I have collaboratively worked with many grade 9 teachers this year with inquiry-based learning as a focus and how technology can enhance student learning. We meet and co-plan a lesson or unit, discuss assessment, and decide on how we can use technology to support the IBL process. We then co-teach the planned process and support student needs as we go. It has proven to be an exciting and inspiring opportunity for everyone involved.
A recent project in a Social Studies 9 and a Sciences Humaines 9 class focused on the Industrial Age unit. We challenged students to:
– pick a meaningful topic from the Industrial Age PLOs to study and then teach to their peers via a presentation using Explain Everything or iMovie
– collaborate in small groups to co-create their lesson
– publish their lessons to our class Youtube channel and provide study notes or an activity to accompany their videos
– watch their peers’ videos and complete the study material provided.
We witnessed several neat outcomes throughout this process. First, students selected a topic they were genuinely curious about and spent time going further in to this material than the textbook alone provided. This was observed in the depth of research each group explored (mainly via online library databases) as well as the overall level of excitement and engagement we witnessed each day throughout the unit.
Second, students were keen to try out new things. Explain Everything and iMovie require a certain level of sticktoitiveness. The various tools, recording and editing functions, and publishing process, although user friendly, are not easy by any means. We were impressed with how they dove in to these apps, grappled with how they work, and then mastered what they could do.
And last, students were appreciative of each other’s work. There always seems to be a palpable anxiousness in a classroom when it comes to “presentation day”. Students can dread sharing their work for many reasons. Some are anxious about standing in front of their peers. Some aren’t proud of what they’ve completed so prefer not to share it. And some are more introverted and shy away from the lime lite of the front of the class. When we walked in to “presentation day” kids were excited to see all of their projects. We didn’t require them to stand in front of the room but rather we had them introduce their work from their desks. Students applauded spontaneously, high fived when they saw something they enjoyed, and congratulated one another on their work.
Below are a few examples of what students produced. Enjoy!