Why this unit?
I think this scientific writing unit is a good possibility for my Course 5 project because writing is an area many of our special educational needs students struggle. It would be great if I could find a way to improve upon the unit to make being successful more of a possibility for all our students.
The ISTE standards I chose were 1-Empowered Learner and 6-Creative Communicator. The standards will enhance the students’ understanding of the content by making the learning more student-driven and giving the students a voice and choice in their learning
ISTE Standards for Students, 1 (Empowered Learner) Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences.
ISTE Standards for Students, 6 (Creative Communicator) Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.
Learning with COETAIL
This unit reflects my learning during COETAIL through synthesizing everything I have been learning about into a plan to incorporate technology to enhance students’ learning. This unit is different from other units I have designed or facilitated because I am not collaborating with others on this project. As a member of a grade-level team at my school and as a member of a COETAIL student team, we have always worked together to design and facilitate units. Not having the others’ expertise to draw from or rely on has been a huge loss for me and reminded me how great working on a team is.
One concept that has influenced me during COETAIL is the SAMR model. It is reflected in this final project when I created lessons that were not just substituting technology but also augmenting and modifying the work.
Some of my concerns about redesigning this unit are my lesson ideas will not really make the writing aspect easier for the students, maybe the lessons are still basic technology substitution, and there is an even better way to use technology to help my students be successful scientific writers.
The shift in pedagogy this new unit will require from me is focusing on using the technology in a way for it to have a positive effect on the learning. “Technology used without powerful teaching strategies (and deep learning tasks) does not get us very far”(Fullan and Langworthy, 2014). I have to find a way to make deep learning able to happen and I have to make sure the students are not bored but engaged and active in their learning. I am relenting my hold and the students are taking more of a lead with the learning. Also, I am keeping a focus on the assessment for this unit through the one-point rubric and will rewrite it in student-friendly language so the students can use the rubric as a guide to see what is expected of their products.
This new unit will require the students to be active in the learning process. They will not be able to simply “sit and get” but they will need to advocate for their own needs. They will need to question the activities and provide ideas to make them work better.
The outcomes I hope to see when students complete this unit are they will be able to write like a scientist and they will be able to collaborate with their peers to improve upon their work. I will know students have learned these concepts by them demonstrating growth through their scientific journal and conversations with their classmates.