I am incredibly honored (and quite flattered) to be part of an amazing line-up of speakers at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School (MICDS) this summer, thanks to Elizabeth Helfant and Patrick Woessner. Plus, as if it wasn’t exciting enough to be billed on the same event as Will, Karl, Alec, Darren, Dean, Chris, Jeff and Matt, my session is scheduled the day after Kevin’s so we get to meet up for dinner before he flies out!
In reflecting back to the SUNY course I taught with Jeff earlier this year; the faculty meetings Tara, Jeff and I have facilitated this year; my 2 trips to Qatar to consult at QA over the past two years (thanks to Julie); my recent visit to TIS (thanks to Leanne); and the various conferences I’ve attended over the past few years; there are a few things I want to make sure I do in my workshop:
- Ensure that the session is participant-driven and focused on actually producing something that can be used in the classroom in August.
- Provide lots of time for discussion, reflection, and metacognition by asking participants to work in small groups.
- Create groups based on participant need – either ability groups (self-determined) or curricular/grade level groups.
- Focus on the practical, remembering that the how is just as important as the why. Break the session down into stages (the way I would in my classroom) so that participants can work through the entire planning and creation of a global project.
- Model quality curriculum planning and authentic technology integration by using the Understanding by Design method and following the MYP Technology Design Cycle while using a selection of digital tools that teachers might want to apply in their own project.
Here’s how I’m thinking I might organize the day:
9:00 – 9:15: Warm-up, get to know participants and their experience with this type of project. Use pre-assessment survey to determine teams and grouping.
Clearly state the goal that participants will develop and plan a global project to be used in August, based on their curricular needs following the UbD process and using the technology design cycle.
9:15 – 10:30: Share a revised version of the Connecting Classrooms Across Continents presentation which builds understanding of the value of global collaboration, focuses on practical tips on how to develop a global project, and shares examples from a selection of classrooms and grade levels.
The rest of the day is structured hands-on work time following the MYP Technology Design Cycle, with opportunities for participants to work in groups, but come back to the larger whole at the beginning of each stage of the cycle for tips, strategies and introductions to the various tools needed.
10:30 – 11:30: Investigate: Start with a round robin or “final word” activity (in groups) with an article that really highlights the benefits of global collaborations. Then, provide participants with a wiki with links to authentic global collaborations to explore to get some ideas/inspiration. Next, have teams brainstorm (maybe using inspiration or one of the web-based mind mapping tools) a global project that would enhance a current unit in their curriculum.
12:00 – 1:00: Plan: Start with an intro or overview of the UbD process (depending on what participants already know) to help design the project with the end in mind. Begin to build a unit planner using the same wiki, with template provided.
1:00 – 2:00 Create: Create the “home base” for the project – a wiki, Ning, blog, whatever. Demo some tools teachers might want to use to learn some tricks for how to use whichever tool is best for the task. Begin connecting with other teachers that might be interested in participating around the world through sharing on a Ning or Twitter (or anything else that we can think of). Focus on actually creating the online space that students will use in August.
2:00 – 2:30: Evaluate: Share projects with the larger group, reflect on process so far & what needs to go next
2:30 – 3:00: Feedback survey for me, links to all projects on the wiki, any final questions answered.
What do you think? Would you want to attend a session like this? What else would you do to make it a positive experience for the participants?