I’m quite inspired by Ewan’s idea of a problem finder curriculum, but I’m not entirely sure how to get there to be honest…however it has encouraged me to persevere with trying to give my pupils’ greater ownership over their own learning, and making their learning more real.
I know it’s nowhere near the idea that Ewan’s proposing, but I have made a couple of recent attempts to use the web to make learning a little more real in my classroom. The first was with an Intermediate 1 Biology class who were about to learn about body temperature. As a parent, I felt that the learning might seem more relevant if the pupils were to produce a website on body temperature for new parents – something I remember being quite anxious about first time round. I knew I’d use Google Sites for the actual creation of the sites, but I didn’t feel that the pupils would buy into this completely with the horrific URLs which Google Sites uses. So I bought a domain name to try and help with this…mybabystemperature.info
You can view their sites by following the link above. The pupils really engaged with the task, many of them taking the responsibility of producing a real website with an actual audience quite seriously.
I’ve since followed this idea up with something similar, but this time the site can be used with a wider range of classes: biologyrevision.info
As you’ll see, I’ve already begun to use this with Standard Grade classes as well as Intermediate 1. Once again, the pupils seemed to really enjoy producing something which is “real” and has an actual audience. And the beauty of Google Sites is that they can collaborate and review in private and only publish once they’re happy with it.
I’m looking forward to finding better and ever more challenging ways of opening up learning in my classroom…