provided a list of different end products possibilities (but can also request to do something brand new - UDL). Some ideas for end products are: wikis, blogs, live presentations, physical or digital models, games, and short films. Regardless of the end product the students also need to identify and communicate with their intended audience. This all adds up to a lot of student choice and voice which addresses creativity ann innovation. But as I mentioned earlier, lack of sturtcure was an obstacle last year and at times lead to off-task behavior, social chatting versus professional dialogue, and poor end products. So to add sturcture this year I have created a new look to my class ECHO page:
The picture above is from the first project. For my second project students have a similar echo page and their learning will also be supported by a webquest. My intent here was to provide guidance while allowing inquiry, so students can focus on their research and information fluency rather then spending time searching the www. The webquest is a multi-week assignment which will serve as a foundation to build their final product from. Here is the intro page to the webquest:
PBL style learning is inquiry in nature and for that reason students will have many opportunities to practice critical thinking, problem solving, and decision aming skils through each project. One example I can share is this submitted task:
This task also integrates google docs and online collaboration.
In both of these projects students will be asked to use Diigo, Voicethread, google docs, Skype and many other online tools which will build not only digital citizenry but also provide many opportunites to discuss Technology Operations and Concepts.
One area that I would like to try this year, but I believe will be challenging, is to get experts to skype into the class. One idea I have is to have an expert skype is for one session and screencast it so the other classes will have chance to view it.
Another idea to incorporate experts is to get student using Twitter. This too I will be difficult. Not many use Twitter so they will need to become comfortable with it and then they will have to become comfortable with finding and approaching experts.
I am very excited to get going on this next school year. The best part of all this is that their is flexibility which allows the students to take it new places!