I have just taught myself how to make an online graphic novel and how to use blabberize (making a picture talk)! I have had soooo much fun making the colourful mini that is my avatar talk! I cant wait to use this to facilitate student engagement with their learning. For me, tools like this are what I call “the hook”. A question I try to ask myself is, ‘How am I going to “hook” my students into learning … X, Y, Z?
When using a new idea / technology it is easy to get caught up with the “fun/whiz bang” of it all. This in turn can mean that even though you may be encouraging a move from compliance to commitment, the learning the students are doing has not changed, it has just become “prettier”. Therefore, regardless of the “hook” I am using, I also follow the “4 + 1 Questions” approach:
- What are the students going to know?
- How are they going to know it?
- How am I going to know they know it?
- How does my “Hook” fit into this?
- Why will my answers to Qns 1-4 help all students achieve the desired objective?
If I can’t come up with an answer beyond, “It will be fun” , then I don’t use the Hook until I have these answers. If I never find the answers, well …
While I am on the subject, not all Hooks have to be whizbang. I also like to provide students with a Hook re how they contextualise me. It is extremely important to me that I create a classroom environment based on dignity and the philosophy that it’s okay to “have a go” (Australian colloquialism). One way I do this is by placing myself in the role of the non-expert. Early on in every single one of my classes, I draw a picture(s) on the whiteboard in order to explain a theory. My drawing skills are not great, in fact, they are quite the opposite! ( and I acknowledge this) However, what my lacklustre illustrations do is model to the students that I also am prepared to “have a go” and that they too, can safely “have a go”. You should see my visual representation of how WW1 started!
I have just received permission to use twitter with my students. I look forward to teaching them this skill in a manner that “value – adds” to their learning (another Hook!)