A mashup of all things educational! From technology and social media to leadership and international education, this is where I will be reflecting and applying everything thing I learn from the web and my PLN. Join me on the adventure and add your opinion to the mix!

22 September 2011

0 Inquiry is Alive, and Without Rules!

Day 8: Shout, Come Everyone, Shout!
I had to take a break.  It was all too amazing and I needed time to process the event and give it space to breathe inside my head.  I've taken a week to process and now all I want to do is celebrate and shout from every roof top around the world!

Yes! We finished our PYP grade 5 exhibition for this year! (To see the whole affair documented from start to finish check out our blog here) As many of you know, I am a strong advocate for the PYP and I believe that the exhibition is one of the best aspects of the program.  At the end of their 7 years of study in elementary school the students are encouraged to lead and inquire on their own in groups.  It is an inspiring and amazing process that has been documented beautifully by @whatedsaid in her post here about her (just completed!) exhibition this year.  I've been fortunate enough to be a part of 11 exhibitions in three different schools over the years and all have been astounding.

I am celebrating many things with this exhibition.  Of course the usual litany of student educational milestones such as:
  • Working on social skills through collaborative team work
  • Identifying and writing a line of inquiry to focus their investigations
  • Discussing, posing and refining key questions to guide research skills with primary and secondary sources
  • Embracing the joy of learning, overcoming struggles with cooperation and reflecting on successes of oneself and a group
Click below to read more!
But, this year, I need to celebrate something new and special... and completely unexpected!  Yes, the students chose technology as the topic so technology was involved, but what was great was that we, the teachers, students and administration, didn't stop to consider if any rules were being broken or if we were allowed to use the technology.  We just did.  And it was amazing.

You see, we're not an open network school.  We don't have a 1:1 program.  We're not a bring your own device advocate.  We do not allow cellphones in classes.  We block social network sites.  And yet, technology seemed to be everywhere.  We were "breaking the rules" without realising it!  What's great is that we are a prime example of what is and will be happening in education with or without support according to a recent post from @MindShift on education.

Here are the top ten student uses of technology that I am celebrating with this exhibition.  Each and every one of these uses were created as the student needs directed us; when they asked we collaborated and found a solution.  While not every student did everything in this list, it's a great start:
  1. Using the 6 school purchased iPads to research in class delivering information directly to the students when they needed it
  2. Bringing student owned laptopsipods and iPads to supplement the research tools in class AND USING THEM RESPONSIBLY
  3. iPods, iPads and cellphones used to record audio interviews, photo document interviews and video interviews
  4. Creating online surveys for gathering information with Google Forms using the one computer in class, ICT lessons and personal computers outside school
  5. iPods, iPads and cellphones used to mobile poll participants for surveys inside and outside school
  6. Creating blogs to share learning and student initiated action using the one computer in class, ICT lessons and personal computers outside school
  7. Sharing and collaborating on finding information via Edmodo across the entire grade level with students, teachers and mentors in 10 different topic groups
  8. Creating QR Codes for student blogs and surveys to be placed on their action posters around the school
  9. Using a grade wide exhibition blog as a vehicle for communication for students, teachers and parents 
  10. Using QR Codes to capture parent feedback on the exhibition presentation evening

Looking at the list and photos above gives me chills.  To think that we accomplished that list when we have absolutely nothing in place yet to support this type of technology use in our school is astounding.  What it shows me is that the students are ready and capable and we just need to get out of their way and guide on the side.  I can't wait to see what we accomplish next year when we get more hardware, more training and more network support in place.

For those of you that are further along in integrating technology in your schools, were you at this stage once?  What advice could you give us as we continue to move forward at the prodding of the students?  What are the important points that we need to keep in mind?

Thanks for celebrating with me!
Jessica :)

Photo source:  Shout by Bryan Gosline

Note:  While I mention that we "broke the rules" without considering/ realising it please know that we were responsible educators and received parental consent on all pertinent technology uses.  We were crazy with our technology integration, but not literally crazy! :)


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