A Journey in Educational Technology in the Curriculum
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5.1 Activity Evaluation

The activity that my co-teacher and I used with Grade 1 and 2 students was to create a story with partners using an iPad. Students began by creating a plot diagram in a storyboard app. Unfortunately I don’t know the name of the app that they used after storyboarding, but they didn’t create a video in the traditional sense. Rather, they inserted images into a chosen background that they then virtually cut out and used their fingers to move around the scene (i.e. made them bigger or smaller, move around). Students then created a voice over and inserted it into their animation to complete their videos. As there were no faces or actual names used, it was uploaded to the class Youtube channel and linked to the class blog where parents could access their children’s work.

I evaluated it against the SECTIONS and TEC-VARIETY models. I chose the TEC-VARIETY model because of how it addresses different aspects of learner motivation and I used the SECTIONS model for how I chose the specific technology that students used. The iPads and internet were accessible for each group of students at no cost because they belonged to the school. The project was only worked on during class time and properly saved so students could access it the next time that they worked on it. One might argue that the TEC-VARIETY model increased motivation in my students rather than simply using a pencil and paper to bring their stories to life. I observed students who were curious, engaged and working purposefully to achieve their goals. Parents also gave positive feedback feeling as if they were a part of the class. I feel that set against both frameworks it was a successful lesson.

Critiques that I might include are security and privacy – being mindful any time that something is posted in a public way (i.e. cautioning students and parents against sharing the Youtube video on their social media to create a trace to the class and school and expose any vulnerable students), I could have used Apple TV or a projector to show students a clearer example of how to work with the software (rather than directly on the iPad at the carpet), I also could have included more interactions between groups: finding a way for students to comment on each other’s work rather than just verbally. Students had some variety and autonomy but I could have given them several animation apps to work with (that I evaluated ahead of time) and allowed them the freedom to choose the one that worked best for their vision.

SECTIONS MODEL

  • S tudents
  • E ase of use
  • C osts
  • T eaching functions
  • I nteraction
  • O rganisational issues
  • N etworking
  • S ecurity and privacy

TEC-VARIETY MODEL

1. Tone/Climate: Psychological Safety, Comfort, Sense of Belonging
2. Encouragement: Feedback, Responsiveness, Praise, Supports
3. Curiosity: Surprise, Intrigue, Unknowns
4. Variety: Novelty, Fun, Fantasy
5. Autonomy: Choice, Control, Flexibility, Opportunities
6. Relevance: Meaningful, Authentic, Interesting
7. Interactivity: Collaborative, Team-Based, Community
8. Engagement: Effort, Involvement, Investment
9. Tension: Challenge, Dissonance, Controversy
10. Yielding Products: Goal Driven, Purposeful Vision, Ownership

A learning activity that I can facilitate in my teaching context and have evaluated using the TEC-VARIETY model involves summative assessment. I had one student who had difficulty hand writing answers on tests and who would become so frustrated that he would refuse to fill anything out. Eventually I asked a high school student who volunteered in the class to read him the questions and to scribe for him. He ended up getting the best possible mark- he had taken in all of the knowledge but his brain was working too quickly for his hands to catch up.

I’d like to build on what I learned from that situation and student and present a summative assessment in a more creative way. Each student will be provided an iPad and can choose how they want to answer the four questions that they are given regarding the material covered in a specified amount of time. They will wear noise controlled headphones and click pre-saved videos of me asking the questions. I will turn the Wifi off on the iPads and clearly state and observe that students aren’t searching the internet for answers. Students can interpret the questions however they like and deliver their answers in creative ways such as by making graphic organizers, drawn mind-maps, in the case of this individual student, they might choose to go in the hall and record their voice speaking the answers or a video of themselves, as long as it is original work. Depending on the student they may choose just to type the answers, but other students might use a paint or drawing app to make their own images. Once all assignments are submitted, saved and reviewed by me, students can have the option to present their interpretation to the class so that knowledge is shared and reinforced, and creativity is celebrated. I am hoping that this exercise will successfully set the tone/climate for excitement to share what was learned from a unit and remove the fear and stigma surrounding traditional approaches to summative assessment.

 

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