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As Unit 4 comes to a close I have been thinking about how to use my new ideas. While I am not 100% sure what I would do at this point in time, I did come up with some ideas.
As my subject that I currently teach is 6th grade Ancient Civilizations, trying to use new technology serves my best purpose when I can bring together the past with the present and future. A good unit for this would be our just completed ancient civilization unit, Mesopotamia.
The focus for this unit was the great and lasting inventions from this civilization. To add flavor to this unit I would strive to bridge past inventions with current and future inventions. This could be accomplished with research, PLN, use of presentation software, blog posts and any number of creative online devices and applications. Of course I would want to create a classroom environment of deeper inquiry into the future of technology and the changes that are predicted to occur. Thinking about the future and technology are generally safe bets to inspire student interest. Giving them license to actively find and use a PLN would create an opportunity to start creating meaningful social network connections outside Facebook and other mostly platonic sites.
The next question is how do they evaluate, contribute and ultimately engage in a meaningful PLN experience. This would need to be modeled by me in an authentic manner. (For the record, I would probably focus on advances in Sports Medicine and its impact on athletes and non-athletes in the years to come, a fascinating subject that I am constantly researching and reading into).
At some point I would have the students present their findings, observations and predictions for the future. As a 2nd language school, this step is especially important to developing their academic language, confidence and abilities. How they present would probably be a traditional manner, such as a powerpoint (focus on Zen presentation of course) and oral presentations.
I would also encourage the students to think of how they are beginning to brand themselves on the internet, which sites they are active, blogs they post, PLN they frequent and contribute to.
While I can’t say I am moving the needle forward that much, I can say that as 6th graders the knowledge and applications of PLN at this point is limited, hence, my decision to emphasis this. Since this would be my first time with this unit, many tweeks and additions would be factored in as we moved along. Hopefully, by the 2nd or 3rd through this this unit I would have a fairly good grasp of all nuances that would maximize student engagement and motivation.
Thats about it for now. Hope you have a great restructured unit yourself.