7-A-1 Big Shifts

I have chosen to mostly consider Big Shift # 3 (The Social, Collaborative Construction of Meaningful Knowledge), and incorporate one part of Big Shift # 5 (Know “Where” Learning) which is to create an online textbook for my classes using Internet resources.

Will Richardson’s book sums up a great comparison of how teachers of the past have viewed student work, to how teachers of the future will view student work.

Old School View

  • Students work independently to complete an assignment (“do your own work”)
  • Work is created for a small limited audience to view (usually just the teacher)
  • When the work is finished – it’s done (nothing becomes of it, and eventually it may be thrown away)
New School View

  • Students work collaboratively together to complete an assignment using resources from the Read/Write Web
  • Work is created for a large broad audience (not just the teacher, but anyone who has access to the Internet)
  • When the work is finished – it’s still there, for others to view and possibly continue to work on in the future

I have been a teacher for four years now. While this is not a huge amount of time, my views regarding student work have gradually changed over the past four years.

At the beginning of my teaching career I was adamant about each student working independently. In addition, the work they created was usually only seen by me, and at the end of the year, I generally threw out the folder that contained a compilation of their work (I know that is sad – but it is the truth)

Today, my viewpoints are somewhat different. While I still think there is a place for students working independently, I have also grown to the like the idea of students working with each other and collaborating together to master a concept. In addition, I have also changed my viewpoint of what I do with finished work – I’ve changed some of my assignments to projects, and then displayed excellent works for other students to use as examples.

In the future, I would like to take the “New School” ideas for student work to create collaborative class website that can be viewed by anyone who has the internet. This purpose of this website is to be a helpful resource to my own students, but also serve as a resource for anyone who wants to learn something about chemistry. Another goal of mine is to use this space to create an online textbook for my physical science class, which currently does not have a textbook (Big Shift # 5).

My Vision

Although I teach 3 different levels/courses, I’m going to use my Physical Science course as a template to demonstrate my vision. I would like my online website to contain the following.

Online Textbook

Have students (and myself) use Internet resources (blogs, wikis, discussion groups, other online textbooks) to compile an online text for future classes.

Additional Content & Resources

I will upload the content lessons, but I would like students to find additional external resources (videos, simulations, songs, etc.) for section of the content material. I would also like to create an assignment where current students leave meaningful advice for future students (how to be successful in this course, etc.). I think I will give students options for the format of this assignment (written post, video, podcast, etc.).

Picture Vocabulary

In my traditional classroom, I already have students create picture vocabulary cards- where they define a term using a picture. In the future, I would like students to scan or take a picture of their vocabulary card and upload this card to the website for others to view. At the end of the year, my goal is to have each one of my students help to create a complete set of all the vocabulary terms for the course.

Class Projects

In my traditional classroom, I have students complete an element project and a periodic table project. I already require students to use multimedia tools (Prezi, videos, songs, etc.) in their projects, and so I think it would be relatively easy for them to upload them to our class website.

Scribe Notes

When students are absent (especially for multiple days), it is difficult for me to remember everything we did during the class period(s) they missed. In the future, I would like to have a student-created wiki of “scribe notes”, where one student in each class (I do have multiple sections, in case that student is absent) will include: the date, the general topic, assignments turned in at the beginning of class, today’s agenda, summary of today’s lesson, ticket to exit with explanation, and today’s homework. Using a wiki to create these scribe notes will allow students to continue to add to previous work. The end result will be a compilation of what specific activities we did each day. So … when a student is absent, I (and he/she) can look at the wiki to determine exactly what information was missed.

Everyday Chemistry

I want students to use a vodcast called “Reactions” to find and learn about an “everyday chemistry” topic that they are interested in. A full explanation of this Everyday Chemistry assignment is below on my blog. Basically, students will find a topic, and summarize what they have learned using one of the following formats: written blog post, podcast, vodcast or video, picture lesson, etc. They will then upload their summary and the link to the original vodcast to our class website for others to explore everyday chemistry topics.


One thought on “7-A-1 Big Shifts

  1. I think the hallmark of a good/great teacher is the ability to reflect and evaluate how you teach and why. It’s obvious by your post that you have not just jumped on the nearest educational bandwagon but have instead thoughtfully considered this new information and how it fit best into your classroom.

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