Tag Archives: COETAIL

5 Essential Elements for Successful Tech Integration

In my last post I discussed a model of responsibility for teaching technology outcomes such as the ISTE NETs or Journey On.  Central to this model was that it should be a team approach with all teachers using technology as a tool within their classroom student’s with the help of a technology guide to oversee and monitor the process.   While this sounds good in theory, the successful integration of technology requires considerable planning and support.

There are several tools available to help teachers evaluate their use of technology, including the SAMR and TPACK models.  However, if a school wants technology to be fully integrated across curricular areas there needs to more support provided than simply handing teachers a sheet and asking them to evaluate themselves and their use of technology in the classroom.  There are five things that I see as necessary for successful cross curricular technological integration:

There needs to be someone guiding both teachers and students in their use of technology in the classroom.

Technology Guide

The technology guide or technology facilitator is responsible for the overall integration of technology within the school.  They ensure that all technology outcomes are being met and are suitable for the students.  The technology guide also provides support and training for teachers and students when needed on topics including how to operate specific programs, assessment, digital citizenship, technology integration, and Internet safety.  They should also seek out new technologies and evaluate their usefulness in metting the aims of the school’s technology plan.

Continual training is essential to ensure that skills and knowledge are current.

Training

Teachers need training in integrating technology.  This can be done by the technology guide mentor, outside presenters or other teachers.  However, topics need to be evaluated to ensure that they meet the aims of the school.

Successful technology integration does not happen overnight. People need time to learn, try new things and plan.

Time

Time needs to be allowed for integration to happen at a pace that does not overwhelm teacher. Time needs to be allowed for integration to happen at a pace that does not overwhelm teachers.Teachers also need time to plan collaboratively with the tech mentor and other teachers to brainstorm ideas and create plans.

There needs to be freedom for teacher when integrating technology. Recognize that there will be both successes and failures. Celebrate and learn from both

Freedom

When integrating technology teachers need to feel that it is okay to make mistakes and learn from them.  Teachers will be resistant to try new things when they are in an environment that will punish them for making a mistake.

There needs to be a plan in place otherwise nothing will be accomplished.

Plan

Teachers need a plan.  They need to know what the outcomes, who is responsible for which outcome, what the aims are for the school, what they achievement looks like, and what is expected of them.  This is probably the most crucial element, as without a clear and concise plan technology integration will fail.

A technology guide, training, time, freedom, and a plan are my five essential elements for successful technology integration into a school’s curriculum.  Admittedly it seems easy, however, in order to build a strong program that can continue to evolve there needs to be a lot of work put in.  What do you think are essential elements to ensure successful integration of technology in the classroom?

Image Credits

Tour Guide by andyaldridge found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

Blogging Course for Teachers by Ikhlasul Amal found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

The Passage of Time by ToniVC found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

Embracing Beauteousness by Martin Gommel found on Flickr Creative Commons Licensed

Swooshable Planning by Bohman found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

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Who is Responsible for Technology Education?

Some of my earliest experiences with a computer were in labs just like this one.

Over the past week I have been doing a lot of thinking about technology and how it is used within the classroom.  When I was first exposed to computers in school, it was clear that there was a set computer time for learning basic skills. As technology has evolved schools are being forced to redefine how they wish technology to be used within the classroom and teacher responsibility.

Defining the Role of Technology:

Before considering how ICT outcomes should be assessed or who is responsible, a school must first come to an agreement on what the desired role for ICT is in the school.  In his article What Difference Might and “S” Make? David Warlick debates whether teachers should be teaching computer applications (a set list of specific programs with specific targets) or computer application (the use and manipulation of computers in order to solve problems).   The difference may seem subtle but has an immense impact on the way the school assesses the use of technology by students.

The ISTE NETS provides a framework for schools and teachers who would like their students to follow a computer application model.  If we follow the ITSE NETS and the computer application model, then the use of technology no longer becomes limited to a specific class but instead can be used across all areas and become a natural extension to the teaching and learning process.  However, I still believe that there needs to be a balance between learning how a set list of specific skills/programs and learning how to manipulate a variety of different programs. One must also keep in mind that some students will benefit from explicit instruction of new programs but others learn best through their own experimentation.  But who might responsible for technology education in this model?

Who is responsible?

In short everyone needs to be responsible for technology education.  There needs to be a balance between having a class to learn a specific program and allowing technology integration across all curricular areas.  For example a teacher may need to set aside a specific class to teach students how to use a specific program, application, or skill.  However, many of the programs, applications, and skills that are being taught can be used in a variety of curricular areas.   For example if I teach my students how to make a movie and export it, another subject teacher could easily make use of this skill within their class. Thus allowing technology to become a natural part of the learning experience that is no longer just reserved for technology classes.  For this to work effective communication, collaboration, and an educational technology expert who can help all parties see the big picture with the students are necessary.

In order for technology integration to work, there needs to be someone guiding all parties.

Technology Guide

In my ideal world the technology guide would work with teachers across grade levels and subjects to ensure that students are provided opportunities to meet the ISTE NETs, as well as ensuring that technology is viewed as a tool to help students learn and to create in a variety of settings.   The technology guide would help teachers learn new technologies as well assist them with creating age appropriate learning experiences and assessments.  The technology guide would also monitor overall implementation of the ISTE NETs through curriculum mapping of the overall program and records from their own classes.

In this post I discussed the idea that everyone needs to be responsible for teaching technology outcomes, whether they are the ISTE NETs or another curriculum (Journey On is the curriculum guide at my current school).  In my next post I will provide some practical ideas to help schools ensure that students are meeting technology outcomes within an integrated model.

Image Credits:

Students Working on class assignment in computer lab by Extra Ketchup found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

Two equestrian riders, girls on horseback, in low tide reflections on serene Morro Strand Straight Beach by mikebaird found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

Video Credits:

ISTE CEO Don Knezek Discusses the NETs uploaded onto YouTube by istevideos

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Redesign

TumbleBooks is an interactive web site that aims to provide access to e-books and audio books to people.  All of the e-books and audio books provide audio recordings so that the students can listen to the books.  For younger readers the picture books feature animated images from the original books.  I have used the site in the past as a way to help students develop both their textual reading and oral comprehension skills.  Each year the book selection improves; however, I wish the visual layout of the site would do so as well.  For this particular post I will only address my issues with the main page and the login page.

Upon arriving at the main TumbleBook page the user is greeted with three boxes of text each with their own colour scheme.  One must remember that this web site is designed to be used by children and I know from experience that it takes some explaining to show both parents and students how to navigate this page.  To help make the site easier to navigate I would take away all but the essential text and replace it with photographic images that highlight the differences between each site:

          TumbleBook Library:

This product is aimed at young children and provides books suitable for younger readers. To highlight this I would showcase a child using a computer that has one of their books on the screen.  This image should be hyperlinked to take the children immediately to a simple login page.


 Tumblereadables:

                        This product is aimed at junior high school students and provides books that are more difficult.  To highlight the difference between this product and TumbleBook Library, the image for this product should contain a teen demonstrating the use of a more challenging book.

            AudioBookCloud:

This product provides access to audio recordings of over 1000 books.  The books offered here are aimed at older readers.  For this I would show a university student with a pair of headphones listening to a book.

Each image should provide a link for subscribers to be taken directly to a login page.  The pictures providing the links to the subsequent pages could be artfully arranged in a creative manner or laid out side by side.  The font and colouring should be the same to provide uniformity and a visual cue that they are related products. At the bottom of the page there should be link for people who want to sign up for a free trial as well as a link to learn more.

A mockup for a redesigned Tumble Books main page.

If you click on the TumbleBooks at the top of the page link you are taken to a page that contains a lot of information (seen below).  This page may be okay for adults to navigate, however, in my experience students have often found this site difficult to navigate.  I would suggest that there should be a separate page for students containing only the essential information: a place for login details, featured books and a search function.  This would hopefully simplify it and make it more user friendly for young students.

This is too confusing for students and contains links to information they do not need.

Overall I enjoy using this site with my students.  They have a great time exploring the books and playing games.  However, I feel with the suggestions I mentioned the site would gain more users and help to improve the overall experience.

Image Credits:

Screen shot of TumbleBooks main page taken using Skitch

Children using the computer by San Jose Library found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

IMG_4950 by bionicteaching found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

Ich bin ein tourister by tstadler found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

Screen shot of TumbleBooks login page taken using Skitch

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Filed under COETAIL, Course 3

Usage Agreements

Copyright is confusing but Creative Commons helps

When I first started thinking about what I wanted to do for my second COETAIL project, ideas were swarming in my head and I was having difficulty nailing down what I wanted to do.  Sean Thompson approached me one day and asked if I would like to work with him on creating an online usage policy.  I immediately agreed because the idea was one I was thinking about and Sean and I have had some great tech conversations.  We began exchanging our ideas back and forth via e-mail and had a wonderful meeting at my house to hammer out the project.

We decided we wanted to create a web site where schools could send their teachers and students to view resources, complete activities, and in the end feel comfortable enough to begin drafting their own policies.  Early in the creation process Sean and I determined that our main focus should be creating sample policies for students and teachers.  We discussed it and decided he would work on the student policy and I would focus on the policy for teachers.

Privacy is a concern for me

As I sat down to create the online usage policy for teachers, I kept thinking about the articles I have read, videos I’ve seen, and issues that have been brought up in class.  Creative Commons and Copyright popped to the forefront of my mind, as did cyberbullying, privacy students, and age of consent for web site memberships.  The issues chosen were ones that I felt were the most important and I doubt I’ve touched on them all.  I also did not want it to be too long or technically worded.  Finally I wanted my document to come across as supportive and understanding that teachers may make mistakes and may need help with certain things.

I had two different options when creating the actual form.  At first I created the form using Weebly’s own form generator.  However, during our COETAIL meeting misternorris showed me how Google Forms records their results. the easiest way to determine the differences is to compare them side by side.

Bullying is an issue that has gotten a lot of attention lately

Weebly Google Forms
Variety of response types Yes Yes
Specific name field Yes No (but you can create it)
Mandatory question option Yes Yes
Variety of themes No Yes
E-mail form results No Yes
Easily accessible spreadsheet of results No (only accessible when it editing mode of that cell) Yes

For my personal use I want to keep this agreement in mind when I’m using the Internet and Social Media within my class.  I would also love to conduct a session with teachers and students to talk about these issues and facilitate a conversation as they create their own usage agreement.

Please feel free to go to the Acceptable Usage Agreement Teacher Assistant and have a look.

Image Credits:

All Images created using Wordle and text from my past posts.

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Introducing the new and improved mrbrenlea

Take control of your brand.

Over the past several years I have been thinking about my online presence and how best to help cultivate it.  However, I had no idea where to begin or what strategies to use.  All I knew was that I needed to have a web site somewhere with my work history and some pictures.  I had dabbled a few times with creating them but nothing has really stuck with me.  Over the past three months, there have been many different lessons. The two that struck me the most were the importance of controlling my presence and consistency.

Your online presence is incredibly important and can have both positive and negative consequences.  If you are the one putting information out about yourself then you are in control. If you sit back and don’t put out information, then you run the risk of others putting out information about you.  The information that others put out may or may not be positive.

Over the years I have registered for all manner of sites, using a variety of different handles.  None really stuck.  BrendanLea is usually taken, Blea sounds like pee (this will not work with elementary students), LeaBrendan confuses people, and BrendanCIS limits me.  All of the handles exist on various sites that I have used.  This not only makes it hard for me to remember but makes it almost impossible for others to find me online.  After many years, I seem to have settled for the username mrbrenlea.  Why?  It’s easy for me to remember and it’s unique, which means I’m almost always guaranteed to get it.

My mrbrenlea image.

In a sense I have begun my product branding in earnest.  As I read the blog Personal Branding 101, I realized that I have a long way to go.  I do have a web site that contains all my professional information (resumes, education, video, links to other online spaces) but there is still work to be done.  I have also started to switch over my old site handles to mrbrenlea.  These handles will then be added to my web site to make it easier to access.  I also decided on an image for myself.  Finally I have chosen an image for myself that I feel captures the essence of me.

Why am I doing all this and why will I continue?  It is kind of fun and addicting to create a profile that others can see and I’m learning a lot about web site design.  I want my learning and my experiences to go beyond the classroom.  However, to do this I need to make connections.  In order for these connections to work properly, then I need to make it easy for people to find me.

I know there is a long way for me to go in developing my online presence, however, I do feel as though I am off to a very good start.  My hope is that my mark will identify me as a fun loving professional who continues to grow and cares deeply about teaching and his students.

Image Credits:

Against Social Control by Jaume d’Urgell, found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

mrbrenlea by Brendan Lea, Personal Photo

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Filed under Course 2

The Joy of Hyperlinking

I always enjoyed using the hunt for more resources and losing myself in the quiet solitude of a library.

I remember being young and being asked to research a topic.  Usually this involved going to the library and getting a few books.  However, I was always encouraged to go further to find other resources.  I quickly learned that a bibliography not only helps provide authority for the author but also gave me new resources that I might not have known about otherwise.  From these resources I usually gained some new insight and was again provided with a list of new materials that I should check out.

The Internet has made it easier to share information through the use of hyperlinks.  For one, I never get frustrated that the library doesn’t have the book I want because all of the information is only a click away. When I first started using hyperlinks, it was only for information.  The person wrote about a topic and provided a link that might contain new nuggets of knowledge.  This was very basic and only allowed for a one-way process of sharing knowledge. I was nothing more than a taker.

Remembering the old adage that one should be able to give as well as take, I have decided that I want to contribute.  To that end I finally started this blog and usually always try to include a few interesting links to materials and information that I found.  The linked sites may be simple explanations, or ones that provide additional information to support to my point, or ones that I just find funny.  Social media has also evolved how people share information.  People have found me on Twitter and I have found them.  We share thoughts and resources.  Most times the posts are about work but other times they are not.  I can take this further and visit his or her profile to see if there is anyone I want to follow.

The power of linking information together is helping me to expand my own knowledge and expand my PLN.

The power of linking and finding out about people has helped me grow both personally and professionally.  These are things that I am truly thankful for and will continue to use long after the course is over.

Image Credits:

Library Bird by C.O.D. Library, found on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

Chain by pratanti, found on Flick, Creative Commons Licensed

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Cyber Bullying: New methods but still bullying

It seems like hardly a week goes by without some mention of the ills caused by cyber bullying. Cyber bullying is similar in concept to off-line bullying with a several key differences:

  1. It is online
  2. Due to the nature of the Internet, the offending item could be permanent.
  3. The Internet can be accessed from anywhere at anytime, thus the bullying can go beyond the traditional school day.

Before I begin any discussion on cyber bullying, I must make it clear that while this is a relatively new form of bullying, it is still at it’s core bullying. Bullying itself has been around for a long time.  Below is a section from a letter from the 1960’s belonging to a family member:

“There has been a lot of bullying of the new form II’s – physically (apparently) vocally (as most of the staff can witness) and in giving them the hard or unpleasant work to do.  On Tues. one had made an ill-chosen remark which was considered to be abusive by a form III and a fairly large group of them planned retaliation.  It may have been something which we should expect and accept, but when you consider it along with other factors in the school, we decided on a general and serious tightening up of the school rules which are taken lightly.  Fine! and I was really thrilled during the short time we had the students with us to see that we might succeed”*

      This example highlights the fact bullying has been around for a long time.  While we may think to ourselves that we can end it, nothing will truly change until we as a society truly demand it.

Over the past few years the It Gets Better campaign launched by Dan Savage has gotten publicity and praise from all walks of life. When I first heard about it I felt empowered and happy that people were doing something about bullying of GLBT youth. However, the campaigns core message of trying to encourage kids to remember that after high school things can only get better, is nothing more than a sad commentary on the state of affairs of being a kid nowadays because it puts all the onus on the vicitim and does nothing to address the core issues of violence against LGBTTIQQ2SA.**

Don't blame the tool.

So if we are truly committed to improving school life for everyone, what are we as educators supposed to do?

Most people remember what is was like to be a kid. Nowadays it seems like any instance of temporary childhood idiocy is deemed bullying and people are more than willing to take the issue public.  What we need to remember is some students are either testing societal boundaries, dealing with their own issues, or simply unaware of the harm they are causing. I truly believe that conversations about bullying behavior and addressing the core issues, instead of constant punishment would do the world a lot of good.

However, I also believe that as a society we truly need to be the change we wish to see in our students and our children. In the home and the classroom we encourage young people to be kind and respectful to each other. But, do we as a society actually follow it? Look at how we behave with our friends behind closed doors. Look at what young people are watching. Look at what people have to say in the commentary sections on popular web-sites. Look at how governments act. Look at the web-sites we visit.

The technology may be new but the act of bullying itself is not.  If we truly want to end cyber-bullying and bullying in general, then it is time for to stop berating the behavior of the students and blaming the technology and begin an inward reflection of what change we want to see from society.

Notes:

* This journal is used with the permission of immediate family members, on the condition that the family member was not named.

** According to  Toronto Pride this stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Transexual, Intersex, Queer, Questions, 2-Spirited, Allies

Photo Credit:

cyb-bully_323 by J_O_I_D Creative Commons Licensed, found on Flickr

Apple Aluminum MacBook (Late 2008)  by William Hook

Video:

It Gets Better: Dan and Terry uploaded to YouTube by itgetsbetterproject

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Privacy

Privacy does it even exist anymore?

Privacy is an issue that has become a major concern for people.  For me there are three main issues when talking about privacy, each of which will be discuss further in later paragraphs:  1.  The information that I put online 2. The information that others choose to put online about me 3. What happens to my information when either policy changes happen or someone circumvents them.  In the following paragraphs I will briefly talk about each of these areas.

 The information that I put online

I admit I like having an online presence.  I am continually learning how to cultivate this presence and brand myself as a professional as well as the opportunity to make social connections.   That being said, there are aspects of my life I don’t wish to share in the online realm.  For me I feel it is important to have some aspects of life offline.  As an example, I enjoy my friends and my time with them.  However, I see no need to take the pictures that I take of them and upload them all in an open realm. For me there is a line, I will put pictures up of interesting events or places I go with people but I will not put pictures up of absolutely everything or everywhere I go.  There must be a line between sharing pictures of events that people will genuinely find interesting and uploading pictures of the mundane.

The information others put up about me

At my grade 9 graduation.

I have some fantastic friends who treat each other with respect.  They understand my position that I don’t want every single photo taken of me up online.  I return the favor by not uploading pictures of them that would cause them difficulty or embarrassment.   However, not all of my friends abide by this rule. I will sometimes scroll through the photos that I’m tagged in on Facebook and will remove the tags.  If the pictures make me uncomfortable then I will ask them to take it down.  I will also occasionally Google myself to see what comes up.  So far nothing of interest does.

What happens to my information when either policy changes happens or someone circumvents them

The Internet is not secure, I know this; the rules are always changing and people have to stay on top of the game.  It seems that every time Facebook changes its privacy policy, many people become upset..  What people seem to forget is that one of the reasons Facebook changes its policy is to make it easier for them to sell your information to companies who can then use it for marketing.  Remember that Facebook makes it’s money by serving companies and not the individual and thus it wants to do everything in its power to make information easier to get.  Thus defaults are usually set up so that people will automatically share their information whether they want to or not.

 People also use the Internet to do other things and the issues of hacks are of concern.  Recently there have been hacks involving popular game sites like Valve, and the Playstation Network.  As people move more towards putting more and more information like credit cards and passwords people need to ensure that they take the some steps to reduce the risk of their information being misused.

Final Thoughts

Facebook Rant

Privacy is a major concern.  However, each person must take the time to ensure that their digital footprint is one that they one are proud of.  I remember a few months ago several people started e-mailing me asking me to hover over their name, click on it and do some other things.  I received this message so many times that I finally snapped and responded (see image above.  Most people seemed to agree.  Remember, if you’re not controlling what is out there then who is?

Pictures:

Photography and the Law by Byflickr found on Flickr, used under Creative Commons License

Grade 9 Graduation uploaded by Amber Krauskopf, used with permission

Facebook Rant screen capture from Brendan Lea’s Facebook profile (personal image)

Video:

Why is the PSN down? Hacked? – Playstation Networked Maintenance Error 80710a06 (Sony) uploaded to Youtube by Al-Ai

 

 

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Has the world become like Avonlea?

 

As I was reading up on digital citizenship and how to create a positive online presence a song from Anne of Green Gables The Musical kept coming to my head.  The song in question was Where is Matthew going? During the song the Ladies of Avenonlea are intrigued by Matthew’s actions and pondered what it is he is doing.  Finally at the end of the song Marilla, Matthew’s brother, walks by the ladies and explains what Matthew is doing.  This particular number highlights the common perception  (some may argue truth) that there is no privacy to be had on Prince Edward Island because everyone is watching what everyone else is doing. While pondering the readings, I could not help but ask myself has the Internet helped the world become like Avonlea, a place where anyone who is interested can find out information about you and use that information to draw their own conclusions?

The short answer is more than likely yes.  Google, Facebook, Myspace, Foursquare, WordPress and other social media sites have transformed the way people view their privacy and the information people put out publicly.  Teachers are particularly vulnerable to being at risk of experiencing the negative side of social media.  I say this because teachers, as well as some other professions, are viewed in this odd space.  We are expected to be role models for the students and society, which means, to some people, that we must be perfect citizens who never do anything anyone might find objectionable.  However, this is not the case.  Teachers are human and no human is perfect and therefore mistakes will happen.  Or we will express an opinion or a thought that may counter with what others hoped we would express.  The downside is that there are people who will raise complaints and ask for people to be fired based on a picture or a comment shared in either or public or a private space online.

As I searched for more articles, I kept thinking about my own digital life and behaviours.  As teachers, wait as people, I believe that ultimately the responsibility of creating a positive digital footprint is up to the individual.  Not only is this important because what you post can cost you your job but more and more employers are weeding out possible employees based upon their online presence.  Finally, if we are expecting our students to represent themselves online in a positive light then it is only reasonable that we should as well.

Throughout the week I also started contemplating the importance of teaching students the skills necessary to create a positive online presence.  Truly this is an important skill, every year there have been more and more stories about students who have posted something online that has caused them to get into trouble.  If they are not shown how to best represent themselves or shown the possible results of poor online representation, I feel that we are doing them a great disservice.

In short, I believe that teachers should have a positive online presence and that students should be shown the tools, taught the skills, and have guidelines explained to them to do so.  However, when the tools, skills, and guidelines are always changing, how does one stay on top of it all?  Also, how much sharing is too much, what is the line that people, more specifically teachers, should not cross when posting to a public forum?

Image Credits:

Social Media Garden by j&tplaman on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

020/2011 footprints by rosipaw on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

Video Credits:

Overture-Great Workers for the Cause-Where is Matthew Going, Anne of Green Gables The Musical uploaded to YouTube by CorrAgain

!!Teacher Forces to Quit Over Facebook Photos!! uploaded to YouTube by NATUREANDNEWS

 

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Modifying a Unit

Over the past few weeks I have been mulling over how I could incorporate more technology into one of my PYP units of inquiry.  I decided to modify one that is already in existence within the Grade 6 POI at my school that deals with media.  I felt that this was an appropriate topic that could allow for some interesting conversations and products. However, before I delve into the subject matter, perhaps I should explain the structure of my planner.

The Nuts and Bolts

The IB PYP planner is standard at all schools that offer the programme.  All planners contain have the same basic format and information, however, each school implements the actual method and formatting in a different way.  Therefore the type of information will always be in the same place, but the manner in which it is presented can be different.   For example, the summative assessment task (located in box 1) is broken down in a similar manner as a UbD planner, though I have chosen to use the wording at my school simply for the sake of being able to implement it.  Box 4 includes all the different activities that could be done throughout this unit with letters at the end of each statement.   The letters each relate to a transdiciplinary skill that is required and developed during the process of that activity.   Also at the end of box 1 I ran out of room and thus had to continue in box 9.  I chose to leave boxes 6, 7, and 8 blank as they pertain to reflection on the unit and I have not actually taught this particular unit before.  Finally, I do apologize for the font size but it had to be done to ensure that the planner met the IB guidelines.

The Meat

The central idea of the unit encourages students to explore the manipulative nature of the media.  As I pondered how I could tweak the unit to include more technology, I kept thinking of the show Dragon’s Den.  The show is essentially an opportunity for independent business people to impress four big investors and to convince them to invest in the product being presented.  I thought that this was a wonderful framework to hook the students and one that would have them demonstrating their understanding of the central idea.  Essentially each group of students creates a pitch for a group of investors (the rest of the class), with the goal of convincing them to invest in the product by using the tricks of the media.  Their presentation to the investors can include a varied array of different technology tools to help them.  For example Excel (for graphing product research information), video (to provide a hook for the investors or sample marketing campaign), and PowerPoint (to create their presentation), Word (to create leaflets of information), and iMovie (to create commercials).

After awhile, I began to think of other ways that technology could be used in the unit.  As it began to take shape, I became more confident with the unit and the tasks that it presents.  However, I was aware that I needed to include both a novel study within the unit and math.  It is easy for me to authentically integrate math inquiry in this unit, both with subject and the use of technology.  However, I have difficulty seeing how a traditional novel study can be revitalized using technology.

 Thinking About Implementation

Thinking

As I think about implementing this unit of work I can foresee several difficulties:

  1. There could be potential copyright issues if a piece of student work that criticizes or analyzes an ad is put within a public forum.
  2. How much technology is too much for one unit?  At what point have I crossed the line between teaching big ideas and instead am focusing on teaching students the latest new way of representing?
  3. The students all have various levels of technological competence.  I need to find a way to balance groups so that there is a balance of abilities amongst them.

 Final Comment

Overall I am excited about this unit and the summative assessment.  Judging by the enthusiasm that the students showed for their assembly, they love when they get the chance to use technology and hopefully this unit will encourage them to develop their skills.  I’m also looking forward to hearing suggestions on how I could improve my units both in terms of the technology and the content.

COETAIL Project1

Image Credits:

Pipe joint nut & bolt by hartlandmartin on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

Thinking by Brendan Lea on Instagram

Video Credit:

Dragon’s Den – What a Bloom uploaded by kaynada found on YouTube

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Filed under COETAIL, Course 1