Our course prototype is complete. Creating a course is not a walk in the park. It requires a lot of time and decision making. A person must consider many different things like the LMS, interactions, tools used etc. to create a course. Here is what happened from start to finish.
Course Overview of the Creation Process
We were faced with the challenge of creating a course prototype that was either blended or online. The first step was to decide what we were going to do. We have choose to do our topic on treaty education for grade 3 students. Our prototype is a blended course. It has both face to face time and online experiences incorporated in it. Due to the age of the students we felt face to face interactions were an important part of our course. After our main idea was figured out I needed to make decisions on my module. How was I going to present my information? What type of assignment were the students going to do? How could I make it engaging? To read more about our first ideas and what I was thinking you can read my blog post about the first stage of our prototype.
Our LMS (Learning Management system) was tricky to decide. We wanted something effective. It needed to be easy to use. We needed something that could easily accessed, kept everything in one place and was user friendly. We choose to use Google Classroom. I had the opportunity to explore google classroom before we created our course prototype. For my information about what I found feel free to read my blog post.
Interactions are an important part of a course. This is not something I had originally thought of at the beginning of my thought process. Students needed to have interactions of some type. But how could we make it age appropriate? I posted about my thought process and actually did most of it.
Our prototype was coming to an end. Things had changed a lot since the beginning. Different tools were used and different information was presented. Things were added and things were taken out. I did blog about all of the changes. Things change!
After a lot of work, experimentation and meeting our group had finished our prototype. We are done!
Want to know more about our Treaty Education Course Prototype? Here is our course profile so you can find out more!
About our Prototype
This blended course is suited for grade 3 elementary students of all backgrounds. It is a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning. For a learning management system (LMS) we choose to use Google Classroom, as well as various content creation tools. Students and teachers will communicate using Google Docs and Google Classroom, through the creation of questions and announcements. The assessments will contain a specific rubrics for each assignment are aligned with outcomes in grade 3 social studies, arts education, science and English language arts.
The new Office of the Treaty Commissioner (OTC) treaty education documents were used to create this course. We are addressing the inquiry question: how have the lifestyles of First Nations people changed prior to and after the signing of treaties? The outcomes and indicators covered in this course are as follows:
TR3.1: Examine the relationships between First Nation peoples and the land, before and after the signing of treaties.
Indicator: Describe the lifestyle changes of First Nations, prior to and
after placement on reserves.
CH3.1 Compare how arts expressions from various groups and communities may be a reflection of their unique environment (e.g., North and South Saskatchewan, urban
Share information about an artist working in own community through individual research or collaborative inquiry.
Describe how an arts expression tells something about the community and culture in which it was created (e.g., heritage harvest dances).
Describe ways that people of various cultures in own and surrounding communities participate in the arts and discuss why they do so.
PL3.2 Analyze the interdependence among plants, individuals, society, and the environment.
Research lifestyles (e.g., farming, fishing, and logging) and jobs (e.g.,florist, crop scientist, landscaper, gardener, fruit grower, ecologist,
logger, and nursery worker) that depend on understanding and working
with plants and plant-related products.
RW3.1 Appraise the ways communities meet their members’ needs and wants.
a.Speculate upon various challenges faced by communities in meeting
needs and wants, with evidence gathered from examining pictures,
viewing media, and interpreting stories using a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts.
Identify how individuals and communities meet needs and wants.
Describe ways in which communities help ensure basic human needs
are met (e.g., food and water, shelter, clothing, education, safety).
Our assessment strategies include using the Saskatchewan Curriculum Project Chrome extension to create rubrics specific. Formative assessment would be done using EdPuzzle. informal assessment of Google Classroom posts in a forum style is assessed on participation in the area of interactions with other students and the teacher.
We have considerations for common concerns. Low bandwidth is a common challenge for any educator using technology in the classroom. Typically, each student will open up a lesson from their own device, but in the end that could be as many as 30 videos simultaneously streaming on a network that might only be able to handle a few. We have no real solution for a school that has similar bandwidth as the average home, even though obviously there are so many more times people at school as there are at home. Students can have access to devices such as school ipads, personal devices and computer labs during school hours. Since it is online students who are absent can access Google Classroom from home. 1:1 devices would not be required to complete the artifact creation. Flipped classrooms can be used so assignments are done in the school where students have access to programs, and videos can be watched at home or during breaks. We account for differentiation through various levels of assignments in Adobe Spark, as well as audio versions of stories.
Why did we choose our LMS? Google Classroom is used in Regina Public Schools, as well as many other divisions. It is free and is easy to use. It is an LMS that students in grade 3 are able to use with lessons. Google Classroom allows students and teachers to interact. Assignments can be posted and completed on Google Classroom. Student progress can be tracked and teachers can assess on Google Classroom.
Why did we pick our topic? Treaty education is meant to be integrated into numerous subject areas, and is a topic that everyone teaches (or should be teaching). With the creation of new and updated treaty education lessons from the OTC, we decided to work with one grade area to become familiar with the updated format. We developed this course to reflect recommendation #10 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission:
- We call on the federal government to draft new Aboriginal education legislation with the full participation and informed consent of Aboriginal peoples. The new legislation would include a commitment to sufficient funding and would incorporate the following principles:
iii. Developing culturally appropriate curricula.
Module One – Chalyn Smith
In creating content for this module a variety of tools were used, the tools are appropriate and easy to navigate for young learners. For each step of the lesson I have tried to be thorough in explaining how students should complete tasks with tutorials for each new medium. For the introduction to the lesson students create a collaborative Google Drawing. I added a brief Screencastify as a tutorial for Google Drawing. I also chose to have students create Google Docs so that they could submit their assignments to me, again I created a Screencastify to familiarize students on how to create a new Doc. I created a Voice Over PowerPoint for students to respond to using an Adobe Spark page. I also made a Screencastify to help students in creating their Adobe Spark Page with instructions about adding open commons pictures. For the extension activity I created a Screencastify to teach the students how to use Story Jumper to create a Digital Storybook. I feel that this variety of content creation tools will enhance the student’s learning outcomes for this unit on Treaty relationships. After completing module one students will be able to recognize the land provided everything the First Nations people needed to survive.
Module Two – Rochelle Rugg
Module Two takes students back through the past and the way First Nations people used plants, trees and roots to create medicines and for food. It also focussed on the importance of the Buffalo, not just as a food source, but also as a means of shelter, clothing and tools. In order for students to learn about these important factors, I used many tools to help explain their importance. First, I used EDPuzzle on two YouTube videos about Medicine Walks that happened in and around Regina. The EDPuzzles allow for breaks in the videos for students to reflect, respond or discuss aspects of what we are learning on the two medicine walks. I also used EDPuzzle on a short video about the importance of the Buffalo. Watching the videos in class will be done over some time. I created 2 reviews about plants used in Traditional Medicines and the Importance of the buffalo. I used Adobe Spark Page for the importance of the buffalo and an Adobe Spark Video for the plants used in Traditional Medicines.
Once students have gone through the reviews, they will choose which path they would like to further investigate: Medicines or Buffalo. In order to see which student wishes to pursue which topic, I create a simple google form for them to fill out. Once they have made their choice, they move on to the final project. I have chosen 3 pictures books for each topic. I used Movie Maker to create 2 book talk videos that describe thee 3 books in each topic. Students will watch the book talk for the topic they have chosen and choose a book to read. I used an app called ALON Dictaphone by ALON Software (free) to record myself reading each of the books and bought the in-app ability to share to Google Drive ($2.50). By recording the stories, students who have difficulties in reading can have the option to listen to the story and follow along in the books.
The final step is that students will log in to Bookopolis using a username and password that the teacher has already set up. They will write an online book review following a prescribed set of instructions on their book chosen. The entire class will be able to see the reviews written and outside of our class, other Bookopolis members will see their anonymous review. This is a sort of limited forum. I used the Chrome Extension: Saskatchewan Curriculum Project to create the rubric to assess the student’s book reviews.
Module Three – Aimee Sipple
In this module, I used several tools to create content and foster responses from students. First, I had students follow a link and then respond to questions directly on the Google Classroom stream. I wanted students to have access to each other’s responses, as well as having all responses in one place for assessment purposes. I used Adobe Spark to create a video of an excerpt from “The Disappearance and Resurgence of the Buffalo” by Jo Cooper (1995.) As this Office of the Treaty Commissioner recommended text is of a challenging level, I decided to create a video where the text is read to students. Then, I used EdPuzzle to integrate response questions throughout. I chose this tool as it streamlines responses and does not require separate programs to view and respond. I then used Screencastify to create tutorials on how to use Adobe Spark to create a post, page, or video. This allows for student choice in their mode of response after reading a paper copy of a book. For assessment, I used the Saskatchewan Curriculum Project Chrome extension to create rubrics that exactly match with Saskatchewan curricular outcomes. After completing this module, students will have gained an understanding of the effect of the loss of the buffalo for the people of the Plains.
Module Four- Justine Wheeler
In this module many tools were used to make an age appropriate and engaging lesson. I used IMovie to create a lecture. I choose IMovie because I like the program and it creates great videos. This is to be used in a flipped learning style. Students will watch the video. I used edpuzzle to answer questions. I choose this program because it is connected right to google classroom, students can easily respond to questions and they are tired directly to the video. This is also a program that some group members are using so it is familiar to the students. Another tool used is screencastify. I choose this program because it is free and is easy to use. It allows students to see directly how to do the assignment. In the assignment students are using paint. I choose paint because it is a program all of the computers at the school have. They are also using it to create a digital art piece. Paint provides tools to do just that. I used Saskatchewan Curriculum Project to create a rubric. This was chosen because it is directly connected to the Saskatchewan curriculum and is easy to use. All tools chosen were because they are easy to use, engaging and accessible.
Response to our feedback
Overall our feedback was quite positive. Our fellow teachers enjoyed the topic we choose. They commented on the variety of content creation tools we used to bring our module to life. They thought our organization was great and everything flowed together. Our reviewers thought our prototype was a great starting point for them explore treaty relationships. Our reviewers mentioned they could take the components of our modules and would be able to incorporate this resource in their own classrooms.
However, we did find some themes that we need to change such as difficulty level, LMS issues, assessment, adaptations and interaction.
One of the concerns addressed in our feedback was around the reading difficulty. Some reviewers were concerned with the amount of text for Grade 3 students. This course is a synchronous blended course that would allow for teacher to facilitate the course face to face and guide students through modules perhaps in a center type rotation. Students will already know how to use google classroom and tools being used such as procedures for the computer.
Another concern that was addressed was the choice of LMS (Google Classroom) that may have not been the most easy to use with Grade 3s. Google Classroom is being used as the central hub for a variety of tasks. Students complete very few assignments on Google Classroom, so in terms of visual appeal, it is meant to be less distracting.
The amount of rubrics provided to the teachers for lessons within the modules was also mentioned by our reviewers. Students will receive both formative and summative feedback, and the rubrics are part of this feedback. As this is a blended course, students will have many opportunities for feedback from the teacher.
Some adaptations were not addressed (EAL, attendance issues). Additional screencasts could provide verbal an explanation of the assignment for low readers, perhaps working in pairs would support low readers, also simplified versions of assignments for EAL students. Module 3 involves reading a text, and this allows for differentiation for diverse learners. This differentiation is built into the assignment as is with the books that are listed. Students with attendance concerns could complete assignments at home if needed.
Lastly, some reviewers remarked about ways students would interact with others.
Teacher-student and student-student interactions can be done on google classroom. With the age of the students, we needed to address also the abilities that they have and the forums that would allow young students to share with an audience. Interactions needed to be controlled and monitored to ensure there were no violations in privacy and terms and conditions.
We did receive positive feedback asking us to expand on our course prototype. We think finishing the whole prototype would be awesome. As we focused on just one of the grade 3 key questions provided in the OTC document, the course would contain more themes if the other three questions were included. If we were to expand on this course, the remaining inquiry questions for grade 3 are:
- How were the historical worldviews of the British Crown and the First Nations different regarding land ownership?
- How do First Nations and Saskatchewan people benefit from Treaties 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10?
- How did the use of different languages in treaty making present challenges and how does that continue to impact people today?
Thank you to those who reviewed and critiqued our prototype and provided us with helpful feedback! If you would like to check out our course, our Google Classroom code is: 9yhj6c
Thank you for reading!