Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Using all 6 ICT strands in 1 Unit of Inquiry

This graphic was drawn up by Will Kirkwood of NIST following our ICT in the PYP curriculum meeting in Hong Kong in September.  I love this graphic and the way it not only shows the ICT strands, but also shows how using them we can become part of a global community and in the process become more internationally minded.  Since coming back to school after this meeting, I've been trying to rewrite our IT curriculum in the light of these new strands.

Recently our Grade 3 students worked on the How The World Works unit of inquiry.  I have written about the process we went through to collaboratively plan, teach and assess this unit in an earlier blog post.  Since this unit ended I have now had the time to reflect on how all 6 ICT strands were incorporated into this one unit of inquiry.

Investigate - Both the librarian and myself attend all the Grade 3 weekly planning meetings so we were able to work well on incorporating research skills using Britannica Online and Google Custom Search.  Both the homeroom teachers and myself attended a couple of sessions in the library where students were introduced to using primary and secondary key words for searching, and different methods of note taking.  We then used these skills when the students came to the IT labs for their research.
Be responsible digital citizens - We discussed how images enhance a presentation and then discussed copyright issues with finding images on the internet.  We talked about creative commons licences and how it was important to cite the sources of all images that would be used.  I then introduced Wikimedia Commons and Compfight using the creative commons only search as tools for the students to use.  They spent one lesson in the IT lab looking for images and recording the source of these images.
Organise - Once the students had found their images it was important that they could save them to their network folders for use in their final presentation.  At this point I also introduced the 2 Web 2.0 tools the students could use for their presentation.  We talked about how to organise information in Spicy Nodes using their research questions and how it was possible to add more nodes and add subnodes.  Students learned how to upload their saved images into the nodes.  The other tool introduced was Prezi.  We talked about how to put down the main ideas and images and how to link them together using the path tool.
Create - Now it was time to create their presentations.  Students used either Spicy Nodes or Prezi to make a presentation that would support their oral presentation to the class about a natural or man-made process or disaster (for example volcanoes, forest fires, global warming).  As students had already practiced using the tools in class, most of the creation was actually done at home.
Collaborate - Some students chose to work alone, others were put in groups if they were working on the same process or disaster.  Since the students were working a lot at home, they had to collaborate with each other as to who was going to do which parts of the presentation.  In the case of Prezi it would have been possible to use Prezi Meeting if both students were going to working on the same presentation at the same time, but in the end this did not turn out to be necessary.
Communicate - Students were assessed on their oral presentations.  Some students chose to present to the whole class, some chose to present to a small group within the class and some students chose to present to students in another class - in this case students who had used Prezi presented to students who had used Spicy Nodes and vice versa so the students got to see how the different presentation tools worked effectively.  They were also responsible for peer-assessing the oral presentations, while the homeroom teacher and myself assessed the knowledge and understanding of the unit of inquiry.

These 6 IT strands provided a fantastic framework for this whole unit and I'm really keen to see if we can look at other units of inquiry and see how possible it is to use all 6 strands again in another unit later this year.


  1. Hi Maggie,

    Just stumbled onto your post as I was reviewing our school's ICT curriculum documents. I am currently reorganizing our skills to match the new strands published by the IB. Would be interested to find out if you have a similar document already or if you know of any out there. I am willing to share when (if?) I ever finish it.

    1. Hi Michelle,
      Yes, I have added these strands to the documents for each unit of inquiry. I'm happy to share these with you - can you let me know an email address that I can send a copy to.
      Best wishes,

    2. Hi Maggie! :)

      I am a few years down the road, but like Michelle, I, too, am reviewing my school's ICT curriculum to facilitate digital literacy and could REALLY do with some help, please!! Do you have any documents or ideas I could use?

      Thanks much!

      A. Barrett

    3. Please send me your email address and I will share an example of how we have done this for our units.

    4. Hi Maggie,

      I am the PYP Coordinator at a PYP school here in the UAE. I am currently reviewing and restructuring my school's ICT curriculum as well in light of a rather significant restructuring of my role this year.

      Essentially, I am required to teach standalone sessions with two year groups per unit (Year 3-6) while ensuring integration in the remaining units (Y1-6). At this stage, I have yet to undergo the "Role of ICT in the PYP" training and have essentially been left to my own devices. Rather daunting, not gonna lie!

      If you have any guidance or documentation you're willing to share to support me in this endeavor, I would be most grateful.

      Much appreciated,

    5. Hi Mark, please send me an email address and I will share some ideas with you.

  2. Hi Maggie,

    This is poonam from Rasbihari International school(India),
    At present we are in the stage of mapping ICT learning outcome.
    I need your help for framing learning outcome unit and strand wise.
    my email-
    please share your strands with unit of inquiry.

  3. Hi Maggie,

    I am reviewing my school's ICT curriculum, it would be great if you can email me too. My email address is Thanks.