Thirty-four students in my two classes completed a survey on the reading, writing and technological processes of this unit. Each class rated individual components of the unit. The digital recording ranked highest amongst the surveys while the class averages were above average in the enjoyment of the project. Technology does promote creative behavior and this is demonstrated by my students’ feedback. The written story was the most difficult for all classes. When asked what they would do differently with the War of the Worlds project, they responded:
- Practice more
- Research better 2
- Figure out the voice recorder better
- Put in more dialogue
- I would have included a little more information about new technologies 2
- Nothing 5
- Have a parent or someone else read the lines with me. Also, I would like to make a PowerPoint presentation on the topic
- Write it better
- I would have made the project more clearly, sarrastic, yet realistic
- Correct spelling and grammar
This is the second time I implemented this project in my Computer Application classes. The project involved many aspects in learning such as research, writing, technology, creativity and critical thinking. The goal of the lessons was to provide diviersified initiatives with a variety of digital tools in order to prepare a holistic writing sample for the unit. This project enabled students to take a more active role in learning.
The root word exercise provided a primary resource for students to practice from a website that provided instantaneous feedback to students. Learning with computers offered students the opportunity to read, respond and reinforce their understanding of words in a non-intimidating manner. Although students worked individually, students seated nearby assisted their peers. This led to a collaboration amongst learners as they completed a variety of levels in root word development and the onset of the writing process.
Students worked individually researching different types of technology. They demonstrated interest in their chosen topics and uploaded their work to a network folder. I commented on their idea and grouped students’ in teams of two or three based on their topics. Secondly, the teams were introduced to five academic standards based on the impact of technology on society. The team used computers to enhance their knowledge of technology, type a title and abstract for their story. Upon approval, the teams continued to write their one-minute scripts prior to recording their story of the future. All teams became active participants with the digital recorders and this is evident with my students’ favorable responses with recording their final story with the digital recorder.
The ‘War of the Worlds’ CD lesson was the most difficult part of the unit. Students had difficulty listening and writing facts from what they heard into a word processing program. Despite the overwhelming popularity of mp3 players and I-Pods amongst teenagers, most had difficulty with this lesson because they are used to listening only to music. Learning to listen for content and key words was a challenge. One team used sound as a background introduction and for emphasis. This should be kept to a minimum so as to not distract from the narrative. Writing from drafts, the final copy, practicing and recording their work was the most dynamic part of the unit. All teams worked cooperatively and collaborately during this phase of the project. It was definitely a teachable moment for me.
I plan to incorporate other disciplines into the curriculum in future units and involve parents in the process. I foresee team teaching this unit with a Social Studies and/or Science teacher in the future. This webpage will be uploaded to my school website. This project could also be applied to online publishing sites such as blogs and wikis. These partipatory tools present authentic and meaningful opportunities for my students to share and obtain feedback with others outside of the classroom.