After our first week of EDCI 569 I’ve been busy planning my #LearningProject for the semester. I’m keen to explore something I am passionate about while simultaneously enhancing my practice and providing something meaningful for my students. At first glance this would seem like a tall order. Learning a new skill, incorporating this process in to my teaching, and then connecting this learning with my students on the surface appears to be quite a daunting task. However there are some underlying connections that provide meaningful points of synthesis and a manageable structure to follow. Allow me to explain.
Currently my classes complete an Inquiry-Based Learning project, a 5-8 week unit of study that challenges them to explore a topic of interest, create a powerful driving question, design a course of action (unit of study), research and evaluate multiple sources of information, and create and present an authentic IBL artifact. The unit provides students with a high level of voice and choice combined with loads of structure (suggested research tools, constant check-ins, 1-on-1 “learning conferences”, and timely feedback). Students not only select their topic of interest but also have options on how they would like to share their work and reflect on their learning. All students maintain a WordPress blog where they reflect on their unit and share their learning as we go. Some students post compositions as pseudo response journals. Some students post vlogs dissecting their learning. Some students use webtools such as ExplainEverything or iMovie to share their work. This model allows students to share and interact with the world around them in a highly personalized fashion. I’ve been working under this model for 2 years.
When I read the #LearningProject criteria on the EDCI 569 syllabus I thought it paralleled our IBL unit in many ways. The opportunity to explore something I’m highly interested in and share my learning in an online space, document my learning in various methods, reflect on the process as I go, and create a final summary of my learning are all comparable to the IBL process my classes follow.
I see these similarities as a great opportunity to demonstrate my learning to my class and use my #LearningProject as an example of how their own IBL units could work. I currently use my blog as a tool to discuss a personable (not personal) voice, a framework for responsible tech use, and a starting place in creating a professional digital footprint. My blog allows me to begin having conversations around digital citizenship and using the web to create as opposed to consume. I look forward to incorporating new aspects to my blog to broaden and enrich these conversations. I plan on posting anecdotal reflections of my project, vlogs over time to show my work as I go, photos of some of the items I have created, and connections to my online learning network.
Needless to say I am pretty excited. Stay tuned as I share this process with you over the coming months.