12 September 2012

Create. Innovate. Future Learning Spaces.

For Project Octopus's Garden, I have created a thinking space using Mural.ly, a cool Beta site that I discovered over the weekend at the Google Apps Summit.

Some ideas I am collecting
I like it as it is easy to drop in links, photos and add text to create a collection of ideas from a variety of sources. On my Mural.ly have added articles from sites, photos that have been shared with me, thoughts, images from my Pinterest board that I have also started for this project. What is also great is that it can be shared with other people so it becomes a collaborative drawing board - perfect for this project.

I ran this morning and did some more thinking about how to develop this project. I aim to pitch it at my grade 7 and grade 8 classes. They will be responsible for polling the Nexus Community about their ideas to make it relevant and a shared experience. I also want to build in some research skills to prepare them for the IB later in their educational career - as I want their ideas to have some grounding in some published thinking on the topic of future learning spaces. I am going to suggest they share their thinking on a Mural.ly board as it seems like a workable tool for a collaborative multi-media collection. I would like a public display space somewhere in the school that can be interactive for people to leave comments and suggestions - with some QR codes to link to their Mural.ly boards perhaps. I think we should try to build a website together too - we can have discussion forums, forms for market research, links to thinking boards and articles etc.

I also want to pilot a Flat Classroom type environment with them, as they will need to work together as one rather than two separate classes. I would like to team them up across the two classes to make it more like a real Flat Classroom to help them work on some 21st Century skills in collaborating on one project from different locations. This will bring together my current PL courses in both PBL and FC, which is awesome.

I am really excited about this, as the more I think about it, the more I can bring my current learning and pedagogical explorations together into one place. What makes it even more exciting is that it is authentic - it is not a 'if' project - the learners ideas stand a real chance of becoming reality. How fantastic that they learn all these amazing skills and then get to actually appreciate the fruits of their learning.

 The second day of The Octopus's Garden has been ok - the learners were hesitant at first but managed to use Google Apps to do all they needed for their current Snapshots work. They need to mindshift from thinking they 'need' Word etc and explore the capabilities of Google to understand that they can pretty much use it to do whatever they want.

What I like is that they are selecting the tools they need to do the job. My reading for the current module of the PBL unit is about using and assessing Critical Thinking Skills, and what has interested me most about this is the need to develop the skill in just that. Technology is great but quite frankly, I get overwhelmed by what is out there. I sometimes feel like I want to try something just for the sake of it, rather than it being a useful tool for the job. I was lucky that Mural.ly was a new thing I wanted to try, but happened to be the right tool for the job. I want my learners to be exposed to a variety of the amazing tools that are out there, but more importantly, I want them to be able to evaluate and assess what it is they need for their task in hand and choose accordingly. My Grade 7s used a mixture of Google Apps, Snapseed photos and images from the Internet, but then put their final product together with 3-D stuck on embellishments, added detail with crayon and hand drew some elements.  I cannot wait to see what they do for the 'future learning spaces' project!