For the final project I chose a grade 4 unit that I am currently teaching and will teach again next year in order to provide an opportunity to revise a unit and apply my new learnings and understandings from Course 1 while it is fresh in my mind. Some of the changes I’ve been able to implement for this year as the timing worked out and others will be included next year. Right now, students are at the point of designing their own projects so I’ll be able to reflect further in a couple of weeks and perhaps share out some of their work. I wanted this unit to reflect my key learnings for Course 1 which include:
- my understanding of the connected nature of the internet and its potential and power to transform learning
- the importance of developing a technology-enriched environment
- an understanding of the characteristics of the digital natives we teach and learn with every day, and my growing awareness that they have unique funds of knowledge which we can help develop, enhance and build on
- a focus of intentional planning of the use of technology so it can bring added value to already great teaching and learning environment but in addition provide opportunities to do new things in new ways as well as old thing in new ways
I also wanted to be intentional and aware of my decisions of technology usage (how and when) in this unit and how it connects to various ISTE Standards. While I could see evidence of the standards at various points I wanted to be conscious of it so that I could not only ‘use’ it but also assess students abilities or applications of the skills in order to inform myself about them as a learner and possible next steps in learning. I wanted to hit on multiple standards even though I was only assessing two. In addition, I wanted to be sure the technology was used purposefully throughout the unit and not just at the end so I looked for opportunities where the use of technology would enhance during the research stage as well as used for collaboration, publishing and communication.
As I wanted the learning to be personally meaningful to students, they each developed their own GRASPS project. This is itself was a big learning opportunity as it brought up many conversations about setting a purpose (what’s our goal), and therefore what would be an authentic way to inform/persuade my audience about the topic. So this lead to big discussions and really pushed students into thinking beyond just using a Google Presentation which is their go-to tool. It also encouraged students not to start at the point of choosing a tool. Instead, like when teachers are planning we are starting by thinking of goal or what we hope to achieve and then think how best can I get there and how best can I show/share learning.
Later in the process students did some brainstorming of ways to inform so we could get the idea that there are many ways to share information and we should choose the most appropriate based on our goal and audience. We turned it into a A-Z of tools. I think it is something to leave up for the year as a tool to refer to when thinking about sharing content. I also wanted to be mindful of not starting with a tool/product (e.g. make a video to share learning) as I don’t believe this would allow for true alignment between the goal, role, and audience. Some of their ideas included: website, video, blog, presentation, Digital Photostory, Infographic, article.
Here is the revised unit: