The One About Collaboration and Connection

The final piece of my journey into transformative use was a re-imagining of the final project.   The previous summative assessment for this unit was a pretend article for the school newspaper outlining an environmental project that they created to improve the community. It was pretty standard, and if I had done it this year, it would have been done at the substitution level of Puentedura’s SAMR model. Instead of writing on paper, students would have used their iPads.

After working on the project and studying Puentedura’s work, I believe I have come up with a version of the project that is truly transformative. To recap, Puentedura states that tech use “allows for significant task redesign and a significant increase in student achievement” and “helps to accomplish new goals” at the modification level. At the redefinition level, “technology use allows us to create new tasks that were previously inconceivable.”  Finally, he talks about “dramatic improvement in student outcomes” as an indicator of redefinition. Keeping this in mind, along with Aditi Rao’s “Difference Between ‘Using Technology’ and ‘Technology Integration’” post, I offer my revised final assessment.

Environmental Symposium
Summative: Written Assessment
GRASPS Collaborative Writing Assessment
GOAL-You will present a paper outlining a program to promote the improvement of our local environment.
ROLE-You are an MS student participating in a TED-X type conference at AES.
AUDIENCE-Other Middle School students, teachers and parents.
SITUATION-You are participating in an environmental conference. In preparation for the conference, you have co-written a paper with another student using Google Docs, solicited the opinion of an expert in your field via an email request and integrated that opinion into your paper.
PRODUCT-A written speech for the conference.
STANDARDS AND CRITERIA FOR SUCCESS-A successful product will incorporate appropriate environmental vocabulary and demonstrate understanding of the different usage of the subjunctive mood. It will also correspond to the AES World Language Standards for this project.

 The AES WL Writing Rubric will be used to score this project.

This assessment will be presented to students on the first day of the unit, so they can think about it as they move through the unit and transfer points of learning on the formative assessments, as they look forward to the project. It takes place over several class periods. The first step will be an introduction of the conference. I will invite them all to participate, explain the purpose of  the conference (to share scholarly papers that will be shared with the rest of the world that focus on small, achievable projects to improve local environments). Together, they will collaborate on a class Google Doc to brainstorm a list of possible projects. They will then partner up and choose a project to research. The partners will collaborate on a single Google Doc, shared with me. We’ll talk about how to add notes so they don’t have to be in the same physical space to work together. We’ll also have to talk about how to be effective and respectful collaborators. Students will conduct internet research on their project, and I’ll introduce the expert advice requirement. Students will have to email at least one expert related to their project and copy me on the email. They will explain that this is part of a class project and they are preparing a paper on their project. Ideally, this would be done in Spanish, with a Spanish-speaking expert, but I think a translation of an English-speaking expert will be good enough for the first attempt at this type of transformative use of technology. The advice received from the expert will be incorporated into the paper. Finally, the students revise, edit and prepare the paper for presentation. We’ll set up a mini Ted-X type conference in the room and students will present their projects. I’m already thinking of how they could incorporate presentations into this project, but again, I’ll slow down and see how it goes this year before it gets too big. We’ll record the presentations and upload them to YouTube. I’ll build a simple Google Site to showcase them and students can share the conference with their friends across the world. Perhaps in the future I could solicit the participation of other Spanish classes from other schools in the conference. We could do them as a Google Hangout! That would really be pushing the transformative use. What say you PLN? Are you out there?

This project meets the requirements of transformative use as defined by Puentedura. It’s allowing for completely new things to happen. Students will be collaborating with each other, with me and with real-world experts. The revision, editing and conversations that will take place in class will be cemented in on-line activities. The goal of the collaboration is to increase the overall quality of the learning, so I hope to see dramatic improvement in student learning. It meets the requirements in the integration side of Ms. Rao’s chart. Technology use in my classroom is still planned and purposeful, supports the learning goals and is routine. This project clearly supports the learning goals of the program. It’s connected to NETS standards as well as our AES World Language Standards.  I wanted to focus on engagement, and I believe that this project is engaging. It rests squarely in the center of the TPACK organizer. The technology is essential to the project, it’s founded in secure teaching pedagogy and is supported by the vocabulary and grammar content of the unit. I intended to make the project focus on collaboration to help students use technology to come together. This combines with the following key of “facilitation of otherwise impossible tasks.”


Public Domain by Nesbit

The remaining categories talk about the use of higher-level skills. This project asks students to analyze and synthesize ideas into new ideas. It asks students to compare ideas and recommend a course of action to their peers. These are all high order skills that are important in today’s world.

Here’s to looking forward and hoping this unit is a good opportunity for my students to learn!

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