The last month or so I have been embarking on a journey of transition, I have visited six of our seven primary partner schools (One more to do this week!). I had the privilege to work with Year 5 and 6 students for a couple of hours on a transition lesson titled what makes an effective 21st century learner?
The idea around it was to engage these students in a learning to learn approach that really gave students a taste of what was to come if they were to attend Saltash.net in the next year or two. I really wanted to engage students and really give them the responsibility to lead their own learning and the opportunity to use some of the latest technology such as some brand new netbooks. The main objectives were to understand what you need to be an effective 21st century learner? Describe what good communication looks like? And finally Identify aspects of what good communication sounds like? They would achieve this by producing a short video using the netbooks and webcams in an ‘apprentice style’ task.
The big question was that they were to answer what makes an effective 21st century learner? I started this off by showing them a video created by our students in a kind of shift happens style answering this particular question. One of the main things that came out of that video was the need to be an effective communicator – this then led on to the first activity of students making a long list of all the different ways that we communicate in the 21st century.
As a group students then identified a couple of examples in particular looking at visual and sound communication, we then explored body language and carried out an activity on that, this led to then listening to a few audio podcasts and as a result students created their own success criteria of what a really good video should look and sound like?
To review and consolidate this students then carried out a paired activity called back to back quick draw – One of the pair was given a laminated diagram of different shapes etc and they had to describe it to the other student who would draw it without looking at the diagram. The picture needed to be replicated exactly; students then gave each other constructive feedback on how they carried out the task.
The task to produce a 2 minute video was then set using technology that they had never used before – the year 5 and 6 students only had 25 minutes to produce this and with no help or guidance, they were being tested to work successfully within a team, to manage their time and to overcome many challenges e.g. the knowledge of using the equipment. The students were told that they had to show a video to the class at the end of the 25 minutes whatever happened there was no excuse (even if they had to act it out because the technology failed). It was amazing every single group of students in all primary schools completed the activity successfully and the videos that were produced were simply outstanding – they were extremely ‘raw’ and that was what was beautiful about them, the content was good but the way they were put together with the naivety and innocence that only someone young and inexperienced with the technology could possibly do.
The videos were then watched back and we reviewed what we had learnt and how we had learnt from the experience. The next part of the project is that Year 7 students at Saltash will conduct a video conference with the primary schools and give the individual feedback to students about their videos.
I wish I could show you some of the videos but due to permissions from the schools I am unable to!