I’m coming to the end of completing my Inquiry-based Learning/Research project. This was the first time I have ever created a wiki, so it was a completely new experience for me. Going into the project I was very apprehensive (as with most of the projects for this course =p). However, it was very helpful for me to explore other educational wikis to gain an idea of how to set one up and use it effectively. I can see how the other tools and techniques we have learned about throughout this course all come together and helped me create this unit plan and wiki. For example, I never would have thought about trying to set up a Skype call with a museum curator to allow my students to see exhibits and learn more about a subject without actually having to leave the classroom. And learning about Flickr and Creative Commons allowed me to add images and create digital stories without engaging in copyright infringement. I now see how the many things we have learned throughout this course have prepared me to complete this last assignment.
Also, for this final project I created a sample digital story for the unit. I was surprised how much easier it was to create this digital story (my second) compared to the first one. Knowing what I was doing, being familiar with the process and software, and knowing what I wanted the end product to look like helped make the process a lot easier and faster. This encouraged me a lot because initially I thought it would take a very long time to create another digital story based off of how time consuming it was to start and finish my first one. Now I see that as I become more comfortable and familiar with the process, I will be able to do it better and faster. This will also transfer into the other tools we learned about in this course. The more I become familiar with a tool and the more I use it, the easier it will become to incorporate into my classroom and lessons.
The AASL standard 1 really jumps out at me in relation to this final project: “Candidates are effective teachers who demonstrate knowledge of learners and learning and who model and promote collaborative planning, instruction in multiple literacies, and inquiry-based learning, enabling members of the learning community to become effective users and creators of ideas and information. Candidates design and implement instruction that engages students’ interests and develops their ability to inquire, think critically, gain and share knowledge.” As I developed my lesson plans and wiki, I tried to think of ways to engage the students’ interests and spark their imagination. I also endeavored to encourage the students to inquire about and research information and theories to help develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills. As I prepared the unit plan, I wanted to include some aspects of UDL by providing support for lower learners, allowing students to work together (higher level learners helping lower level learners), and offer assignments with different levels of difficulty. Finally, the culminating project of my unit plan would help the students learn from different resources, use technology to research and create, and give the students an opportunity to learn how to use and share information effectively and ethically. My goal was to help the students take an interest in what they were learning, gain experience collecting information from various sources and tools, learn how to ethically use information found on the internet, and use creativity and imagination when creating a digital product.