Course 2 project … arrives
The hard part:
Irony. The creation of this project was not the difficult part. I had wonderful partners, who were collaborators and bought into the project. A dream. The tough part is this reflective blog. I find this interesting.
Worthy of a discussion, and maybe another time, but I have a resistance to blogging this project. I am pleased that the rest of this project was great, and working with teammates, Cheryl Hordenchuk, and Kristin Bond.
The easy part:
Location — Cheryl and I are both employed by ACS where we sometimes work together-ish, more similar to having a conversation about curricular tasks. Rarely do we have the opportunity work together on a project? We are both curriculum nerds, appreciating a solid unit and the great add-ons, worksheets, organizers to go with it. Kristin Bond, a former colleague currently in CfBT Brunei, has a similar passion for curriculum and is currently working on her masters in learning and technology. Both of these women are skilled in curriculum and creative thinking and regularly push themselves to create and deliver the best units for student learning. I felt lucky.
Working with an outsider, who is geographically not present and is educating in a different environment at the moment, is fully present when we were unit planning, collaborating and posing thoughtful questions. Her perspective, because she wasn’t physically IN the meeting with us, was more honest and trusted. Cheryl and my discussion were nuanced and would understand what the other meant, simultaneously typing our unit. Kristin would make us pause and ask us a question for clarity, providing us with the chance to understand our purpose for our designed task. Missing the nuances was a good thing, giving us an opportunity to see the clarity in our communication, and how others not privy to our conversations could perceive it. This caused me to reflect further about communication online and often the tone that may be received incorrectly because the author did not take the time to consider how someone else may interpret their short quip.
The reflective part:
Our project was creating a unit to help students learn about and reflect on digital footprint and citizenship. Using my current text, The Catcher in the Rye, I am reading with my students, Cheryl, Kristin and I decided to bring Holden Caulfield into the 21st century, determining what would his digital footprint be. With a Facebook page and a Twitter account, how would Holden (re)present himself? Is he socially responsible with media?
When writing this unit, the lens of a student was key for us. When thinking about students gathering prior knowledge, it was us who had build knowledge to match those of our students. The students’ fluency with tweets supersedes Cheryl and mine; Kristin supported us with laughter about our inadequacies, affirming that we had to build on an assumption of technology of the students. There is a need to be a bit cautious designing a unit where you are not the expert. The students are. Are they “digital natives”? (again, another time). We agreed that this was a fair assumption that they are. We also agreed that we had to up our game. Entering into a world of recognizable language, but not the proficiency in it. Oh, the irony.
One of the reoccurring questions was where are we on the SAMR spectrum. Relating back to ourselves in high school (maybe the 90’s, give or take a few years), would we have done a similar unit? No – cell phones were just coming available, and they were more of a mobile unit versus a pocket cell, let alone a smartphone. In our high school days, we would
have penned a journal by Holden, or wrote letters to show a developing character. We certainly would not have tweeted. Only birds back in those days tweeted. We felt safe that we were at least transforming the task, where “tech allows for significant task redesign” (Schrock) There is a shift from the traditional character development tasks, transforming them into a deep look at who Holden is and what would he like and do, his views on certain 21st-century social norms. Our new task would have the student making connections in the real world with their fictional character, exploring themselves at the same time. The transformation for us was a tad different, though, where we are at the top of the spectrum with Redefinition, creating a new task that is previously inconceivable, to non-tweeters like us ☺.
A great experience and unit.
The unit planned will make its debut in September of this year.