Monday, September 6, 2010

Student Involvement In Planning- Next Steps

This post is selfish. It's meant to share my next steps but also to help wrap my brain around the 'big picture' of what my multimedia class is going to do for our Multimedia Foundations course.

So far it's been awesome, but messy. I've had to regroup this weekend and take a step back to approach things differently.

I've combined 2 modules into this Multimedia Foundations course. Students are on board that they need to know some basic things and demonstrate basic skills before they move on. The premise of my class is that after a student takes an introductory course they are free to put their efforts into specializing in areas that are of interest to them.

From this there are a few BIG IDEAS/UNDERSTANDINGS that need to exist for students to be successful. These are nothing new, but have been a part of my planning.

Understanding 1: Students need to be aware of the curriculum, and be able to communicate how what they are doing at any given moment is contributing to their learning.

Understanding 2: Involving students in the planning process and having students customize their own learning is a way to engage them in the learning process.

Understanding 3: Providing real world context/connections for students is very important. It answers every high school student's question, "So why do we have to learn about this?"

Wow. I've summed up what I'm trying to do into 3 statements. Hmmm. Let's not forget this is talk. Talk is cheap. Have you taken a look at the last outcome of most modules in the CTS curriculum that is new this year? It's at the bottom for a reason, because it's not seen as important to those who designed it. It reads:

"Make personal connections to the cluster content and processes to inform possible pathway choices"

Compare that with my Understanding #3. Interesting.

So as Will Richardson said, "Yeah, so, what you going to do about it?"

The plan has now changed, and still involves students heavily in the planning of this unit. Combining COM 1005 and COM 1015 has allowed me to create context for the students from outome #2 of the latter module:

"Students will explore the impact of media has on society..."

This statement has become our 'theme' for our foundations course. It is a great platform from which to scaffold up to the deeper outcomes that we are working towards. I asked students to share all the ways that they are involved in the media. The list was huge.

I then asked them to identify how we can get a message out. Again the list was huge. To tie in the 'real world' I asked them if they were going to get the word out about a new sport or club in the school how would they do it. Most answered posters, web pages, radio, video commericals, the TV screens in the school, etc. The focus of the unit was right in front of me. Our Multimedia Foundations course is going to be about the world of media, and more specifically- advertising.

Let's put plan C into effect. Or is it D. Here is it. I'm sure it will change again.

1. Students will learn about the elements and principles of design and typography. In context we watched the 'riveting' film Helvetica about typesetters and font creators. Kids who didn't fall asleep say how passionate people are about their craft. Students will also use 'Google' to start their own learning about the principles of design.

2. In context, students this week will use the principles of design and typography to create posters promoting the multimedia class. Essentials understandings from this will be how layout and font selection can convey different messages.

3. Students will learn about designing an advertising campaign from experts in the field. Our first contact is James Schutz from Transcend Coffee in Edmonton. He is their marketing director, and has previously owned an advertising agency before joining the Transcend team. Darn good coffee as well! They will even mail it to you! I'm still looking for others to connect to as well, so if you know anyone, email me! coolpoolteacher(at)

3. Students will seek out 'clients' in the school to design advertising for. This could be any number of clubs, sports groups, one student even said that he'd like to design a PR campaign for our new principal! I hope my principal takes him up on that offer to see what the students can do!

4. Students will design their advertising campaigns starting with print. The COM 1015- Media module specifies that students will develop fundamental skills to relay a message is a variety of forms including photography, print, web or audio and video. The extension of this will be to create radio and video commercials for an audience. The culminating activity will be to put it all together and create PSA style videos for our local MD of Bonnyville Peace Officers to use in their resource officer work in elementary schools.

5. Along the way the students and I will develop the class 'standards' for presenting their products. From 'the verbs' will come the presentations criteria. Students will be "preparing and delivering" and 'discussing and critiquing'.

How will students know what they know? How will students communicate their learning? Good questions. Another post perhaps? I'm looking for advice in combining checklists, student self awareness of their competencies, blogging, and developing rubrics for my assessment.

What pieces am I missing? Where would you go with an opportunity like this in front of you?

1 comment:

  1. cool. love it.

    we are going by two standards of assessment.. does it matter - and is it awesome. both beg to whom. community as curriculum. (d cormier)
    so that's how they know... their clients, their expert tutors, their audience, their customer... they are the authentic evaluators - validators...