Anne and I decided to have students create a photo story explaining the steps of a specific math skill they had learned in Unit 1. We did a lot of pre-planning and the project evolved quite a bit. We had a check list and rubric as well as a rough outline of each skill students should use as a “script”. As I introduced the project, my students were a bit confused because they did not want to plan; they wanted to be on the computers. They also struggled with the over all concept of the project at the beginning. After the first day, I created a more structured “script” and that seemed to focus them and help them understand what to do next. The students were very engaged the entire time. I had a few students, as they were working on their skill, say, “Oh! That is how you do that.” Or “Now I understand what we are doing.” It was a project that really asked them to take what we were doing in class and make it their own.
We had a number of projects that turned out great and every student was proud to share their photo story with the class. There were a few technology issues: slides in the wrong order, recording issues, and lost or unsaved projects. I think that students will have a much easier time on the next project because they now have an idea of what to do. Also, I have a better understanding of how to support students, step by step, in order to create a finished project. I always seem to forget how much structure students need as they are being introduced to a new technology. They are not just wrestling with the higher order thinking skill of synthesizing their knowledge into a project; they are also learning how to use the technology.