Update: In the last 24 hours since writing what follows, I had a idea emerge that has been a long time in the making. It has to do with “gamifying” the course or at least sections of it. I’m thinking of using The Amazing Race as a framework. (I actually got this idea from one of my students in my online course this term who does this in her K-12 class.) I also watched The Museum of Four in the Morning and am inspired to integrate this into the Course Outcomes assignment. Their digital portfolio will be a Museum of their Four in the Morning ahah moments that relate to course outcomes. I’m thankful for this time to revise and be creative. It’s what I hope to allow students to do within the course as well.
This is the first course in our program. Most of the enrolled learners are pre-service undergraduate teachers. The course provides them with insights that will help them understand and work with English language learners (ELLs). Course concepts, such as characteristics of ELLs, articulating a critical social justice framework related to the role of culture in language development, and implications for classroom instruction are important for all educators. The content of the course is interesting and relevant!
With that statement of enthusiasm, I don’t wish to be the only being in the class who finds the content intriguing, particularly the stimulating language acquisition theories. A goal of mine is to allow opportunities for my learners to make connections between the content, their experiences, and their future. As they make connections, I want to encourage a metacognitive awareness of their learning experience and for them to be able revise their beliefs as they interact, reflect and learn. With that in mind, here’s what’s keeping me busy this week.
There will be a course outcomes assignment. We will turn the course outcomes into questions that learners can choose through multiple ways (negotiating as we go) to answer throughout the term. The use of digital portfolios seems a natural fit. There they can explore, add evidence, resources, reflections, etc. that answer the “course outcome questions.” They can then add to this digital portfolio in upcoming classes in our program. I want this to be a process, not a one-time 3-4 page paper/product for learners. I will give some support in class and optional drop in office hours; most of this will be done online.
Community Cultural Interactions and Observations: These will be done both in f2f class and on their own time outside of class. Learners will have opportunities to interact with ELLs in the community, to interview K-12 teachers, OSU students/instructors, and expert guest speakers. Their journal reflections will be posted online to the LMS.
Language and Culture Autobiography. In the past, there were one-time paper assignments, such as this. A change as a result of this hybrid initiative is to move at least parts of it to the digital portfolio and allow students to add and revise as they learn. There will be a multimedia component to it. Brainstorming, peer reviewing, Q & A time will be done in class. It will be posted privately on the LMS with a short multimedia section on the digital portfolio.
Tech Springboards: These are short 1 hour assignments and a part of the digital portfolio. It is a fun ways for students to process the more challenging concepts in the course. i.e. A. Take a theory and create a fakebook, pretending you are one of the theorists, or make an online animation or comic strip that depicts a theory. B. Use TED Ed, Jeopardy Labs or Arcade games and create a review for your classmates.
Now that the assignments have been more or less decided, the fun part comes! The joy one experiences in creating clear directions, etc is immeasurable.