You may have noticed there was no Friday Five last week – it was our school’s graduation and things were crazy around here. It was interesting to reflect on the seniors who graduated last week. The seniors I worked with (between their sophomore, junior and senior years) have done so many things – I am quite sure if someone told me to teach without computers, I couldn’t. But back to my students.
Sophomore year my students studied US History. We didn’t use the wiki (I didn’t know about it yet), but they they created music videos to show the history of the US, used Word and PowerPoint templates to create, calendars and biography boards for explorers (a take off on this idea) and many interactive history/game websites. I am sure there was more but without a wiki record, my memory is a bit shaky…
Junior year, things got serious – we studied Africa, China and the Middle East and we used technology all the time. My students created wiki pages showcasing their work and collecting data on Middle Eastern countries, used Gliffy to create time lines of African history, used Zoho Show to show what was interesting in the Middle East and Zoho Show with the CIA World Factbook to analyze the status of African Nations, created trading cards for world leaders. That and all of our resources were web-based.
Senior year, from Word templates for presidential candidate trading cards to online lectures to making a movie to support President Bush’s Saturday morning radio addresses to cartoons and music videos of Landmark Supreme Court cases to using Word templates to create a government deck of cards, students again utilized technology a lot and, if they did not create their work as a group, they shared and discussed everything they created each one was due.
I am currently reading Bob Pletka’s book, Educating the Net Generation: How to Engage Students in the 21st Century. I cannot believe (well, I can but it makes me sad) that “85% of all instructional activities entailed lectures or seatwork that precluded students from interacting with one another.” My students definitely work together, discuss their creations, and are engaged to an extent but I am going to pay close attention to my ratios next year – I know I am under 85% but I wonder if it is still too high? Oh, btw, the book is great, I highly recommend it as it is both interesting and a quick read.