Skip to main content

My first go at Digital Collaboration

My Senior Spanish class is a composite class, not only I teach multiple levels, I also teach different qualifications. I have 16 students in 4 levels. Cambridge AS and A Level and NCEA L2 and L3.
Finding tasks for all of us to work together is a real challenge, so generally i focus on the core knowledge and skills that they need to develop. This tends to be quite repetitive and mostly individual work.
So a few weeks ago I asked my students how they felt about what we were doing. They said that even though they were mastering the skills (they didn't use those terms!) the work was too repetitive and they needed more ¨fun¨ activities.
Reflecting on this and the approach of the ITL research to 21st Century learning, I decided to try to create and collaborative task, where they had to negotiate knowledge in order to create a new product. However, the task had to be ¨real'world¨'like and still appeal to the age group. Thats is when I thought about a Dragons Den scenario.

I created the task in Classroom and left it to them to organise themselves and decide how to work. They had two lessons of 1 h to prepare. The Dragons would be two advanced semi'native speakers. They will listen to the 3 minute presentations, ask questions and decide on the winner.
Half way through the task I asked for their feedback. I explained that one of my main concerns when teaching them is to be able to pack in all that knowledge that they need for the examinations and i needed to know if they feel that they were learning with this task or it was just a ¨cool¨ task. Their answers surprised me. They said that by having to read real articles or watch real YouTube videos they needed to push their language and also they learnt new vocabulary related to the topic. Also, because they had to put together their pitch, they were practising their writing.
Some students argued that most of the interaction was in English rather than Spanish. I noted the comment and reflected on our own task in the MindLab. Most of the transactional negotiation around the task was done in everyday English¨ rather than technical. So I said that at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter in what language you think and negotiate as long as your reference material is accessed in Spanish and the final product is in that language too. I also mentioned that it would be preferable to have those discussions in Spanish )and some students were able to, but it would have constituted a barrier for most of them.


Popular posts from this blog

Open to Learning

Most people would say that educational leadership is about building relationships. However, Professor Viviane Robinson argues that "a lot of instructional leadership get stuck in the inability" to have conversations about the quality of teaching. Therefore, the real challenge is to integrate building relationships and 'doing the work’. Building these working relationships is not a question of building personal relationships and then “banking” on that relationship to have conversations about work. Staff trust their leadership on the basis of their observation of the leader's ability to do their work and treat people, on the leader's competence and their way of tackling people not being so. “The Open-to-learning™ Leadership approach [is based around teaching] how to build trust in teams and with individuals, while tackling the tough issues associated with the work of school and teacher performance and improvement” (UACEL, 2018). This approach is based on the

Heutagogy: A Holistic Framework for Creating Twenty-First-Century Self-determined Learners

By Lisa Marie Blaschke and Steward Hase Summary Heutagogy is a form of self-determined learning and is a holistic learner centred approach to learning and teaching. It is a theory that has been adopted mainly in e-learning environments and has developing capability, self-reflection and metacognition at its core. In the heutagogial model, self-determined students lead themselves through transformational experiences, becoming good communicators and problem-solvers of real-life scenarios. It was developed as an extension of andragogy and taps into the recent advances in neuroscience. A number of ideas, such as reflective practice; double loop learning; self-efficacy; self-determination and capability have supported the advent of heutagogy. Although some earlier experiments in this area (Steiner and Montessori) have been generally ignored, globalization and complexity are changing the way individuals and institutions interact and obtain information. In this complex environment, cura

Towards a definition of Digital Literacy

As technologies continue to develop, school and school systems become repositories of outdated terminology which, arguably, reflect how slow to respond to change and changing environments they are. The term literacy has evolved from a straightforward "capacity to read and write" to mean "competence or knowledge in a specific area", revealing in its evolution school's struggle to let go old principles. As a consequence of the shift in scholarly happening (as life moves away from paper-based into screen-based communication), terms such as literacy and fluency have seen a number of reinventions and redefinitions. It is beyond doubt that our lives are becoming increasingly permeated by technologies. Think, for example, of the Internet of Things, or Smart TVs or our portable mini-computers (which we still call mobile phones even when nobody actually uses them to talk!). This revolution in social practices has made necessary to define a term that can represent