Connecting our students to themselves, each other and the world our story
Why would you want to do acollaborative project online?
Eric Whitacres Virtual Choir #3 Water Night received 3746videos by 2,945 people in 73 countries. YouTube video 2 April 2012, and received 100,000 views in the first week. Eric Whitaker’s Virtual Choir on YouTube
Can online participation lead tosomething good happening in real life?
In just over 24 hours after posting one mans heartbreakingly heroic story on Reddit, more than $80,000 in donations had been pledged to a Kenyan orphanage where he saved a group of kids. The donations came from all 50 U.S. states and 46 different countries
The world in which we live is complex andinterconnected. Todays students need new skills tobe successful - creativity, collaboration,communication.A digital display of the Facebook user community and the connections between users.
Our rationale:Learning in a social media environment.Using skills to develop important literacies
Why are social media literacies important?If you know how to swim that will serve you very well, but if you are the only person in the world who knows how to read and write then it wont serve you very well. (Howard Rheingold)
Social media literacies involve not only the skills ofencoding and decoding in these media but thesocial part, the ability to use these skills and thesemedia in concert with others to get things done.(Howard Rheingold)
Participatory culture:dont just consume - create(Rheingold)
Students buy inGood day, Mr FairlieHeres my Posterous Space page.http://simontr.posterous.com/I am looking forward to post more and share my ideas.Simon Trinh of 9L.
Nick > GeorgeWell done, George. I love your first post. Your musing about the innate self versus the learned self is very interesting. I look forward to reading more.Keep it up.Mr Fairlie
First comment from the outsideNick, Penny Bentley (maths teacher and ICT mentor - Australia) commented on Simons post.Later she wrote on FB They are amazing, articulate young people... its a credit to their teachers.
Nick > TaniaYay! Hooray! I am thrilled, and I hope Simon is too.
Nick > Tania So I just looked at our clustrmap, and saw viewsfrom Belgrade, Luxemburg, NZ… amazing
Tania > NickCongratulations! Youve passed 1,000 blog views!
Isobelle Carmody - Blogging......seems to me like a diary and yet it does have an audience and feeling that, it causes me to treat the material I want to talk about differently...it does exactly what Mr Fairlie talks about in your site - it allows me to try out ideas on paper (well, cyberpaper) for an audience that may or may not read me, but they might, and so I have to take their presence seriously.It allows me to find out what I think about things- that in fact is what I think all writing should be about.
Nick > TaniaFabulous. What she wrote was just perfect. And its addressed to the boys!
Nick > students:Whats your take on Michaels post?
Students reflect on the power of wordsIt is not so much that we take words for granted but more that we ignore the beauty and power (and danger) they contain.Words can also be manipulative and vitriolic, possible made to influence your thoughts in invisible ways, fooling you with their eloquence. Words can also be empty, soulless and flung with little care onto paper.These tiny insignificant characters that are so puny and insignificant by themselves but if carefully crafted and ordered can rock an entire nation to its core.Most people dont think about how important it is and how our lives would be completely different. We could not communicate ideas, feelings and just general informatiom. We would be locked in our own thougts, but then again, how could humans even think advanced and complex thoughts without language? We would only be able to think graphical thoughts like an image of a place.
Nick > TaniaThese responses are blowing my mind. Perhaps the most exciting thing Ive done in 10 years of teaching!
Nick > TaniaThey are at pains to respect each other and the ideas. They are getting it!Now they just need to learn the opposite: that you cant afford to be overly precious about ideas. If the ideas are robust enough they will withstand some verbal punishment.
Nick > TaniaIts becoming clear that this is as much a writing as thinking task. It sounds weird, but I saw this as a forum for developing their meta-cognition, and didnt anticipate the benefits to their writing
Nick > TaniaThey are all really experimenting with voices. I love the difference in voice between the first and subsequent posts. They very often go over the top, and mimic what they think is an adult voice. This is sooo much better than what they usually produce, which is the voice they think is the right one (bland and devoid of personality).
Tania > NickYes, all that will hopefully happen over time. I keep forgetting theyre yr 9s.
Nick > TaniaIve just read xs posts. His blog epitomizes the purpose of the project: its deeply reflective and hes really taken chance to develop an authentic voice.
Student blog posts can surprise youThis is EXACTLY why were doing this project. Tasks narrowly defined by me produce narrow thinking, aimed at pleasing me (!)How would you devise an assessment task aimed at eliciting this kind of work?"Write a reflective essay of staggering insight, which cuts to the heart of your very being, in an authorial voice which is mature beyond your years."
Nick > TaniaI really believe that school is valuable if it teaches you why knowledge is important.School needs to inspire curiosity and provide a way to pursue it. If school doesn’t do that, I honestly don’t know what else it’s for.I want them to see that school is worth it because they are worth it.
Nick has an epiphany ;PI think this has to be the starting point for all classroom engagement.The questions, ‘why does this matter?’ or ‘when am I ever going to use this?’ are legitimate ones and should be addressed explicitly by a teacher.
Nick:The answer ‘all knowledge is valuable’ is the true and important one, but a kid won’t necessarily accept that on face value.They need to see why knowledge matters by honestly and critically engaging with it, and examine themselves in the light of that knowledge.
Deep understanding of blogging as alearning experience for the teacherNick:The reality of exams and assessment tasks, and teaching to the task is undeniable, but this shouldn’t be allowed to dominate a classroom.This project is my rage against the learning-is- assessment machine.
Teachers doing, not just sayingWe model writing by doing what we ask the students to do.
Student:In Western society today, the 21st century, a new kind of man is emerging. This man, surprisingly, is quite conservative, despite the thought social progressiveness of his society. To be brief, he is a coward, who will very easily conform to the existing norms of behaviour. We, for all our progressiveness, still cling on to the archaic model of masculinity; a physically strong man who is both authoritative and financially successful.
Online serendipity:metacognition of online behaviour
Nick > boys...and even though the ideas taught in Maths have everything to do with lessons from Philosophy , we treat them like theyre unrelated.
Student:Connections strengthen as we grow older, because we experience more. With more experiences, there is more to connect to. Therefore we must make it our duty to be not only learning, but aware that we are learning, every day.Only then can we constantly make connections to old thoughts, and to other old connections.
Examples of student blogs from otherdisciplines
Natalies studio:posting what I love and what inspires meSiena College Drawing of feather created using app Sketchbook Pro Art
Reflection and self-assessmentNatalie:If I was to do this again, I would try other materials like oil paint or pencil to create different types of feathers and textures but otherwise I am extremely happy with this feather considering I only created it in under 45 minutes!
Sean Nash teaches important literaciesin his biology ning
Thinking about learning in biologyStudent:Ive learned so much - not only about the carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins but about how misleading the media is and how uninformed people are about their health, including myself.
Where to next?Further collaboration within the schoolCollaboration with students outside school, possiblyfrom another countryBringing in experts for areas of interestPossible whole school integration of digital literaciesand citizenship into learning and teaching
Year 9 English MSH blog link -http://9l-english-mhs.posterous.com/Nick Fairlie on Twitter @NickfairlieTania Sheko on Twitter @taniatorikovaBlog: Brave New World