Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Small but mighty

I wanted to start the year off in IT with a project that would be fun, interesting and would also tie into our school focus on team-building. I settled on One Thing, an idea that I got on Twitter from @dougpete and @mrspal. In my version, I wanted the students to write a brief Twitter-style summary of one special memory from the summer. Then I wanted them to find a suitable photo and locate the event using Google Streetview. Finally, we would import everything into Windows Moviemaker to make a class movie and choose a song as a soundtrack.
At first I thought of this as a simple review of concepts and skills that would be familiar, at least to Grade 8s and probably to others In Grade 5, 6 and 7 as well. To my surprise I discovered that when I broke the tasks down, they required a functional understanding of many key IT concepts. Some were new to the students and the lessons led to many intersting discussions and teaching moments. Here is the list so far:
- Look at Twitter to see short powerful messages
- Open a WP document, write, edit, save on network drive
- Log on to the Internet, search for an image, save an image, save on network drive
- Open Google Streetview, use the "pegman" to find location, switch to full screen, use the Print Screen button, paste into a WP document, save to network drive
- If Streetview is not available, save and label a satellite view
Now,as a class, and I include myself, we learned more...
Moviemaker likes to work with picture files. So...
We then learned how to switch file formats. We right-clicked on the saved Streetview image, copied and pasted it into Paint, and used the drop-down menu to save it as a JPEG.
Then we transformed our text passages into pictures. We highlighted the text, switched it to 24pts, and pasted it into Paint, then saved it as a JPEG.
In the process we learned that while classroom computers are using Word, and the demo worked fine, the lab has switched to Open Office which wouldn't let the students do this. Hmmmm. We found Word Perfect and it worked!
Finally, we learned about the shared X: drive, and saved the three JPEG files into the 8C folder within the Mrs. Shillolo folder. Now we are ready to drag and drop our work into the class Moviemaker file. One last thing - we will select a song and import it.
Wow. I am so pleased with my students and their learning.
I am also delighted to find that when you really look at it, this small project with its three small tasks, contained a mighty rich variety of basic skills practice. It was a challenge for many students but they were all successful.

No comments: