Tuesday 24 January 2012

Week 2: Session 2: The Road to Innovation - Analysis of a project

Today we start working through Session 2 of the actual face to face course which is on a CD that is online. These materials can be accessed here: http://schoolnet.org.za/PILP/innovation_2011/index.ht

As mentioned yesterday, the CD sessions are geared for discussions in a group setting face to face, so we have to tweak them for our online setting!

Webinar this afternoon

Don't forget the webinar this afternoon from 5-6 pm where we have four of last year's winners who got right to the World Finals in Eashington DC presenting their projects to you. You are welcome to join us. I have included step by step instructions on the webinar page. The link is: http://meet78641452.adobeconnect.com/previous_winners_1/. Sign in as a guest with your name.

Recap of the past few days

Basically the idea of the Innovative Teacher competition is for you to think of something you already do at school or plan to do after school and make it different as well as add some technology to it. As you do that you consider 21st century skills, and also take into account what would really interest the learners and get them excited about it. We have looked at:

Step 1 - Your 'first idea'

Step 2 - Brainstorm wildly with your first idea!

Useful resources

There is a list of these on the Resources page (which can also be found by clicking in the navigation bar at the side). These have been downloaded from the CD for ease of use.

Today you will need to download the project analysis template and listen to Sarietjie Musgrave's Sunshine video. The reason this project is featured is because Sarietjie did us proud in 2008 by winning 2nd place in the World finals with this project. She did South Africa proud! Only look at the Completed analysis after you have filled in your own ideas.

Where is your idea right now?

Have your reflection page ready because today is the day that you take two steps. Te first is Step 3: Decide on some activities and even consider some technology you might like to use. Just think back for a minute. You started with an idea. Your idea probably still seems unclear, uncertain, and frightening. After your brainstorm of ways of developing your idea it probably seems even more uncertain. Now you have to think about adding more ideas and activities and even what you could add in the line of technology. Do that for a moment. After you have given that some thought, we need to go on to Step 4: Turn your ideas and activities into a project. How will we do that? Let's take a look at what is meant by project-based learning.

Project-based learning

For this competition we can't just use a lesson. We have to change the lesson/s into a project. What is your view of a project? For many teachers a project is ... setting a group of learners a topic, adding some questions, give a due date, let them research it and set it out creatively at home...and then you mark it. Is it more than that? Consider these four distinct phases of a project. It is important that when you take your idea and turn it into a project these stages are clear in your mind:

*Challenge Phase
*Gathering of information
*Processing that information
*Presenting that information
You'll notice that the analysis form includes some additions to this process - collaboration, taking the project beyond the classroom, making sure it has real world links, applying critical thinking, making it better by using technology, and of course including the innovative element...approaching it differently to the norm.

The best way to proceed right now is to examine case studies and see how others have tackled this problem and how they have included the above-mentioned characteristics into their project.

Today's tasks
Today we start working through Session 2 of the actual face to face course which, as you know is on a CD that is online. These materials can be accessed here:

*What are your thoughts after watching the Sunshine video? Before filling in the project analysis form, consider these further questions.

*In what ways was this project a paradigm shift? (for the teacher and the learners) – how were they challenged?

*What made this a meaningful educational experience for the learners?
*Being creative and innovative involves looking for possibilities. Starting with something unclear, uncertain or frightening, and then taking the risk to think of some possibilities. What were these items iin this project as far as you can see?

Now fill in the project analysis form, and check your answers against one that has already been filled in. You wull find it on the Resources page.

In tomorrow's session, Session 3, we will be looking at many other different examples that have the project structure plus the important additions. You are welcome to continue now and look at those but I would rather like to challenge you in another way as you can see in the 'Today's challenge' section below.

Today's challenge

Take your idea to date and your brainstorm and tentatively fit it into the project analysis form structure. As we go along you will probably change it and add to it. But...why not make a start?