“Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.”Elie Wiesel
Now that my course prototype has been completed, and I am finished all the units, I am excited to go back to where I started and see how everything came to fruition. I definitely had some parts that I improved on, some parts that I kept, some parts that changed and evolved quite a bit, and some parts that I got rid of altogether. All in all, I think that the journey to where it is at right now has truly made me a more open blended educator (I even used Jamboard, so I must be more open…)
If you want to watch the video, do it below, or find it on YouTube by clicking here. If you don’t want to watch it, I won’t be offended.
But before I get into the main things that changed from my initial course profile, here is a breakdown of my course:
An introductory unit (lovingly titled “Social Justice FTW”)
I wanted this unit to focus on collaboration in a blended environment in an effort to get students thinking about social justice issues. I came up with two ways to do so (hopefully at least one works well).
It is here that you will find Jamboard. When thinking about how I wanted students to interact with each other in a collaborative brainstorming activity, Jamboard popped into my head immediately. Was that the Mr. Miyagi purpose of doing the tool reviews earlier in the semester? Either way, I actually really enjoy the way that this task turned out with the unlearn posters.
I also decided (maybe against my better judgement) to use forums. In an effort to try and make the forums more meaningful, I decided to give them eight questions and they get to choose which ones they want to answer. In this way, even though I am forcing them to answer and respond, I am hoping that the choice allows for a little deeper connection to the topics.
A multimedia persuasive presentation
By allowing choice in presentation style I am hoping that students will explore as many different ways to present as possible. They can do a slideshow, make an infographic, make a video, make a poster or pamphlet, record a song, do a combination. Really, whatever they want to do, I feel like we can make it work. By creating a rubric that also allows them to choose which indicators they want to be marked on, I feel like it also gives the opportunity to work at the project without the fear of how they will be marked. Lastly, I actively ask students to meet with me to discuss the rubric so that I can also support them with anything they will need (for example, if a student needs to use speech to text support, or something similar).
This is also the section where I went ham with hyperlinking webpages. I absolutely love that feature, and I definitely used it to try and make it easier on students who need support with the project.
An expository letter
The last task is all done individually (almost), and it is designed to encourage activism. They will be writing a letter to someone that they feel would be able to enact some sort of change. While each student will be writing their own letter, I also created a similar task to what we did in EC&I 834 when we peer-reviewed each other’s courses. In this aspect, it creates another level of collaboration. Students share their letters over Office 365, and they complete a checklist for each other.
The last part of the unit, after the letter has been submitted (possibly even sent), is to complete a reflection journal. This will lead to a class discussion that will take place in class, but can also be accessed through Microsoft Teams. My goal here was to create a flexible classroom for students that might not be able to make it into class.
And that’s the course…
Back to the original course profile, there are definitely some changes/omissions. Here are a few of my personal favourites:
No more “non-traditional artifact” – This is a glaring omission from my final course, but not necessarily something that I was sad to see go. As I was creating the multimedia presentation task, I realized that the task itself could possibly be a non-traditional artifact. In other words, I didn’t want to have students repeat assignments.
Students with accommodations – This was one of the biggest things that evolved for me along the way, and one of those things that I think shows my growth throughout the semester. As I was designing the tasks, I started recognizing that the idea of a rubric where students choose how they will be marked allows me to actually work with them and support them how they need to be supported. In other words, it gives me the opportunity to individualize the support that I give. Even with the peer review portion of the letter, I feel like having a checklist (as opposed to just feedback space) also allows all students to partake in this at the same level.
Traditional mixed with the blended – I feel like I balanced this super well… I am someone who has always valued in-class teaching a little more, and I think that my unit still shows that. However, I definitely expanded myself a little more and made an actual effort to create collaborative blended opportunities. If I am most proud of anything with this unit, that is the one.
Sorry for the longer post…