Monthly Archives: January 2012

Project Design

The success of any project is largely due to how well it has been thought out.  In drivers ed. one of the few things I remember is the instructor telling me “to plan your route ahead of time, so that you are not making flash decisions while in a moving vehicle surrounded by other moving vehicles doing unpredictable things.”  Seemed like very sound advice to a nervous new driver, and a new teacher. 

Planning my route when it comes to curriculum is something that I have had to do in the past.  I did some curriculum planning as a general education teacher, but the majority of my teaching career has been spent working collaboratively with general education teachers as the learning specialist. I am really good at taking other people’s plans and finding ways to make it accessible for all types of learners. However, with this project I am taking the reins, drafting from scratch and going back to my roots as a general education teacher with the experience of a learning specialist. Next week I meet with the rest of the team and we will revise and finalize the plan.

As I begin the planning process, there are many questions running around in my brain.  What are the key elements that I need to include? How do I know if I have calendared the projects progression accurately? What should my essential question be? Will the student think that this project is as relevant as I do? What if they hate it? And so on.

In Design theory, the designer goes through a brainstorming process, develops a prototype that is tested with a trial audience, then goes through a revision process in which he or she iterates on the product until ….. well, until its done. In this case, the prototype and iterative process has to occur theoretically so that the best possible project can be rolled out to the students.

So here is what I have come up with so far, I feel like I have a long way to go and would love comments and feedback from my peers both at the school and from around the globe.

Project Working Title

Upside Down Exhibition: Where the students do the teaching

Essential Question (ideas):

  • What teaching strategies and methods best ensure my learning?
  • What makes a good teacher and a good student?
  • Can I teach someone something that they do not already know?
  • Does the current school and classroom structure best support student growth and learning?

In this exhibition the student will spend 2 weeks reflecting on his/her learning style, and his/her teacher’s teaching styles. The student will blog about what helps and what hinders the learning process. The student will use this reflection to support the design and production of 2-3 short video lessons, to be uploaded to Upside Down Academy. During this time period the student will also provide feedback to his or her peers and engage in critique and reflection about the lessons. The student will then create a story-board and produce one final lesson that is a more polished product. The student will the present his or her video to small audiences on exhibition night, including a description of the process used to arrive at this final product.

Design and Iteration phase
2-3 video’s uploaded to Upside Down Academy…………Completed (date)
Blog style lesson reflections, ongoing……………………… # by date
watch and comment on peer videos………………………… # by date

Prototype phase
Story-board for final lesson……………. ……………………..Complete (date)
Final Video uploaded to Upside Down Academy……….Completed (date)
Note cards for presentation……………………………………..Complete (date)
Rehearsals ………………………………………………………….Completed (date)

Supporting Materials

  1. model video’s to show students different approaches, made using DMA skills that they have. eg. narrated PowerPoint / video of white board / flash animation / film trailer or skit /
  2. Guidelines for what needs to be addressed in the lessons.
  3. setting up blog for reflection.
  4. scaffold to support lesson reflection writing.
  5. identify which focus standards for math will be the concepts they teach, sample problems.
  6. explicit teaching of teaching styles and how to identify them.
  7. Time to watch each others videos and comment.
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Capturing Video

As the holidays fade into the background the Blended Learning team at Envision Academy is getting ready for the roll out of the 9th grade Spring Exhibition, Upside Down Exhibition (working title).

One of the tools that we are exploring is the Chromebook. We would like to fully benefit from this amazing tool and wonderful gift. However, in order to achieve what we have set out to do we need to find a way to capture video using only a browser. There must be a solution out there, and for the purposes of education I certainly hope that there is a free version.

Once the students have created their own tutorials they will post them on for feedback and reflection. These prototypes will help shape their final video lessons which will be displayed to the public at the exhibition in March.

If you have come across a tool that you think will help us achieve our goals please let us know.

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