My rubric for assessing effectiveness of the digital collaboration
The implementation. 67% of the students in this class were complete novices on a sewing machine. Every year I begin the Year 10 programme of learning with a skills unit to quickly build confidence and proficiency. Usually students independently complete skill building tasks independently evidenced in a workbook. I wanted this year to be different and I wanted a usually passive learning activity to become a more collaborative and reflective experience. Firstly I demonstrated to the cohort how to correctly set up a sewing machine. Students were encouraged to use the app Google Keep on their phones to take notes and photos of the process being demonstrated. Students were then required to review and follow their own notes and ready the machine themselves for use. The class had to anticipate what issues could arise if these sequences were not correctly followed. Students then compared their newly acquired understanding to the instructions in the machine manual and were asked to incorporate any new perspectives which could economise the time it took to complete the set up task. Each student was then was asked to acknowledge what they considered the key quality control points and edit or reselect any photos or footage they were missing in the sequence. Finally students developed their own personalised sequence of actions suitable for teaching a Year 9 the set up of a machine. They then spliced the photos with written instructions, added music and shared their instructional video online with their target audience. As they were also sharing the video on Schoology they were essentially creating a feedback loop which allowed for further synthesis of ideas.
The benefits of making videos in the classroom. I wanted to encourage the students to use technologies in innovative and challenging ways to help them redefine their learning. Using mobile photography and video allowed the students to articulate and explicate in detail their competency in preparing a sewing machine for use. I want to encourage project based, student centered learning and video making is an ideal project as the teacher acts a facilitator and the students do the work. Students were piecing the information together in an organised way and that made them think deeper about the entire process and body of information gathered. Similar to the findings in the 2006 Kearney and Schuck paper 'Spotlight on authentic learning: Student developed digital video projects', I too was pleasantly surprised to observe students giving each other frequent feedback as they made and edited their videos. The potential to increase engagement with their school community and home is profound as students share can their creations via Schoology or universal platforms such as Youtube and Vimeo. A 2012 report commissioned by Cisco Systems sees learning generated video as a ‘powerful tool in the hands of students’ (p.35) and suggests that its usage will only continue to increase throughout the 21st century. The report also urges educators to take advantage of this valuable tool and engage students by adopting emerging multimedia formats to facilitate collaborative learning. Student generated video production is a thoroughly authentic mode of learning that subverts traditional assessment tasks by displacing the initiative from the tutor to the student (Kearney and Shuck, 2006). Students can be motivated by the fact that their work is to be viewed and evaluated by their peers, which also facilitates critical analysis and self-reflection.
Critique. As feedback has confirmed the class enjoyed the task as it was 'something different' and allowed them to learn a new skill and be creative. Students were definitely not passive learners and I was pleasantly surprised at the buy in from the whole class, considering only 2 class members had ever made a video before for school. Interestingly students did feel that they were more proficient when setting up a machine because they had made the video. Every outcome was unique, students can expressed themselves using font, music and imagery and they felt a greater sense of autonomy with their learning as the content was purely theirs. When I critiqued that innovation against the CLD Student Work Rubrics, the task really only sat between a level 3 and 4. The suitably designed formative/summative assessment rubrics will show improvement when compared to traditional instruction.
The use of ICT supported some knowledge construction as many of the class members were cross referencing their photos and video edits with the written instructions I had given them but I question if they could have constructed the same knowledge if I had simply made them rote learn how to do it and then tested them. The assessment criteria I developed for the task was also not robust in its objectives. When developing the assessment rubric for the task I came across the revised taxonomy known as Blooms digital taxonomy which was devised in 2008 by Andrew Churches. According to Churches in his wiki Edorigami, "Bloom's Digital Taxonomy isn't about the tools or technologies rather it is about using these to facilitate learning. Outcomes on rubrics are measured by competence of use and most importantly the quality of the process or product". This taxonomy aligns digital activities with the Blooms levels (and the revised levels of Anderson and Krathwohl).
A different approach next time. On reflection I am happy with how the collaboration went but I can see how things could be done much better. Ideally I would apply a more constructivist inquiry based approach and embed this specific task within a bigger unit of work. Technology experiences should began with a 'big issue' and I could easily tie the issue of sustainability and fast fashion to this innovation. I will modify this task so students can gather some statistics, using google forms, an easy and familiar platform for most students. The statistics gathered will give the class 'real' data to support their inquiries. Students could use Youtube tutorials as the platform for further research about the issue of fast fashion and then write a brief review explaining their findings, describing how learning the skills of sewing can ultimately help to save the planet. The synthesis of ideas will be evident when students not only share a 'skill video' with their audience but design a 'sustainable garment' using upcycling.