I teach Middle School (Years 7-10) ICT and Senior School (Years 11-13) Computer Science at a New Zealand secondary school. On the back of some PD I’ve been doing with colleagues regarding eBooks, I’ve been reflecting on what I can do in my subject area if all students had an iPad in class.
I sat down yesterday and starting looking at my Year 9 Website Design unit. My initial reflections considered what seems to be working well and what still causes issues (I’ve been teaching the unit in some form or another for several years). Currently, the basic task centres around students developing a 4 page website on a topic that they have studied during the year (any subject). Software used is Dreamweaver CS5.5 and Fireworks / Photoshop CS5.5
Oh yes, and all this in one 40min lesson a week!
What currently works well
- A lot of students respond well to my Dreamweaver handout (see image), which provides a step-by-step guide, including lots of images, regarding how to use Dreamweaver.
- Video tutorials aligned with the handout are available for students in Blackboard as well.
What currently doesn’t work well
- A lot of students still don’t get the importance of a website’s root folder, no matter how many times (and in different ways) I’ve tried to get this through to them. Spatial awareness or just plain poor file management??
- A surprising ignorance regarding file types and file management by students.
- Still a fair amount of misunderstanding by students regarding what actually goes into the creation of a website.
- Still too much copying and pasting from Wikipedia etc, especially from less able students.
With these thoughts in mind, I placed the unit alongside the SAMR model of technology integration and came up with several conclusions:
- Creating an eBook in iBooks Author will allow students to have both text/images AND videos in one place – an improvement (for some students) on my current setup.
- I can get students working on an iPad up to the modification level. At the redefinition level, the iPad is replaced with other technology (see below).
- This may take me longer than I thought…
So, here’s what I’m thinking – updating my current website design unit by placing it within the context of the SAMR model.
I still want the focus on students creating web pages from scratch rather than using a content management system. I want them to gain an understanding of what goes into creating websites, both from a technical standpoint and in terms of content (we also go over how to write content for the web – use of shorter sentences / paragraphs, sub-headings, lists etc to chunk content). I want to encourage creation over consumption and extend all students in the process.
If I take my current unit / resources I can try and create a more effective learning experience for students by:
- Packaging how-to guides AND video tutorials in one place (i.e. an eBook) instead of having them as separate entities as they are now
- Using the iPad as a consumption device – eBook
- Using the iPad also as a creation device – wireframe app
- Providing a real-world context for students in more than just content (i.e. they currently base the website on a topic they’ve studied in another class) by getting them to upload live sites. This will hopefully get more students understanding that images exist independently from web pages and the online host will likely have limits to file size – another important consideration I’d like students to recognise.
So there it is. My plan to improve an existing unit by incorporating two elements on the iPad (augmentation and modification – eBook notes and wireframe exercise) and use desktops in the computer lab to also tap into the redefinition level of the SAMR model.
I’ll let you know how it goes later on!