Did you know that half of all Youtube viewers use it to learn how to do things they’ve never done? I recently read an article on this topic and after learning this knowledge, it became the unit plan inspiration for my Course 5 final project. Our kids are growing up in a Youtube society, so what better way to prepare them for it than to teach them how to learn from it and how to teach others using it as well. I do teach first graders, so we won’t necessarily be creating videos to post on Youtube, but we will be using other age appropriate apps to accomplish the same goal.
Starting in March, my class will begin our Sharing the Planet unit of inquiry. Our central idea for this unit is ‘plants are complex living things.’ This unit centers around learning about the features of plants, how they grow, how they function, how they are similar and different, and how they adapt depending on the environment they are in. This unit is an integrated unit with both writing and reading where students are reading non-fiction books to research about plants and other topics, and writing information/teaching books about plants or other topics as well. The way that the learning all takes place is through the scientific process. Throughout this unit students spend lots of time researching about plants and also performing different experiments to help us learn more about plants as well.
In regards to my inspiration about Youtube learning, my idea is that for the final project my students will create a tutorial video for how-to perform a plant experiment. Upon completion of the tutorial video, I will have my students post it on our age appropriate ‘Youtube like’ app, Seesaw, and then add it to the connected blog for others to view and comment. My hope would be that other classes that are connected to us will watch our tutorials and follow the steps to perform the plant experiments my class comes up with.
Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?
One of the first reasons I chose this unit to do for my project was previously mentioned above. The article about learning from Youtube really made me think our students need to be able to communicate in this way. Another reason this unit would be a good possibility is because of timing. This unit will begin in March and end at the beginning of May. This time frame lines up pretty well with the timing of Course 5. The last reason I think this is a good possibility is because I saw that this particular unit in my grade level was one that was clearly lacking technology integration. Before I changed it to what it is now, the only tech use was for research alone. I think that I have now changed the unit to allow for more meaningful and purposeful tech integration.
What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?
One of my biggest concerns I have about implementing this unit is time. I am having my students complete 2 tech based projects by the end of the unit and because of this it may not be able to completed in the 7 weeks of time we have allotted for it. My other concern is about the global collaboration that can take place. My plan is that my students will post their green screen and video tutorial projects for others to view via Seesaw connected blogs. My fear however is that I will not be able to find other classes who would be willing to watch, comment, or even try out our plant experiments my students create.
What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?
To be honest this will not require any shifts in my teaching pedagogy because I have already been taking small steps throughout my time in Coetail to become better at integrating technology. It will however push me a little further to reach out to my PLN to find other classes to collaborate with effectively.
What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?
This unit will require a lot of new skills from my students. Firstly they will need to learn how to curate information in Padlet. So far, we have only used Padlet to view resources I have curated for them, but this will require them to find resources and add to it for themselves. Students will also need to learn how to use Popplet. We will be using Popplet to track all of the plants we find out about on the field trip to the Botanical Gardens as well as for the plant experiment tracking of plant growth observations. The next new skill my students will need to be able to do is add video and text to Shadowpuppet Edu to create their video tutorials. The good thing about this is that for the unit I am currently on, I will teach them how to add images with text and voice, so adding videos with text and voice should not be a very big step. The last and biggest set of skills that this unit will require from my students is following and implementing the scientific process. I will be very intentional to teach the more difficult skills of researching, recording data, and drawing conclusions based on their observations.
Overall this unit will require me to push myself and my students to do things we have never done. I look forward to implementing it in March and I am curious to see how well my plans come to fruition. I expect there to be big challenges along the way that require me to make changes as it progresses, but my hope is to keep the learning at the heart of it no matter what detours we have to make.