COETAIL, Course 4, Course 5, Kuwait

Looking ahead to course 5 – MYP Design & Art

The specialist classes in the middle school (French, band, art, drama) previously met 3 days during an 8 day cycle. This year they now have .5 credit (3 out of 8) and 1 credit classes (6 out of 8). In an attempt to give middle school students more flexibility in their schedule, our MS principal decided to pilot incorporating the MYP Design Cycle into the full credit specialist classes. This makes it so that not all students have to take a formal Design Tech class. Two units in each of the specialist classes during the 2013-14 school will be assessed on both subject and design criteria. It was agreed last year that the technology integration coaches (there are 3 of us PK-12) would be the ones to assess the design cycle criteria.

I have been assigned to work with the French and art classes. During a meeting with the MS principal (Dave Botbyl) and the art teacher, Dave suggested that I use a unit in art next semester for my COETAIL final project. Genius! 🙂

We are using the the ‘old’ design cycle and not the new one from the next generation materials.

I have shared the course 5 final project details with Lindsay (our MS art teacher). Next semester her classes will be doing a unit on photography. It is a brand new unit that she will be building from the ground up. She has agreed to let me write the unit with her – yay!

After learning more about problem-based learning, I’m excited to incorporate the design cycle into art. I think there is a lot of potential! But it is also a lot of pressure…a brand new unit with a brand new concept. Solving problems with design and art just makes sense. Lindsay is currently doing a unit on logo design with her 8th grade visual arts class. It looks like a great unit and I’ll be eager to see the results.

I’ve started brainstorming for the photography unit but Lindsay and I haven’t sat down together to plan yet so it’s all pretty rough. A recent presentation to Language B teachers about visual interpretation had me mulling over how these tools might be applicable to the photography unit. When I think about SAMR and redefinition, the ability to collaborate, share and learn from others around the world is where my mind goes. Below is a working list of ideas. I’ve shared the document and made it open for comments – I’d love any input from YOU!

COETAIL, course 1

Collaboration = Ultimate Success

During my 3 years teaching HS French I slowly incorporated more and more technology into my units (with the help of awesome colleagues). As I look back on how and why I integrated technology, I keep coming back to collaboration. The days that stick out in my mind (and also seemed to have the biggest effect on my students) were the lessons where they were able to collaborate – with their peers in class or with other students outside of our school walls.

Technology allows us to collaborate in a way that was not possible before. Technology is truly redefining the way we work with others…and that’s what it’s all about, right? No matter what you teach, where you are or how old your students are you can help them make connections to people around the world. Their ‘peers’ are no longer just the students sitting next to them in class each day. The teacher no longer has to be the only ‘sage on the stage.’ There are classrooms and experts out there waiting to connect and collaborate.

One (and maybe only?) thing drawing me back to the classroom is the chance to help my students make connections and learn about the world around them. So in my current position, helping teachers find ways to collaborate and connect with other classes around the world is probably my favorite topic of discussion and biggest passion. I wish more teachers would step outside their comfort zone and put “flattening” their classroom at the top of their priority list…the learning objectives and standards will come.

As we put more technology into the hands of students and teachers we need to CHANGE what our classroom looks like (thanks Jeff L!). It’s not going to be easy. But luckily it can be free. While I think projects like Flat Classroom are great, you don’t have to pay lots of money to get out there and find ways for you and your students to collaborate and connect. Wikis are free. Blogs are free (if you find the right ones). Google Apps for Education is free (if you’re non-profit). Twitter is free. Skype is free. Do you get the point? Start talking to other teachers and make exploring outside the 4 walls of your classroom a priority.

I recently ‘hungout’ with a few principals in my former district to discuss  virtual field trips and thought the topic fit quite nicely with this post 🙂