A Paperless Unit – Stewardship Through Technology

The idea of going paperless, though not a new one, came to us in a collaborative meeting the grade 10 science team had today after school.  For years, we have struggled to really make the Climate Change unit cohesive, fluid, and interactive.  Not to say we haven’t tried or haven’t had any success in the unit, but every year it is one that seems to undergo major reconstruction.  Perhaps this is a good thing, Climate Change and the concepts behind it are simply not as linear as the chemistry, physics, and biology (though less so) units.  The study of climate is political, dynamic, and misunderstood and it lends itself to a much more different approach in pedagogy. The essential questions and enduring understandings see to have a better chance in coming to life in a more personal way.

Small changes can make a big difference.

Our attempt at making it stick out a little better this year involves taking the entire unit to a completely paperless world.  Some may argue that this is not conducive to the holistic learning of a child, but I would argue that if it is something that informs change and actually impacts slightly on the actual issue at hand, then perhaps its worth exploring.

What it entitles:

Taking students outside of the classroom – hands on activities capturing and reflecting on pictures taken with their BYODs

Extensive use of Google Docs – Collaborative reflection, data analysis and lab submissions, Google Forms – assessment/evaluation

Moving students to Google Classroom for the unit – Management of files in Google Docs (See post on Google Classroom)

Twitter/Blogs – Connect with a scientist, ask questions, make it authentic

Integration of SAMR – Make it more meaningful

Use of online toolsPadlet, Easel-ly, Todaysmeet

In the end, we hope that the students gain valuable skills, seek to learn more through digital media related to climate change, converse and discuss in a digital forum, and perhaps appreciate the fact that no pencil, pen, and paper was used during the unit that focuses on the impacts that we have on the world around us.

And perhaps a small change in our everyday life can really invoke a greater difference in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8 Responses to A Paperless Unit – Stewardship Through Technology

  1. I love this idea! The method you are using to teach reflects the big ideas of the unit. This not only shows students that you truly care about the material, but that there is value in individuals taking action to make change.

    Are the students working in groups? If so, are you using a particular website/tool as a “home base” for their collaboration?

    • Thanks Andrew,

      We will be using Google Classroom and Google Docs for their collaborative work. Padlet also allows us to set up a forum for discussions and comments based on what students bring to the table.

  2. Derek Doucet says:

    Hey Tim,
    I really like this idea and your action plan to make it happen has some really cool starting points. I think a great blog post for later will be to explore how you moved toward redefining the learning for your students and if the edtech you chose was useful in moving them.

    I think you should reach out to the Cohort 21 Community – Les McBeth comes to mind, and see about bringing her in via Hangouts.

    Will you be creating student Twitter accounts? Will they be active in seeking out scientists or will you front run this?

    Can I recommend a commitment to change – it’s something students commit to changing about their behaviours and actions that they feel will reduce their impact on Climate Change – they can blog or journal about their experience and share in class. You could then tie this into a whole host of other courses and connections to global issues.

    This is exciting stuff, and I’m coming to your class to see it in action!

    • You know you are always welcome in my class. Maybe you can come in and talk about your experience with the French class who reached out or the blog comments you had them made that resulted in a google hangout with an expert in the field! I think the ‘commitment to change’ piece could be a powerful addition. Hmm….it’s a short unit and a lot to accomplish, but certainly possible.

      I don’t intend to have the students make twitter accounts for the class….but I may make one for our class that we all can interact and reach out with but moderated by me. That way the students don’t have to use their personal accounts which they hate. We’ll see. Lots to think about!

      Thanks for the suggestions DD!

  3. There is so much to admire in this work, Derek! I love it!

    Have you read the book “The Students Are Watching” (creepy title, right?) http://www.amazon.com/The-Students-are-Watching-Contract/dp/0807031216

    There is a lot in here about the “hidden curriculum” of a school / classroom and how we don’t always teach what we intend to. Exposing your students to another way of being a “paperless student” is actually harnessing the power of the “hidden curriculum”. I love it!

    I hope you were transparent with your students about why you were doing this as well…what a great opportunity for them to see how something small can make a big impact.

    • Transparency is key. We will front this tomorrow as we initiate the ‘Paperless Unit’. It will be interesting and I expect some will hate not having something ‘in hand’. I haven’t read the book but the reviews look intriguing. I will look into it, thanks for the recommendation Celeste!

  4. Oops, I said Derek, but I meant Tim. I got confused by Tim’s photo above. Ha ha. Sorry about that Tim Tim Tim!

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