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Lesson Plan Reflection CEP 800 Lesson Plan My lesson plan seeks to improve students’ writing and verbal skills. They will engage in a WebQuest on banning boxing. After working on the WebQuest, students will have to write a persuasive letter to the boxing federation urging them to ban boxing. To make their case stronger, they will also prepare a PowerPoint presentation consisting of pictures and testimonies from injured boxers. First I thought students would struggle with the compilation of information and handle Word and PowerPoint easily. It turned out that they were able to use search engines quite fluently but had problems editing their work and using some important features of Word and PowerPoint, especially inserting audio (wrong assumptions…). As a result, I decided to wait for students to gather all the data they needed and group them according to their task (S1: essay writing, S2: PowerPoint presentation, S3: Vodcasts). Here, I used the apprenticeship theory where behaviorism prevails. The main reason is that the best way to learn about a technology is to tinker with it. To render this tinkering more meaningful, students learnt how to use a particular technology to satisfy a purpose, which was presenting their information neatly and convincingly. That was the technology part. As for the actual WebQuest (content), I used the constructivist approach (students had to read some articles and make judicious decisions about how to use the content) and social constructivist approach (students learnt to evaluate the risks of boxing together and exchanged opinions on how to present a solid case).

Lesson Plan Implementation I had 6 groups of 18 tenth graders work on the WebQuest for six 45-minute periods. I didn’t have access to computers long enough to have them finish the entire WebQuest. Nevertheless, enough was accomplished to give me a pretty clear idea of how things went. They handled technology quite well but struggled with language mechanics. They needed some guidelines for essay writing and help with summarizing some articles from the websites. This is understandable since their English is at the intermediate level. What I wanted to do was design sites that would easier for them to understand, but then I thought I wouldn’t be exposing them to authentic language. I’m actually still considering giving it a try. Most students managed to compile all the data they needed and had started writing the essay and working on the PowerPoint presentations by the end of the 6 th period. No one had the time to search for testimonies, so there were no podcasts. Another 6 periods Would have sufficed.

Created by: Jean-Claude Aura

Date: May 2009

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Lesson Plan Reflection CEP 800

Questions 1. What was learned? What were the learning goals of this instructional experience? What were the underlying assumptions (explicit and implicit) about the nature of knowledge? Students learnt to use their persuasive skills both in writing and speaking. I assumed they would handle the language aspect well and have difficulties with the technology. It turned out to be the other way around. 2. What are the affordances for how knowledge/information is being represented? What are the constraints? The WebQuest is a multisensory tool for visual, auditory, and audiovisual students. Information is accessed quickly and in a variety of ways. It’s engaging and motivating. The only constraint is that a fast connection is needed. This WebQuest may be a bit difficult to handle at first, but future WebQuests would surely be less cumbersome. 3. How does learning take place? What elements of constructivism did you observe? What elements of behaviorism did you observe? Were any other learning theories present? Learning takes place in many different forms. Students learn how technology responds by copying the teacher or other tech-savvy students (behaviorist theory). They also produce new information with previously learnt material; this is the case with essay writing. Students compile the data, analyze and synthesize them, then decide what information to keep and how to present it (constructivist theory). What’s more, by interacting with peers, they learn how others feel about boxing and how to exchange ideas (social constructivism). 4. Was your lesson intended to supplement or supplant existing curriculum? Or, was it intended to enhance the learning of something already central to the curriculum or some new set of understandings or competencies? My lesson was intended to reinforce some key elements in the curriculum (language wise: essay writing; technology wise: use of word processors and presentation tools). 5. How are important differences among learners taken into account? 1. Visual learners understand by watching short clips and looking at pictures. 2. Auditory and blind learners can click on the audio icons to listen to the entire WebQuest. 3. HDD students are given one task at a time, with plenty of encouragement for successful completion. 4. Learners with impaired eyesight can increase the text font.

Created by: Jean-Claude Aura

Date: May 2009

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Lesson Plan Reflection CEP 800 NOTE: Peer assistance will be used throughout the WebQuest. It reinforces social skills and team spirit. The only time I would encourage students to use assistive technologies is when they’re working individually. For instance, when students are compiling data so they can each complete their individual part, I would want them to interact with each other. What difference would it make if an auditory learner listened to a peer or to the recorded material? Getting assistance from a peer would build a strong sense of team spirit. However, if an auditory learner needs to go back to the material at a later stage to complete his/her individual part, they can always rely on the assistive technology. In short, I’d say assistive technologies would be fine when repetition is needed. They shouldn’t replace human contact when the same results can be achieved with or without them. 6. What do teachers and learners need to know in order for your lesson to be a success? What demands are placed on teachers and other "users"? What knowledge is assumed? Teachers have to understand that their assumptions will be wrong to some extent (like mine…) but shouldn’t be discouraged from making assumptions in the future. Learners have to have some basic computer literacy skills (typing text on a word processor and PowerPoint slides). The rest, like editing, formatting, and inserting audio requires little time and effort when one knows the basics. 7. How did you assess what students were doing and what they were learning from this activity? How did you hold them accountable for the work they did? Since my students never got to complete the WebQuest, I used formative assessment. I made sure they completed each task successfully before they moved on to the next one. For example, before students started the essay, I made sure they had a reasonable draft. After they had written the essay, I checked the relevance of the information, the layout, and the mechanics of the language. When students finished their PowerPoint presentation, I evaluated the relevance of the pictures and audio material before they did the oral presentation. This is only fair since I don’t want a problem with relevance to affect their oral presentation. These are two separate skills. 8. What role does technology play in your lesson? What advantages or disadvantages does the technology hold for this role? What unique contribution does the technology make in facilitating learning? The WebQuest offers access to an array of information almost instantly. It allows learners to explore the topic using different media (text, pictures, recordings, movie clips), thus making the activity more engaging. It would become disadvantageous if the connection were slow, or if the learners were complete computer illiterates.

Created by: Jean-Claude Aura

Date: May 2009

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Lesson Plan Reflection CEP 800 9. What did you expect your students to make of their use of technology in your lesson? How did they react when using the technologies? What questions did students have, and how did you respond to them? I expected my students to understand that technology can be used as a tool to enhance learning. They couldn’t have possibly collected all this information from one place and so quickly using more traditional means. They loved the WebQuest and were amazed by the amount of information they were able to access. Some were equally surprised to see what they could do with PowerPoint. They thought it was used to display pictures only. When they saw they could also insert audio, they loved it even more. Naturally, they had all sorts of questions, such as how to insert audio, where to find a particular piece of information, how to make a word document look more attractive, and much more. I made a list of all the questions and addressed them individually or collectively. 10. How would you describe how students were making sense of the content with the technology? Students realized that not all sources of information are equally good. They understood that technology, when used properly, can address and solve a lot of educational issues. For example, they figured out that WebQuests avail them of a wide variety of information otherwise inaccessible. They also noticed that they have less to remember (relieving their cognition) and more to produce. That is, the technology will handle things such as nice handwriting and formatting while they’re busy working on the content.

Created by: Jean-Claude Aura

Date: May 2009

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Lesson plan reflection