Thursday, July 31, 2008

Advice and Reflections on Your Final Project

Some advice and reflections on your final project (these are based on the conversation that ensued in class 7/30 and may be expanded to include the conversation to take place 7/31):

A) In a nutshell you are going to create a Project Based Instructional Unit. In planning and explaining it you should account for the following elements or dimensions:

1 - PRESENTATION of the unit – to the students – using the technology we’ve covered in our class
2 - TASK – the heart of this ‘project’ involves students in a task (is it standards-based, relevant to curriculum, appropriate for age, grade, and ability levels
- engaging and likely to sustain interest and activity. Will the task involve student use of technology? etc.)
3 - PROCESS – the way you have the students pursuing their task (is there opportunity for students to help define the task, opportunity for collaboration with peer learners, or to exchange feedback with classmates? Will the process involve any use of technology?
4 - STUDENT PRODUCT (or performance) – the result of the task you have presented to the students and the (learning) process you have structured for them – the product embodies much of the learning that results from the task and process and it is the focus of the assessment part of the unit (is the product required of students assigned in an appropriate form to accommodate learning opportunities and present completed learning? Is there a way for you or the student to publish the product? Is there technology involved in the creation of the product?)
5- ASSESSMENT – How will you assess the students’ learning as a result of all the above? Will you use a rubric? Other tool? Are there dimensions of the learning experience beyond the product that will be assessed? How will you assess these?
6 - IMPLEMENTATION PLAN (lesson plan/unit plan) – How will you present this unit to the students? How will you organize and manage their Time? Effort? Attention? How will you explain to them what they are to do and how they are to do it? Typical elements of a lesson plan include: Motivation, Class organization for project, Materials, resources, etc. Time flow, assessment, etc.

In Assignment #1 You were directed to create a blog (which now should state under the title that the blog is there as an assignment for Course CTGE 59100 - Fordham University and you should identify yourself in the blog 'profile' as a student in the course)

In Assignment #4 you were asked to build the blog out further by using a post to present media (links, video, podcasts, etc.) that function as content and prompt/focus for a student activity - and to explain to the students what to do in using the media and responding to it.

These 2 preparatory segments may stand alone or you may use them as the 'front end' of this Project Based Learning unit. This would be accomplished by adding additional elements to them until you are satisfied you've covered everything necessary to say or present to your students to direct them in doing the project.

B) You are to present all of the above in 2 blog posts –

Blog Post #I) Presentation to Students: Imagine you are going to use this blog post as a/the prime method of presenting and explaining the unit to your students. What would you tell them? What would you show them? Where would you take them (virtually)? How would you use technology to accomplish this?

Reflections based on CTGE 59100 student questions:
1) I stated earlier in the course that the unit is to be a lesson that runs at least 3 sessions – My idea is that this should be a serious undertaking – not a short throw-away activity. However, it was not my intention to have you do 3 times the work. No, you do not have to do a separate blog post for each day… No, you do not have to have a completely new and different lesson for every day of the unit. However, you should indicate somewhere how much would be done each day and which parts of the unit will be returned to and pick up where you left off. Clearly you can do this the traditional way in your unit plan AND you can also state what part of the project is to be done when in the presentation to the students, too.

2) I have noticed a number of students producing wonderful digital media or importing and presenting wonderful digital media in their blog post presentations to students… This is WONDERFUL… BUT, do not overlook the inclusion of text (or other) simple directions to the students. Telling the students what to do first, and then next, and how to do it is as important as dazzling them with digital resources to motivate them or with which you give them an outlet to express their learning and ideas.

Blog Post # II) Lesson/Unit Plan to your supervisor – in this blog post you explain your plan as if you were really going to do this on the job at school and you are providing your supervisor the lesson plan for it.

Either work by doing as much as you can in WORD documents that you save and then paste the material in to your blog (No, the formatting doesn’t carry over), OR, after you have posted, you can go to the blog post, select “highlight all” and then “copy” into a fresh WORD document that you save on your computer.

Professor Gura will play the role of virtual fly on the virtual wall of both blog posts above.

PS – See the post of the DRAFT rubric by which you will be graded on this project –

PPS – Technology hint: You may have important material spread out over several blog posts. How can you consolidate them? Well the long way around would be to copy and paste them all into a new blog post and then delete the old ones (don’t even think about doing this without having backed up of your material!). OR you might simply pop the links to the various posts into a single final post (you can do this by copying the URL of the blog post as it appears in the browser and then paste it into the blog post you want it to appear in).

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