I came across an article written by Punya Mishra and Matt Koehler about first day activities called Apollo 13 activities. The idea behind these activities is that on the first day rather than reviewing the syllabus, policies, etc., students are actually engaged in course content and begin to experience how the course will be taught. I’m super intrigued by these types of projects, because they are pretty short and get at finding multiple solutions to problems we face.
Although it’s not the end of the semester, I’m going to give this a try in my Educational Technology and Design course. This is our last week of the course and I have a small group of students who have completed everything for the course. So what I’m going to do with them while everyone else finishes up their final assignments, is to have them complete an Apollo 13 activity of my own. I didn’t get super creative with this one, but I wanted to be somewhat safe in my first attempt. So here’s the plan:
We’ll begin by watching this video:
Then in small groups of 2-3 students will do the following task:
- Teach me how to use social media with children using PowerPoint
- You have the rest of this class period to get it done
- Caveat: It has to be standalone once it starts
I had thought about doing something a little more innovative than PowerPoint, but my goal isn’t teaching them an innovative technology. I’m more interested that they experience problem-based learning, especially within a somewhat time restrained environment. I also didn’t want the technology to be a barrier and with PowerPoint I felt that would be a nice medium for keeping the process simple, yet allowing for multiple paths. We really do have limited time in class to do this, because we meet today and Friday and I’m not grading this so it can’t be homework, nor should it be in my opinion. And following the guidance of Mishra and Koehler, I wanted to avoid junky presentations so students will have to make this a standalone product once it starts. I’m not sure how this will go, but I have high hopes. I’ll be sure to share some samples.
To learn more about the activities, read the linked article above.