This is the second year that the microfinance project has been tweaked to add more technology skills into the learning goals. Last year, the map portion of the project moved from coloring paper maps to building a customized Google MyMap. This year, an option for students to demonstrate their learning by creating a Google Site was added to the project. Students in both the upper and lower schools have been given the opportunity to use websites to share their learning this year (Molly Laurano and the 5th grade planet project pops into mind).
In his pro’s and con’s, Todd shares what we all know: the students enjoy the addition of technology, but it often requires additional coordination and planning between teachers and additional instructional time to teach the technology skill. Mike Grant has been honing his short, informative lesson on Google Sites and is ready to deliver! He loves websites – it keeps the printing of pages down 😉
Mike and Molly will also be exploring some ways to make the grading and commenting process of websites easier.
Teacher(s) name(s): Todd Goodwin and Molly Wong with assistance from Mike Grant.
Subject: 7th Grade World Geography
Specific topic being taught: As a Global citizen, research to prepare for international travel.
- Research a developing country as if traveling there to assist in a microfinance or development project.
- Present findings in two formats: all students completed a Google MyMap and had a choice between representing their research in a Google Doc or Google Site.
- Select and insert images into a Google Doc or Site
- Create, publish and share a Google Site that contains the answers to the research questions
- Create a customized Google MyMap
- Document, manage and cite all sources in a bibliography to show the research process.
- Jr. Scholastic Atlas, books and databases from the library.
- Laptops and Chromebooks.
- Google Docs, Websites, and MyMaps
- Noodletools Bibliographic software
Preparation: After some preliminary research, each student chose a developing country and researched to prepare as if they were to travel to that country. Together, each class brainstormed and established a “template” of approximately 20 questions they had to answer before the trip.
Research: On the library Microfinance Project Page, students were given a list of preselected resources to conduct their research, including websites, library databases, books and magazines in the library collection. Additional websites could be used for images.
Demonstration of learning: All students were required to demonstrate their geographic knowledge of their chosen country by creating a Google MyMap and adding “placemarks” of locations (some predetermined and other free-choice) that hold special significance to that country or its travelers.
To demonstrate the completion of the template questions, students could choose to create a website using Google Sites or answer the questions in a Google Doc. Mr. Grant led a class session on creating Google Sites.
All sources, for facts or images, were cited using NoodleTools bibliographic software.
Following project completion, students had the opportunity to share a reflection in class.
- Students enjoyed the choices and many learned new technology as they progressed through the steps.
- Many students felt the choices and use of new technology (Google Sites and Google MyMap) to be fun and engaging. In fact, only three students chose to Google Doc – all the rest chose to work on a Google Site.
- Learning to create a basic website with Google Sites will help students who wish to create a website for their National History Day project.
- Some students with experience in international travel made excellent contributions to the brainstorm.
- Students reflected on their experience at the conclusion of the project.
- All students made thoughtful contributions in the discussions around the parts of the projects.
- Students made connections to our work with OxFam, Unicef and AMC and some of the films we have used this year.
- We learned that some steps about sharing the parts were confusing to students and at least one teacher.
- We need to help students to more carefully budget their time on certain parts of the project to avoid rushing or short changing some parts at the end.
- Students tended to underestimate how much time it would take them to build the Google Site.
- With the expanded choices and new technology, more time was needed for teacher collaboration and grading of the projects.
Would you use this technology tool again?
We do hope and plan to do this project again next year with some adjustments to timing and the steps.
Is there anything you would do differently next time? Create a visual tool that helps students budget their time more carefully.
Here are a couple of links to some completed projects (you will need to be logged into your Applewild Google account to view):
Google MyMap of Samoa
Website for Bangladesh