I felt that David Jonassen’s description of Mindtools ” digital tools that support knowledge construction, exploration, learning by doing, learning by conversing, and learning by reflecting” (Jonassen, D. H. 2000),perfectly encapsulates what designers of learning experiences should aspire to. Now more than ever our consumer based society is shoving technology in our faces to view and use. Technology is often overlooked as a tool to create and is seen as a device to consume. The DIY/Maker/OpenSource movement moves in a counter direction to the corporate controlled environment that surrounds us. It is our duty as teachers to help our students not only understand how to create with technology but to educate them on how technology works.
I am currently moving my grade 5 class away from segmented core subjects into a more interdisciplinary station approach. I usually use direct instruction to introduce the general base components of each stations. I cannot be in all places at once so I have been building web pages using wix to help build a structured approach around each station. For example I have a 3D printing station, raspberry Pi station, VR/AR station and robotics station. Each station has its own website that guides the students from basic steps to a self regulated approach where they begin to branch into individual areas of interest. All stations are linked back into google drive and their own personal wix website where they place their assignments and projects. We end in a passion project attached which incorporates all of the stations. I hope I can I can continue to build on my students digital literacy and my understanding of how it can enhance their learning.
Jonassen, D. H. (2000). Computers as mindtools for schools, 2nd Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/ Prentice Hall. Retrieved from Google Scholar: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=Jonassen+mindtools&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&btnG=Search
Building a website for each component of your class seems like a lot of work, but I think in the end its a very good approach, especially if you plan to build out each component over time and incorporate additional resources. It’s also easy to link and show students videos and I think it would definitely help them become more independent learners.
Nathan, I think you learning environment sounds amazing! What I really appreciate is allowing your students to experience a variety of “tools”, engage in hands-on learning (and independent learning – perhaps small groups- with basic guides), and then bringing them back to something familiar (WiX) where they can respond and reflect. Would love to see some pictures of your set up!
We know how much work is involved in doing this (!!!!), but you have thoughtfully created amazing learning experiences for your students.
Like Natalie and Gary have said your commitment to building a website for each station sounds like a lot of work but also it sounds like you are creating an amazing space for learning. I like how you are building independence in your students through the use of Google classroom. I am interested to know what the response has been from your students. I know my students like seeing the day plan on the board and a visual indicator of how their day will progress. If you are moving away from segmented core subjects what does a day look like for you? The idea of having a central project that encompasses all subjects, appeals to me, I just haven’t quite got to the point where I have taken the leap and tried it. I would love to hear more.
I have been doing something similar in my class with OneNote. I went with the centers approach because I have access to a wide range of technology, but in limited quantity. It took both the kids and myself quite a lot of time figuring out and sharing purposeful ways to engage with some of the technologies. I love the idea of using a website to help guide students at specific stations. It definitely feels like the closest I’ve personally come to designing an ideal technologically-enhanced environment.
I begin my year with an overview of all the stations combined with direct instruction on how to use the tools in the stations and how to navigate the website/submit assignments. For example the coding station uses Google CS First which requires some time with me spent teaching the class as a whole how to use the block based scripts. As our year progresses I start to branch the website out to accommodate more projects and ideas. Often the students will want to take projects in a direction completely different than the original intent A typical day have my students rotating through stations at 40 minute intervals. Once the students have completed all required projects they move on to a SILO which is a project that incorporates the other stations. For example building an Eiffel tower in Minecraft with measurements that are close to the google map image. Or building a virtual environment in cospaces with their art in it to use with google cardboard. My position is changing next year to .3 ADST so I will have more time to build these types of lessons.
I like the fact that you brought up the OpenSource movement.
I wonder if there were NO OpenSourse resources — what would teachers do?
A good next step might be to explain what happens at each of the stations you set up. Also, what is “Raspberry Pi station and VR/AR”?