The students made notes, I marked them.. It was fabulous (and enlightening)
No student was asked to keep their notes in their one note file. However, I did use the Content Library and each week, I added the key images and information that they’d need. This meant that more and more students started to copy over graphics and links into their own notes and add their thoughts. I was able to mark these notes and get even more insight into how my students were processing and delving into the learning they were faced with. This helped me to shape the learning objectives and to ensure that key questions and points were addressed during teacher led instruction.
I don’t own a device that has inking capabilities so I plugged in A Bamboo Spark and was able to use that as a tablet to write on my desktop’s screen. This allowed me to create dialogues with my students as I would when marking traditional exercise books. It was so nice to be able to see their thinking and guide them were necessary. I was also able to see how the students were experimenting with the class tools. Printing out the slides from the session in to their notebook and making their notes onto them, typing and inking over their typed notes – creating a mixture of modes for their own note taking, Using stickers and images from the internet (And from the content library) to help them visualise learning. Of course, I was also able to ink my own contributions and, hopefully, guide them to some deeper learning.
Their notes, and contributions in this way, helped me to further refine my lesson planning. I was able to identify themes that appeared as gaps or strengths in knowledge and use these to identify extra tasks that could be used. In one group, in particular, it became clear that there was some concern about needing to know about particular technologies and needing to know them well. In truth, this assignment does not assess the depth of knowledge a student has over tech. In fact, being able to talk about tech in such detail may even be detrimental to their grade. They may be seen to be “technocentric” and could potentially distract themselves from writing about technology in an inclusive way (with content and pedagogy included). They merely need to know enough about a tool to show that it has some pedagogical benefit. (Perhaps my own experiments with using OneNote may have modelled that a little for them!! )
As a result of this discovery, I created 3 differentiated PowerPoint templates and shared them in the collaboration area of our Class Notebook. Students were then invited to use these templates to find a technology (in small groups) and evaluate it against three questions. The aim was that the differentiated versions of the PowerPoint would have a varying degree in scaffolding. Those who did not need much support would use an almost blank template. Those who needed more, would have guiding questions. The problem with my planning here was timing and a quick learning curve!
My plan was that each group (at this point they were grouped by ability) would download the appropriate template to work from. It then thought that they would be able to upload their version, back to the collaborate space. Of course, that’s not how Office 365 works and, as I discovered, I needed to create a shared folder on my own One Drive in order for them to have a space to upload their files. This caused a bit of commotion for me and meant we lost a little time. However, we did successfully create a set of power points on different tools in at least one of the three workshops. In order for this task to be completed, I needed to make sure that all of the other content (key ideas around the theories and the rubric itself) had been covered. Only one of the workshop groups was able to make it to this stage and gain access to this extension task. Happily, it was the group that had identified this as their main barrier. The fear of not knowing what tech to talk about.
Variance in the content of the workshops, for me, is a clear indicator that I was working (as best I could) to meet the needs and strengths in each of the groups. These power point templates were available for all to use if they so wished and our learning environment contained videos and guides to several tech tools. However, I do think that this is a pretty valuable task and, next year, I will try and make sure that there is an extra workshop before the Assignment deadline to make space for this to happen more consciously WHILST I ensure that my teaching is responsive to individual needs and strengths. Unfortunately, the content doesn’t shrink whilst I try to re-cap and go over things. Of course, we SHOULD have time to do just that.. i just need to make sure that I plan that into the timetable and workshop schedule for next year.