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Classroom Collaboration Course 4

Let’s light the bulbs!

Warhol's Light Bulbs
Photo Credit: zetson via Compfight cc

I’m thankful that Coetail makes me think about the final project for course 5 early enough. Unfortunately I can’t say yet – Yeah, that is what I’m going to do and I’m very excited about it. Two weeks ago I started having conversations with colleagues about the upcoming units and I got quite different but very helpful inputs. I always tried to keep the following questions in mind:

  • Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?
  • What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?
  • What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?
  • What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?

I’ll probably focus on my Grade 4 German advanced class and the unit is called The Human Machine. Those students are already a little bit experienced with the use of technology. They already have certain basic skills like typing, being in the browser, and some searching skills. But I like them as a class very much as well …

The focus in German could be the brain and as one option the students could create an own Wikipedia about the brain (e.g. the following topics: Intelligence, Memory, Brain, Language, Logic, Creativity – let’s the see what the students come up with).

My learning intentions would be on one side the knowledge they get about the brain as part of the body system, but on the other side I want to let them experience to share their knowledge in a very collaborating way, meaning to edit an entry for a wiki collaboratively. I think it is a good possibility for them to understand the concept of Wikipedia, to create and edit an entry (insert links and videos, common sense, etc.) , to share knowledge collaboratively (working in a group) and globally (working and communication with others outside of classroom and maybe even school), and to be a responsible and knowledgeable communicator online. The content itself though is not the most important, even though as a language teacher I’m aware that Determining Importance as well as Summarizing/Synthesizing would be the important reading strategies in this unit. The process of creating the wiki will be the focus. There are so many other wikis than the original one so as an action I could imagine that they are going to use interest-driven wikies more often or even create their own in future. Something I have never done before is to create a rubric, which does not have the product or process as the main focus to assess. Here it rather would be about the collaboration and communication. My concern is that once the wiki will be created, how does it actually continue to grow? And – how meaningful is it really to share that knowledge that particular way?

I have to say I’m not sure about the wiki. Personally I’m using the original Wikipedia, but rarely a specific wiki like PYPchat Wiki or the Minecraft Wiki or 21centuryedtech) – they never really appeal to me. One the other hand I’m aware that people use it to share a interest.

Therefore I thought about a second option. What tool could be a more appealing to the students and to me to share their knowledge collaboratively and globally?

Thinglink.com? The students could be expert groups and create an interactive picture with information what they read about, with videos they found on the Internet; with audio and/or videos files they created using other tools like Explain Everything, iMovie, etc. to show their thinking and learning. The interactive picture can be shared globally and opened for others to add something.

Honestly, both ideas are kind of okay but for me not convincing enough yet. I have to admit that it would rather be a secure thing, although I’m ready to go out of my comfort zone. Ideas are unpredictable so I have to to be patient and creative to light the ideas is the most colorful way. I try to keep in mind Tip#2 by by :

Maybe you will mash-up gamification and digital citizenship. Maybe you’ll make a digital story with people around the world, tapping into your PLN. Perhaps you will have kids from around the world building in Minecraft or have a kindergarten inquiry sparked by Twitter. Perhaps you try Problem-Based Learning in an higher level math class, allowing for open books and open computers.  It could be that you find a way for your kids to design something for that 3D printer your school bought.

Yes, that’s sounds exciting to me … Let’s see. Like always … I’m very, very thankful for feedback. Probably even more than ever. Thanks.

 

 

2 replies on “Let’s light the bulbs!”

Could your kids post directly to Wikipedia? I know that non-English pages of wikipedia are often lacking for contributors. Could your language class add to the German wikipedia pages on the body parts? It could be very challenging but very real.

Just an idea that jumped out at me as I read. Feel free to ignore and go your own way. The idea will inevitably keep evolving once it gets started. Good luck and let me know if I could help in any way.

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I like this idea to write for the “real” Wikipedia. Thanks! My only concern is whether my 4th grader are too young for Wikipedia. We always ask them not to use it because that level of language is not their language level yet. Their is a simplier version for them in German, initiated by a primary school teacher. I’ll have a look.

But honestly, the ideas are developing… Something more out of my comfort zone came in my mind. I’ll speak to two other colleagues before the break and then I’ll probably write new post about the new ideas. Thanks for you offer to contact you if I need help. It might be the case that some feedback would be helpful.
Have a great break!

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