Coach teachers in and model engagement of students in local and global interdisciplinary units in which technology helps students assume professional roles, research real-world problems, collaborate with others, and produce products that are meaningful and useful to a wide audience
My coaching work with a second grade class in my school district shows how student work in the classroom can help them to assume professional roles and produce meaningful content that is useful to a wide audience. As a class project, the students investigated the professional work that members of the local community do, then took that information and created a multimedia project, using slides and video, highlighting the importance of different roles and how those roles shape the community. The product that students created was presented to community members at a community technology event and continues to be meaningful to students in the school because of their increased awareness about the work done by professionals in the community.
In my research, I also came across a book chapter about students in the UK who learned through a curriculum called curriculum for design and technology (CDT). For one project, the students tackled a real world problem (supplied by the teacher) and worked collaboratively to design a solution to that problem. This project allowed them to go from planning to production of a product. Interestingly, not all students felt successful in the project. For me as a teacher and coach, reading and writing about this book chapter caused me to reflect on how often I’m giving students a chance to direct their own learning and how I could offer more opportunities for them to do so.
For more information about CDT and interdisciplinary units see my complete blog post on The Innovative Designer – Building a Tolerance for Ambiguity in Students