How do you move from a worksheet to a technology-enriched learning experience?
(Don’t we wish there was a simple, one-word answer???)
In our grade junior and intermediate classes, we use a series called What in the World? The series provides a curriculum-based focus on current events as a platform for discussions and learning. The content is literacy-based, but is often connected to other core subject areas including Math, Science, Social Studies, Geography/History. It comes in worksheet form (albeit we do receive it digitally). The latest series is focused on Idle No More, a movement with very meaningful connections to our students here in Northwestern Ontario, Canada.
We’ve been encouraged to share an example of how TPACK influences learning in our schools… this is a great example. Grade 6/7 teacher, Terri Forster, uses the worksheets as a guideline for generating discussions and embeds the content into her cross-curricular teaching strategies. First, she uses the photocopier to scan the worksheets to her email, and projects the writing excerpt and question sheet up on her SMART Board. From here, students are able to engage in a discussion on vocabulary, levels of questions, and interpretation of text features.
Next, students work their way individually through the learning activity (in this case, with a paper copy of the worksheet). They are able to reference their notes on the marked-up copy on the interactive white board as they complete the task.
As the lesson progresses, students will be asked to apply their knowledge and understanding of the content and conventions of writing a letter. Students will co-create their learning goal and success criteria with the use of the curricular expectations and Achievement Chart, and share this document with the class in Google Docs. (Each student has access and regularly uses this tool for creating, collaborating and communicating). As students work through their writing of the letter, they have access to not only a generic success criteria, but their own on-going, personalized feedback through the “Comments” section on Google Drive. They will participate in both teacher and peer assessment in the writing process. As well, students have created personal reminders as a means of self-assessment with VoiceThread, which the students are comfortable using in a variety of writing contexts.
Meanwhile, our local SHAW cable channel has had a excerpt this week on Idle No More with two local community members discussing the issues with a community focus. Through a Tweet and an email, we will receive a DVD of this episode tomorrow, and will view this with students as an additional resource. Students will continue to connect their own ideas and opinions with others, as they view other sources of information through various media forms.
Lastly, the final copies of their letters (created through digital templates for some), will be sent and shared in a variety of ways to a variety of recipients. The task is rich and meaningful, personalized for each student and a direct result from an activity generated on a worksheet.