Case Study 1: Types of Volcanoes Poster

classroom applications

Case Studies in relation to lessons/activities that have been changed before and after 1:1 implementation.  Technology use not for technology sake but in order to increase effectiveness and/or efficiency.  (Names have been changed to protect the innocent or I just made up the whole thing from a mixture of examples that I have observed.)

 

  • Mr. Banks for the last 4 years has had his students create posters detailing the similarities and differences between the different types of volcanoes.  He also has them list examples of each type.  The students can work in pairs and they put the posters up in the room for others to see when they are done.  Mr. Banks grades the posters in his gradebook and the posters are then able to be taken home or left behind to be disposed of.

  • This year Mr. Banks has decided to try to change this project.  He has noticed that students in the past were not very engaged in creating the posters and the tests seemed to indicate there was not much growth because of the poster project.  His students now have access to laptops and the types of tools that are now available to them has increased.  Mr. Banks has also started focusing more on the essential standards that he wants his students to learn and not so much on the specifics of assignments like number of words or anything else related to quantity.  He figures out the essential ideas he wants his students to understand and forgets about the extra stuff, its ok if they know that but that will not be his focus.  His focus is now on the factors that affect the volcano type and how the volcano type can impact the surrounding areas over time.

  • The big issue now facing Mr. Banks is that he is not very knowledgeable about the computers his students have.  He uses a computer to do grades and send emails, but not much beyond that.  He is still trying to figure out his cell phone that he just got.  He wants to allow students to use more digital tools in his class but he just doesn’t feel comfortable yet.

  • Mr. Banks seeks out help from another teacher, this could be someone in his department or the technology integrationist (if his school has one).  They discuss how best to go about it and Mr. Banks learns about some of the tools that his students could use.  He finds out that he does not need to be the expert for the tools, he has other people who can help his students with the tool part, but he is there to help his students make sense of the content.  Mr. Banks even asks the technology integrationist to come in and help during the class period, which is usually part of a tech integrationists job.

  • The students create the projects using different tools but there still seems to be a part missing.  If the student is just creating for the teacher, there is less engagement and focus on the quality of the project.  The quality will relate to how well they work with the content information.  By having the students share with the class, either in the classroom or online, Mr. Banks helps his students write for more than an audience of 1.  The students get to learn from each other as they are working on their own project.

  • By posting some of the assignments online, Mr. Banks has examples to show his students the next time he does something like this.  He may not do this everytime he has a project but it was a useful experience that gives him more options in the future.  His students tell them they really liked having a choice about what to create.  The focus on the content was the same for all, it was how they shared that with others that varied.  Mr. Banks uses this opportunity to focus his project assessment on the main content and not solely on factors such as length or number of words.  He may include a part about quality of work, but that is more so to the ability of their creation to conveying the message clearly.

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