Yesterday I tried the Apollo 13 activity in my Ed Tech and Design course. It didn’t go exactly as planned, but this was extra so it wasn’t really my priority. After reviewing the expectations and deadlines for all the final projects for the course, only two students had everything done and we able to participate. So Anna and Kelli were my guinea pigs. With only one group doing this I’m not able to see how they applied their knowledge and skills differently, which would have been interesting, but I was able to glean some insights from their final product.
Setting the Stage:
I first wanted to know if they knew anything about Apollo 13 either the movie or real life and neither were super familiar with it so after quickly and briefly reviewing what happened to set the context, we watched this short clip to set the stage for what they had to do. Then I gave them the task.
- Teach me how to use social media with children using PowerPoint
- You have the rest of this class period to get it done (About 40 minutes)
- Caveat: It has to be standalone once it starts
After they had their task, I sent them on their way and didn’t talk to them until the end of class. You can view their final product here. (Shared with their permission)
What I liked about this activity separate from how I implemented it was that it allows the learner to have control of what they cover and how they cover it. For example, I wanted them to teach about using social media, yet I didn’t define what that meant. They came up with Twitter and using it in a 3rd grade context. Specifically to their project, I liked how they took a process approach to using Twitter. I also liked how they used other websites in their instruction. Rather than creating a lot of different slides to explain how to sign up for Twitter, they send the viewer to other resources to get that information. I also liked the cybercitizenry aspect to their product. There were numerous references to how to stay safe, what information to keep private, and how it will be used.
What I wished we could have done is have multiple groups try this. I’m interested how students would take different directions with the task. I do have one more day so perhaps I’ll give this a try tomorrow, but I’m still trying to decide. I also wish we could have had a discussion around what they came up with. I’d have the students in the class try to determine what Anna and Kelli were trying to do.
As I conclude my reflection, what I like about this project is that it’s simple and so is the product. Sure it could have been more complicated, but it didn’t need to be and given the time constraints it couldn’t be. As I think about the knowledge and skills teachers, especially new ones, need when it comes to the use of educational technologies, having the skill to generate products like these are critical to making larger, more impactful projects happen. Perhaps the goal of something like this is to be a self-paced resource for students to use as they connect with people from around the world to discuss and improve the lives of others in their local communities. This isn’t the main event, but it’s helpful getting there.