Our task this week in CEP810 was to design a “21st Century Lesson Plan” using an aspect of technology that would allow our students to do one (or more) of the following: design, create, inquire, play, problem-solve, and/or evaluate. Students needed to do so within the context of our curriculum and in a meaningful way. Having taught second grade for the past two years, and being familiar with that curriculum, I chose to go the route of designing a plan for second graders.
I chose to work off of a non-fiction writing unit that I LOVE teaching. Students pick an animal they are interested in and spend a week or so researching with some chapters in mind (habitiat, what they look like, etc.). Students collect information through books and the internet, using links found through the school’s media center website. They use post-its and organize them in a journal or booklet. The usual end-of-unit product is a book that they write and put together with all of their facts, or a short PowerPoint presentation… but with today’s changing educational field, a book or plain PowerPoint presentation is not enough. So, how could my students share their work in a more creative way, using something they already love? After searching online, I remembered that some of my team last year used Educreations for a science lesson. This program allows students to sketch a picture and record audio in order to create a slideshow. It is available on the iPads, and they LOVE using these. What a perfect match!
With Educreations, students are an author and illustrator through a resource they already know and love – the iPad. When students add audio to accompany illustrations, the presentation crosses into the “multimedia zone” and now the students can become owners of their work. With the 21st Century Lesson Plan I put together, students will first play around with the program to get used to it. The next day, they will again be “playing” but also creating, working on their final piece for the unit to share with others. They will share their facts and research and also have the freedom of drawing their own illustrations. They will decide what to sketch to best represent their learning, just as Thomas & Seely (2011) believe students should be able to do. Students will be able to draw exactly what they want to show rather than spend fifteen mintues hunting for the “perfect dolphin habitat picture”. They could import a photo, but I chose not to have them do that. By sharing with their classmates and not just me, they will have more of a purpose for their work because their audience is no longer just “the teacher”; their work is reaching “real audiences” as Hobbs (2011) states regarding her core competencies for fundamental literacy practices. Educreations is the perfect program for this.
**Here is a great introductory video to Educreations, if you’re interested!
Hobbs, R. (2011). Digital and media literacy: Connecting culture and classroom. Thousand, Oaks, CA: Corwin/Sage.
Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, Ky: CreateSpace?.