Criterion 6

Enforcing Creativity

Over the past 2 years it has been really awesome to see some beautiful work created on 1:1 devices at Orewa College. However, it has also been death by Keynote and Pages! So I have banned their use in the latest unit of work!

My year 10s are studying the short stories of Ray Bradbury, we have studied A Sound of Thunder together as a class and now the class can either choose The Veldt or another story from The Illustrated Man to study. The instructions are as follows:

An interesting thing happened after the class watched this presentation, some students asked where the written instructions were and, when I told them there weren’t any, they proceeded to watch the video on their devices, pause it and write the instructions down either on paper (!!!) or in Pages. Some students watched and screen-shotted instead which didn’t waste as much time.

When I told them that they were not allowed to use Pages or Keynote there was an audible gasp. I had shocked them and I thought, good job, there is no room for complacency in my class!

We have been working on this task for a few lessons now and I am starting to see some really cool work emerging. One student is creating the setting of the story in Minecraft (yes, I do believe him!) and will screenshot, import into Pic Collage and then notate each picture with relevant quotes and descriptions. Another student is using Powtoon to present his analysis of the characters in his chosen story. A couple of students have replaced Keynote with Prezi and one has added music which is something different. One of my weaker students is creating a Lego stop motion movie of the plot. So I am feeling pretty encouraged by what is happening and I am pleased that I have forced them to be more creative. When finished, their work will be published on their blogs.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing though. The task was too loose for my weaker kids so I have given them activity cards to work on which have more specific instructions. As I created these before we went BYOD I have had to help them choose apps that they can use.

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I have also had to write questions for each aspect for students to use to gather and process the information they need as many of them were asking me exactly what was supposed to be in their  presentation.

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I also created an exemplar for characterisation:

http://ocmisswells.wordpress.com/category/yr-10-short-text/

So my students should now be fully scaffolded, I’m thinking!

The conclusions that I have drawn from this experience so far are that it is a great idea to be brave and expect more creativity from our students, they have not disappointed me. However, it must be supported with scaffolding, differentiation and knowledge of the apps that I expect them to create with. 

When they have finished I’ll post some links to their blogs so be prepared to be blown away!

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