MiddSouth Innovates

Issue #8

All Right Stop, Collaborate and Listen

It's Digital Learning Month in Middletown and the Biology teachers have kicked it off with a collaborative project on Evolution. All of MP3 is focused on Evolution so Mrs. Bach, Ms. Qutub, and Mrs. Boyce wanted a way to break up the lessons with a student-centered activity. Part of the curriculum has the students studying various scientists (Developmental Biologist, Paleontologist, Physical Anthropologist, Evolutionary Biologist) that contribute to developing the overall evolutionary timeline. All of the classes came to the library where the students were broken into their collaborative teams and selected which scientist they were going to study.

The students conducted research, read essays, and participated in a Google Expedition related to their scientist. The Google Expedition was selected to help the students better answer one of the questions on the activity which was in their Google Docs. For example, the Physical Anthropologist had the question "What evidence indicates relatedness between early and modern hominids?" so they went on an Expedition to a museum that showcased skulls from every known hominid tracing back 7 million years.

On the final day, the students regrouped themselves into their respective scientists and explained the role of this scientist on a Flipgrid. All of the videos were downloaded, put into a shared Google folder and uploaded to Google Classroom for everyone in the class to learn from.

The overall experience was fantastic for both the students and teachers. Having all of these educators work collaboratively to develop this activity has inspired them to create activities like this for each marking period.

Are These The 21st Century Skills We've Been Looking For?

One of the many educational groups has put together a list of 21st Century standards for students:

  1. Students take an active role in choosing, achieving, and demonstrating competency in their learning goals.
  2. Students critically curate a variety of resources to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others.
  3. Students use the design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions.
  4. Students develop and employ strategies for understanding and solving problems.
  5. Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, and formats appropriate to their goals.
  6. Students use tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams.

These standards were "designed to empower student voice and ensure that learning is a student-driven process." As educators, we are continuously striving to have our students think critically, solve problems, communicate clearly, and broaden their perspective. Every day we are having our students work toward these standards.

Now what if I told you all of these standards are based on the integration of technology?The above are from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Standards for Students with the technology piece omitted. Technology is simply a tool; a tool that only works when we focus on learning first.

The More You Know

Are you feeling inspired by the Biology teachers? Want to develop a collaborative activity of your own? Need ideas of how technology can help enhance the awesome activities you are already doing? Just looking for someone to bounce ideas off of?

Schedule an appointment with Marc Seigel now!!