Monday, November 26, 2012

Wicked Problem Project: Part C - Implementation

Here is a podcast recording of my WPP progress. 

I decided to start by implementing Google Docs. As an English teacher, I needed a place for students to be able to type and save their work. I had students create Google Drive accounts. They created the Drive and then were able to type their assignments on Google Docs. There were other parts of the project were students needed to use other technology like Audacity, Mixbook, Publisher, etc. They were able to upload their files directly to Google Drive and share them with me. I also created an Edmodo account so students could get announcements from me and share their progress along the way. They could also chat with each other for help or questions.

Student typing lyrics on Google Docs.

Student pulling up Google Doc.

Student saving URLs and typing explanation on Google Docs.

Student typing essay on Google Docs.
One of the biggest surprises for me was how little the students knew about using this technology. They are constantly on their phones using Facebook or Snap Chatting, however when it came to setting up an email address and working with Google Docs, they were lost. It took more time than I thought to establish their email address, teach them all the features, and get them used to sharing the documents with me. When we finally got started on the project, I needed to show students how to use the different programs, get them used to the differences in Google Docs, and save URLs to document their pictures. It took longer than I anticipated and next time would allow for my days of instruction.

Unexpected bumps in the road : Future Revisions
One problem I ran into was students using Gmail accounts that didn't contain their full names. I spent time trying to figure out whose project was whose. Next time I would have students create accounts using at least their full last name. It was save a lot of time on my end and it would also be a good things for them to have a professional email. Another problem I ran into was titling documents. In the future I would have student title their documents "LastNameProjectTitle" so that I had an alphabetical list of all the documents. I also learned that by making folders it was easy for me to organize by project and by class (since I had three classes of students working on this). Another bump I ran into was having unreliable technology. We have Mozilla Firefox on all the computers and we ran into problems opening Google Drive some days. Flash needed to be constantly updated (something only teacher log-ins can do). I learned that Google Chrome (since it's a Google product) worked much better with Google Drive and didn't have the same problems. That was a frustrating and time-consuming lesson as students weren't able to access their projects during that down time. Students also messed up the spelling of my email and I often wouldn't get their shared document. Having them title and share their document at the beginning allowed me time to make sure I had their project before the due date.

Delights (What went well)
Aside from the technology set-backs and little tricks I had to learn along the way, the project is so far a success. Students are really engaging with the material and embracing the new technology tools. They are analyzing the content in a meaningful way and feeling validated that their work is authentic and relevant. I am seeing them work through the process of technology difficulties and using each other as experts to help them work through it. They are collaborating about the novel and helping each other think of new angles to approach their projects. In the past, I've had students create a 1920s magazine, newspaper, or newscast for the novel and they've been good, but definitely not as in-depth or authentic as some of these projects are looking. Another thing that is working well is using Edmodo to communicate. It is helpful for me to post announcements and for students to be able to respond to me and to each other. Since they are so familiar with Facebook, this is one part of the project where students were eager to try it out, make mistakes, and work through the process.

Students using Edmodo to post about the project.

Here are some pictures of students working on their actual project. They are using Google Docs, Mixbook, and Audacity. We communicated by using Edmodo.

Student using the tool Mixbook to create a scrapbook.
Student creating her scrapbook.

Another student creating her Mixbook.
Student using Audacity to record her song.

1 comment:

Miztech said...

Ha, success. Or so it appears. This idea seems to be working really well for you and your students. I see you have found that working online or in the cloud requires another kind of organization and lots of it. Nice.