Saturday, September 1, 2012

Trending students

Our current UOI in Grade Three falls under the TD Theme - How We Organise Ourselves. The central idea is 'Digital media influences the way we access information and connect with each other'. Through the first two weeks of the unit each class has inquired into what we understand digital media to be, what our responsibilities are in virtual environments, how we can evaluate information on-line and how we use & organise digital media.

Over the past week in my class we've been exploring some of the different types of digital media that the students might choose to use for their process assessment task. The students will have to create a presentation to educate their parents on the responsible use of technology. They will have to find and evaluate information about responsible use in order to decide which is essential for their presentation, and also think about what will be the best tool in order to connect with their parents. Maybe their parents will come to school to see their presentation, maybe they won't be able to and would prefer to view it on-line, maybe they like to see videos, photos, text - there's a lot for the students to consider.

This week we've explored a couple of web 2.0 tools that might be useful for the students - Photo Peach and Prezi. Next week we'll look at a few more so the students can have the freedom of choosing which one will be most appropriate for them to use. For each tool we first run through a demonstration of the tool and then discuss the advantages and disadvantages of it. You can see the students' analysis of each tool on our grade level blog here and here.

One of the most interesting things I've noticed from the students' feedback is that they've highlighted as being a disadvantage the fact that you can't create a game that could be played on any of these sites. This is something that I hadn't really considered as even being an option. Obviously it is to the students, though, and I can't wait to unpack their thinking with this. I'm now looking for a good tool to show the students how to use in order for them to create a game to help explain digital responsibility.

K12Horizon is a project that focuses on emerging technology and their applications for K-12 education. One of the trends they identified this year in their annual report was game-based learning. A friend of mine blogged about some of the findings earlier this year and here is what she wrote about game based learning:

Game-Based Learning - there is a lot of interest in exploring the potential of game-based learning and the Horizon Report identifies several areas where these will be used in schools, for example developing students' team building skills, teaching cross-curricular content in engaging ways and simulations that allow students to try out different creative solutions to problems.

My students seem to have their finger on the trend pulse more than me with this and I think this example highlights the importance of making sure that the curriculum is student-centred. I can't wait to explore this further with my students and see what they create.

Photo credit: Toca Boca


  1. We are trying games based learning this year with our primary students. One of our R&D team facilitators this year is Alex who graduated from Full Sail University in Florida last year with a degree in games design. He has been working with students in our iCommons areas with the Xbox Kinect. Yesterday he wrote an article for our Findings R&D blog which you might be interested in reading:

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Maggie, it was an interesting read. Hopefully I'll be able to share my experiences of the students creating, as well as playing, the games with you in a few weeks.