Thursday, May 19, 2011

Supporting "whatever they want" to use

Last week I wrote that I was excited about the current unit our Grade 3s are doing on exploration.  Yesterday they went out to 4 different locations and today the students have been working on various presentations using whatever software they want to try to persuade their class to go to "their" area for a trip.  Students had very definite ideas about what they wanted to do with the computer.  There were some who just wanted to print out the photos they'd taken and use them in some sort of poster, while others wanted to revisit tools they had used earlier this year such as SpicyNodes or Prezi.  Glogster, for making online posters, was also a popular choice.   Some students wanted to use their photos to make a movie using Animoto, others wanted to combine them in iMovie.  Google Maps was a popular choice, with students using the line tool to mark their routes onto the maps and being able to upload pictures to Picasa, that were then embedded into the Google Maps placemarks they were adding .  There were also a few students who worked in groups to design presentations using Word and PowerPoint.

There was a real buzz in the lab this afternoon, with Grade 3 students being able to drop in anytime to work on their presentations.  Our lovely librarian was in the lab with me all the time, helping the students to learn and create with the applications.  Class teachers dropped in and out with the students as appropriate.  Nobody asked to use something really "different" but not everyone in the groups knew all the software well, so they had to teach each other or ask for help if the whole group was stuck.  About an hour and a half into the process our Librarian and I both looked around and saw everyone engaged and working hard in their groups.  It was loud and it might have looked a bit chaotic, but there was a lot of learning going on.  We were excited to see how successful this model of assessment is turning out to be and how easily we were able to support all the different groups.

Photo by Lauren Paulsen AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works 

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