This project has been a great chance to put into practice some of the methods that I have been exposed to during this course. As a learner who enjoys collaborating with others, this project was a joint effort between Martin Hermann and myself.
Our goal was to make a project that would allow our kids to have some important experiences. Their task would be to take a key reading that covered several important science standards, and then in small groups or pairs take sections of this reading and prepare a short movie clip. The clips would then be combined, to make a movie to be shown to the whole class (and ultimately the world!).
Martin and I wanted our students to have certain experiences during this project. We wanted them to be able to work together in a small groups, sharing ideas and using the vocabulary that many ESL learners struggle with.
We then wanted students to take on the technology piece by using an online video editor where segments could be uploaded and then stitched together into a whole class movie.
The final part would be the posting of their completed, collaborative end product into the world by using a platform such as YouTube. With this they could encounter the feeling of seeing their work "out there" and to be able to receive feedback from a much wider community, thereby reinforcing the idea of connectivity.
While Martin and I planned the project, our own experiences were mirroring the kinds of experiences we were hoping our students would have. Martin and I worked collaboratively, bouncing ideas around and sorting through all the steps we would need to achieve our goal. We had to come to grips with new terms and language.
Earlier, after posting our own project sketches, we had received timely feedback from an expert in Technology Projects. Having this feedback really brought home to me that once I had posted my work, it was definitely "out there" for all to see. Receiving feedback from someone completely unknown personally to me, was certainly a new experience.
Martin and I also embraced a new technology piece during planning. We needed to rewrite the text document (to make it more accessible to our ESL kids) and started to do so with one computer and two people. Realizing we could be more efficient, we split the text document, added another laptop and then used google docs to work at the same time. We could both see what the other was doing in real time, on the screen in front of us. Now we can also separately revisit the text for editing without he hassle of emailing updates and revised versions.
I hope that our students will get the same kind of enjoyment in doing this task, that i got while collaboratively designing it. Given the parallels between what we experienced while developing the project, and what we hope our kids will ultimately get out of its completion, it will be fascinating to observe their progress. Progress not just in terms of a deeper understanding of science, but also in the realization of the importance and power of technology and collaboration.