Project Description An collaborative integrated project which required the girls to learn how to use their new Dell Latitude 2110 netbooks in the classroom environment across different subject curriculums; the integration of Web 2.0 tools and collaboration into classwork; and how each person, their knowledge and expertise can work together to construct new knowledge. Learners were each given a strand of a theme to follow for their English novel, “Cry the beloved Country” . These strands lead to common themes which the whole grade, using Web 2.0 collaborative tools, piece together to create a wiki to which they could refer to complete other class activities.
Brescia House School 14 Sloan Street, Bryanston, Gauteng, South Africa
Brescia House School is located in Bryanston, Gauteng, South Africa. It is a Catholic school for girls from Grade R (6) to Matric (18).
My IT challenge in 2010 as the head of the IT-Strategic committee was the research, proposal and implementation of the “Anywhere, anytime learning” program which introduced the idea that each learner would purchase a netbook/notebook for use in all classes, across all curriculums, all day.
The pilot “AAL” program was launched on the 1st March 2011 when 72 grade 10 learners each collected their brand new Dell Latitude 2110 netbooks from the IT Support centre to embark on a digital adventure with their peers and teachers…
Planning for Learning ~ setting the scene for creating knowledge Before the workshop the girls were required to read the novel “Cry the Beloved Country” by Alan Paton; in order to assess that the girls were reading and prepare them for the Moodle environment the girls completed 3 online tests and a sample discussion forum. The girls were each given a “press pass” type card where they listed their fields of expertise in relation to software, digital devices and any other skills they thought useful. This served to highlight the idea that each individual has a part to play in creating knowledge and if we pool our expertise we can achieve great things At the start of the workshop the 72 grade 10 girls were divided into 9 groups of 8 girls, this was done by simply giving each girl a card with her name, a puzzle piece, a coloured peak cap and a word or phrase which somehow related to one of the 9 central themes of the novel, and no instructions.
Planning for Learning ~ setting the scene for creating knowledge Live debate erupted as the girls had to use their thinking caps and workout how puzzle pieces, coloured hats and random phrases related to digital experiences. (It was interesting to watch how different girls used the different clues to form groups) Each group had 2 to 3 staff “experts”, who related to them the thread that the group had to research. The teachers helped guide the girls through the workshop to evaluate, research and present their own phrase and the groups theme in the grade wiki. Throughout the workshop learners experimented with Web 2.0 tools to improve their collaboration methods and enhance their wiki page As the girl were “creating their own knowledge” the task suggestions were merely suggestions. The staff were there to ensure they kept within the theme but they could find their own way and own coalitions.
Evidence of Learning In the project the girls produced the following as evidence of their learning: 3 sets of marks from Quizzes assessing knowledge directly from the novel Creative writing marks from Discussion forum (skilled communication & collaboration ) Email with an attachment (skilled communication) Wiki entry (knowledge building & collaboration ) Word cloud (innovation) Prepared reading (skilled communication) Podcast of relevant passage from the novel Prepared Speech (skilled communication) Report back on their thread and theme in relation to their discoveries during the workshop
‘Cry the Beloved Country” Moodle Module Online Quizzes ~ Sample of questions & results
Collaboration Learners collaborated in groups, with their peers and teachers using skype, twitter and emails A Wiki by definition is “a Web site developed collaboratively by a community of users, allowing any user to add and edit content” without collaboration the learners would not succeed in producing a meaningful wiki. The project was structured to allow for maximum use of the collaboration tools offered by each learner having the use of her own laptop & the tools of Web 2.0
Knowledge Building The project as a whole relied on the learners building their own knowledge and experimenting with technology to create their own opinions of which tools suited them best The wiki they created could not be copied from any source and relied on learners thinking differently about what and how they learn. Extended Learning Beyond the Classroom The wiki is still used today, and the English teachers have invited other schools to share in the development of this wonderful English resource. All the digital skills and Web 2.0 tools are being used each day, in different circumstances and with different goals. The girls and staff found the project invaluable, as it opened their eyes to a different way of learning
Use of ICT for Learning The pilot program and Workshop project was designed to make use of ICT seamless in the class. I wanted the girls and staff to experience the power of using ICT to achieve learning whilst integrating 21st Century skills Girls and staff are often “dazzled” by what technology can add to lessons. They miss the opportunity it gives the teachers to teach the girls how to create their knowledge and to rely on their skills of gathering, analyzing and forming new knowledge Every person is a “digi expert” and in fact an expert in pockets of content knowledge too; that combined with technology of computers, cell phones, other digital devices and powerful Web 2.0 tools takes learning from the mundane and boring to fun, exciting and practical
Teacher as Innovator and Change Agent I think thought the project teachers, administrators and the girls themselves started to understand the power of having technology with you anytime, anywhere. The girls have embraced the knowledge that they are all “experts” in some shape or form ~ and now they have learned to “tap” into their peers for advice and assistance. Staff are starting to find innovative ways to showcase their learners knowledge; allowing them the freedom to create knowledge in the realm they feel most comfortable, the digital one.
Conclusion A laptop program requires a sound network, strong wireless capabilities, hardy computer devices and lots, and lots of training.I think this project was a fun, innovative yet academically sound way to introduce a new way of teaching and learning to learners and teaching staff. Learners and staff required ICT skills and knowledge through a seemingly seamless integration of traditional class based work and tasks with 21st century skills, and technology. I think the project was a success, as it led to changes in the way teachers and learners use and integrate technology into their teaching and learning. The learners themselves have now created their own study- group using a Facebook group; they have posted class Afrikaans poetry on YouTube; and collaborated on school projects using Skype and their Live@edu email accounts