So, our next UOI is about technology, its impact on the world of work and leisure. At first I had planned to have each student research and prepare a narrative story about the importance of a technological innovation that they thought was the most important in history. They, we would edit all of them together with pictures into a kind of History Channel Presents type video. That was MY plan. I know the kids in my class, they would have loved it. It would have been a great chance to integrate some tech skills like sound editing and movie editing. We would have had to use to learn CC images and cite our references. The narrative part of the story would have been good work on taking factual events and intertwining them into a narrative. It would have been a great introduction to Historical Fiction.
We are reading Wonder at the moment (awesome book) and in the book the kids talk about this ancient Egyptian museum night at their school. Each kid created a museum display, and then the parents came with flashlights and whizzed around the gym looking at all the artifacts, with the kids playing as experts. They were all dressed up in costumes.
One of the kids in my class said, "Oh, we should do that for our technology unit!"
"Yeah, we could turn out the lights and have them take a trip back in technology past."
"Or we could dress up as inventors and talk about our new inventions."
"We could make models of important pieces of technology."
"We could perform a drama about the invention of a technology."
They were spitting out ideas faster than I could write them down.
Normally, I am a proponent of summative assessments that are simple. Zen-like. I find these big summative assessments that take ages to organize are stressful, and they distract from the actual learning, and focus on the product. I like things like this:
- How has your thinking changed? List all the reasons and expand on them
- Define the term at the beginning of the unit and then redefine at the end
- I used to think but now I think...
- Guess the Central Idea
This is their idea. It came from them. They are excited about it and they have taken control of their learning. So, I have to go with it.
However, this is NOT the summative assessment. The summative assessment will be revisiting their definition of Technology, reflecting on how their thinking has changed.
I'm not going to manage this project. They are. I am going to focus on learning. They are going to organize the entire event. I will merely attend.
I told them this and gave them time and space to start planning the evening. I sat in the back and let them generate a whiteboard full of ideas. Some were focused on the big picture, others were smallish details, others were more about aesthetic and mood. I can take these ideas, and generate an overview that is focused on learning, not on the product.