A Co-(Ad)Venture

I have often been the guy that has marveled at how others use technology in their classroom. Always watching from the fringes with trepidation and a lack of confidence that I did not have the skills, imagination, or creativity to incorporate it into my own teaching. Well, I still lack the confidence, I don’t have the skills (yet!), I don’t have enough imagination to even bring myself to watch Star Wars (no I have never seen any of them!), and my creativity is questionable at the best of times. But the time has come….to dive in head first….and hope it turns out a little better than this:

fat diving GIF

The last year of pandemic learning has brought educators many challenges, but has also allowed us to explore new horizons. It has opened our eyes to new ways of learning and creating connections. Technology in education is here to stay.

Online learning was difficult for teachers and students because of the lost face to face relationships. There is no doubt that teachers want our students in the building (particularly in an elementary setting where I teach), and a huge majority of students and parents feel the same way. Teaching and learning just aren’t the same when comparing being in the same room vs. being on a computer screen. But what if we explore the connections that can be made in a virtual setting? Can students form connections with other students they haven’t met before? Can students teach and learn from each other via online platforms? If viewed through a different lens, can we turn the potential positives of technology into valuable personal and educational experiences? This is exactly what @Farris0120 and I are seeking to discover.

Using my Grade 3/4 and her Grade 4 Health classrooms, we are setting out to make some personal connections while also learning some valuable social media and technology skills. While our ideas are fluid and will evolve as our project progresses, below is a summary of our plans so far:

Purpose: To explore the use of technology and social media to teach each other and establish connections between students in different schools in a common school community. Students will develop skills that enable them to understand the positive power of social media and technology as a personal and educational tool, that can foster relationships and friendships via asynchronous and synchronous communication.  We will use ‘real time’ communication on Microsoft Teams as well as personal video logs via Flipgrid, as a way of sharing with each other, teaching, and responding to peers, including the following –

*Virtual Teams meetings between classrooms.

*Student Teaching and Responding to Blog Posts – both written and recorded video

*Classes/Individuals will teach a lesson/share information.

*Analysis of the effectiveness of both written and oral communication, via technology.

Curricular Ties

– Health 3.2 Inner Self

– Health 3.4 Families

– Health 4.3 Relationships

Our ultimate goal is to teach children that open communication via technology can foster relationships beyond the digital world and can be a valuable learning tool.  Presenting social media and open communication in a positive way can affect how students will view and use technology in the future and potentially trigger the desire to create and maintain a healthy digital footprint.  While students will be learning about digital tools and communication they will be teaching their peers, albeit virtually, and sharing ideas that they can relate to, understand, and learn.

As this is my first venture into this world, I am both excited and nervous. I am excited to learn and hope our students can learn as much as I know I will.

6 thoughts on “A Co-(Ad)Venture

  1. This idea is incredible! I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with. I like how you said that the plan is subject to change, I feel like your students will give you the feedback you need as you proceed in terms of what really works well for connection and reflection! One resource I always find helpful since it’s curricular connected (and you guys already have such clear connections) is media smarts. I linked to your subject and grade in the SK curriculum – check out their lesson plans here: https://mediasmarts.ca/curricularoutcomechart/outcome-chart-saskatchewan-health-education-grade-3

  2. Lynette and Chris,

    I love your project idea! I appreciate how relevant and applicable it is, especially in the midst of a pandemic and having to teach remotely. I found I really struggled creating a personable environment during remote learning and the kids were missing each other so much. We would have optional Google Meets just to hang out and chat or do a fun virtual art activity, which was great and definitely helped, but I would have liked to extended that a little further.

    I love the idea of getting the kids blogging! During remote learning, I would do an optional visual art lesson and we would create our “masterpieces” together. It was actually so fun and I looked forward to these meets! How cool would it have been to have a platform for the students to share their artwork on a classroom blog for their peers to view and comment?! This would also be a good way to have the students apply some of their “new found” digital citizenship skills!

    Travelling along the same vein as Victoria, I’ve provided a link to Common Sense Media. I love their lessons on digital citizenship! You need to create an account in order to access the lesson plans, but I promise it is worth it! I think it would be a good foundation to set in order to get the students prepared for interacting on social media.


    Awesome start– can’t wait to see where it goes!

  3. Sounds like you two have a good idea of what you are doing and where you want to go with your project. I like the idea of getting kids more involved in technology as a tool to showcase their learning and understanding. I am excited to see where your project goes, and how you can work it with the younger kiddos. I don’t have experience teaching the younger kids, so it’s a bit tough to visualize it all, but I am interested to see the learning throughout. I think you will realize pretty quickly what works, what doesn’t, and where you need to go in terms of your project planning. Staying flexible will probably be key for this project. Good luck with your project!

  4. HI Chris,

    I really loved how you utilized your reflection of online learning and personal connections to create a project to address this issue. I am very excited to hear how this project will go for you two, and I am very curious the reflective – metacogntive side for students in this process. I wonder how students will feel these connections can help strengthen their learning, but also recognize any possible drawbacks from this process.

    Thanks for sharing and I look forward to hearing more!

  5. Lynette and Chris,
    This sounds like such a great learning experience! I am excited to hear about how your students respond to the blogging. I wonder if it would be worth having them explore a few blogs as mentor texts. Wondering if we could find some student friendly blogs that could be shared with your students. These examples could then lead to an exercise in co-creating criteria for what makes an effective, strong, or fantastic blog. Students could maybe focus their attention on a few major areas that all of these mentor blogs have in common. I am thinking about things like visual layout & design, clarity of ideas, tracking of thinking over time etc. Lots of cross curricular connections as you have noted that could be assessed here! Might be fun to involve them in the process of developing their own assessment tools.

  6. Chris and Lynette,

    What a great project idea. I love that you have teamed up on this and are not only trying to improve in such a timely and relevant area, but also placing an emphasis on creating connection. This will support our Ministry’s focus on Student Health and Well-Being, but it will also introduce students to appropriate uses for social media. I’m certain you will find growth in more areas than the list you have already created including their digital literacy, writing and use of tech tools to improve their written word.

    I look forward to reading more about your journey!

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