1. Curator of a Day: This was a collaboration between ISP and the Lobkowicz Palace. Students were given an original artifact that had never been catalogued. Their task was to find out as much as they could about the artifact and report back their findings. In this authentic project, students interpret an historical object to come up with their own conclusion.
- To persuade the museum to choose them to be a Junior Curator
- What is the purpose of the artifact?
- What is the historical context of the artifact?
- Where should it be displayed in the Museum?
- How should it be displayed?
- Why does the artifact deserve to be displayed in a museum?
- What does the artifact tell us about the past or this period of history?
- To create a Flash game with questions about the Czech Republic, which incorporates 3D models made in Autodesk Maya, and music remixed in Logic Express.
- How can we gain a better appreciation of our host country, the Czech Republic, through a project that applies various "IT As a Profession" software we are learning in class?
- Famous Czech people
- What makes the Czech Republic an interesting place to live in?
- Finished games will be promoted and made available to the school community through our intranet and on www.
Overview of Project: http://www.johnrayworth.info/jsr/CBL/Czech-Appreciation-CBL-Info.php
3. Classroom of the Future: Students were tasked to design the future classroom (some school aspects as well) of the future. Focusing on classroom, curriculum, use of technology... multiple aspects of what education will look like will be addressed. Students hear from experts (architects, financial, "green-friendly"...) to assist them in their design ideas. Students will make connections between real world conditions and their ideal learning environment.
- How can we make the classroom a better place for learning?
- What will the classroom of the future look like?
- What courses will I take?
- Classes: Age of student or academic potential
- Technology - more or less?
- Teacher: Instructor or facilitator?
- Post secondary requirements?
- Student class sizes?
The Enduring Understanding of the unit focuses on: Enable children to take responsibility for making informed decisions about their lifestyle choices and the way they perceive themselves and others, in the face of pressure from their peers and the media.
(The "Challenge" and "Guiding Questions" above were from Handout)
Our Observations and/or Takeaways...
From Kwai Yin:
Chatted with students who presented (1) Curator for a Day, (2) IT Design, (3) Classroom of the Future to have a deeper understanding from the students' perspective and experience on what they went through and how the lessons were organised.
1. Projects could be carried out at the individual level, as a group and at varied group level.
- Curator for a Day is an individual project where students were each assigned an artefact.
- IT Design was one that bring students with different expertise to come together ('cos subject focus)
- Classroom of the Future started off with the big idea (i.e. "Classroom of the Future"). The areas were then broken down into various challenges such that students form groups to tackle each challenge.
- In the case of the IT Design Project, students said they learnt the software during the project period, too. In this instance, it implied that a 'by-product' of the CBL project could be "students' acquisition of new skills, which could be technology skills".
- Alternatively, students could also be leveraging on the varying strengths of members in the group (for those group projects) to complete parts of the project.
- For the Curator For a Day project, it was obvious that ICT skills required from the students were Keynote and Pages only (which they already knew).
- In Curator For a Day, students visited the Lobkowicz Palace to look at the artifact they were assigned to, and also learnt about background of the artifact from the paintings displayed in the palace. This prior information served as useful guides when students went on an internet search - in a way, it was scaffolded and guided.
- In the Classroom of the Future project, teachers identified and linked up with relevant experts to provide expert inputs to the students. It is highly likely that during the planning stage of the project (i.e. crafting of the task), the broad areas were already identified and arrangement were made in advance so that experts were ready by the time students reached the research stage. This also implied that the teachers would have a critical role to play - to help students to scope, yet cover the essential areas while coming up with the "Challenge". Resources for research could be human experts.
While it seemed that students were capable of working independently, (drawing from their presentation) there were scaffolds and structures provided by the teachers:
- Critical resources for research - these were 'planned' for
- Journal writing - the structure was provided and that provided the 'agenda' of the entire project (activities at each stage)
- End Product - requirement was articulated clearly - not just the form, but also the presence of key components
We did not get the chance to find out why the learners could not quite articulate their involvement earlier stages of the CBL framework. Based on the above, I would infer and probably suggest that we (at SST) could consider as an implementation approach is:
- For a start, getting students to go through all the stages of the CBL framework could be tough as each level requires selected set of skills and time to build the skills.
- It would be easier to start students off at the "Guiding Questions | Guiding Activities | Guiding Resources" stage. Let them become familiar with the the processes/ activities from this stage onwards through a few projects. This would help to instill in them the importance of owning their learning.
- However, do articulate to them the complete framework and at which stage they start to possess the 'ownership'. This would be useful to the students to see their learning progress over time.
- Gradually, involve them in coming up with the essential question and draw up the challenge.
I think Kwai Yin have touched quite a large bit on what have been observed during the dinner session. Just to add on my 2 cents' worth, what I do notice is the students' ability to articulate their ideas and thoughts well, even to a large, more adult audience. Clearly, these are the 'other' skill sets that perhaps we at SST might also want to consider developing more intensely amongst our students. The students were clearly in their 'elements' when it comes to presenting their 'products', and were in fact very enthusiastic about showcasing them.
One thing that I do note while asking the students (there was surprisingly, or not, an absence of their teachers during the dinner presentation) is their focus on the PROCESS rather than the final 'products' per se. One of which that I noted was the fact that the team that was doing the project on the school or classroom of the future (and of their dream) had just downloaded the software tool that they used for their presentation about 2 to 3 weeks before the presentation date. (By the way, the tool they were using is called Maya, the Personal Learning Edition version, which is a high-end software for animation and image rendering). Though the output was a little 'rough around the edges', but I do find it of a decently high level, given their recent acquisition, their age, and the steep learning curve that would entail in learning that kind of software tool. My take-away is that the students must have done quite a fair bit of background and research work beforehand for them to be then be able to articulate their thoughts and ideas clearly and decently on such a tool.
The other take away that I had was in the idea of celebrating the students' success. One example was the 'Curator for A Day' project mentioned by Kwai Yin earlier. I think it is important to provide platforms for the students to showcase their works, and not necessarily those better ones! And the whole idea is to also make this platform VISIBLE! The other brochures from the 'Curator for A Day' project was clearly put up and visible along the school's main corridor, when we visited the school the next day, as shown in the picture below! Talking about visibility! :D