Inquiry and Project Description
The spark for my inquiry resulted from a documentary I viewed on Orson Welles. I was intriqued by the technological connections between the humans and robots. Additionally, I am a native of New Jersey where the original broadcast about the ‘War of the Worlds’ occurred. My professional and personal connections led to this inquiry project for my student’s to predict their own future.
This project is a part of the read/write component which enhanced the overall curriculum in my Computer Applications classes. The goal of the writing unit is to empower all students to the level of powerful literacy. Students explored the context of literacy learning with technology. They gathered and applied conventions of text and audio to support their understandings of diversified skills in the twenty-first century. Two high school classes, consisting mostly of ninth grade students saw opportunities to ‘step out of the box’ in learning and imagined what life would be like in the year 2034. The project began as a unit based on the audio version of ‘War of the Worlds.’ It seemed appropriate as a teacher to provide students an outline of the many elements comprising the story and play the original broadcast of the War of the Worlds which was narrated by Orson Welles in 1938. Initially, students worked individually and progressed to teams when technology and writing came into play for their stories. From my perspective, I saw this as an opportunity to teach and discuss computer ethics, proper researching techniques to recording stories with a digital recorder with my classes.
Students used computers for research, listening to the original version of the ‘War of the Worlds’ on CD, which also included a vocabulary lesson on decoding key words. Each student was provided a brainstorming sheet for their own idea. They had to write out their ideas. I reviewed each of my students’ ideas and grouped students (2-3 per story) based on their similar brainstorming concepts. Each class appeared comfortable with their assigned partners and immediately began to discuss their ideas into a more defined concept. Group members rotated responsibilities in researching and redeveloping a story of the future consisting of at least 120 words (approximately one minute of recording). There was a dynamic connection as group members applied their creativity in writing their futuristic story of 2034. Each group practiced reading their story to the class prior to the final digital recording. Students practiced several times with the digital recorder and listed their track so I could easily find and convert their story from .zvr to .mp3 format for the web.