Let’s face it – we can change the world!



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Let’s FACE it – we can change the world!

  • Deb Avery
  • St Nicholas Diocesan School, Pietermaritzburg
  • Grade 8 English Home Language – integrated with Natural Science and Technology
  • deb@averys.co.za
  • 084 420 4495
  • Community and Content
  • A unit of work which uses the social networking programme, Facebook, as a vehicle to discover information on energy saving, and then disseminate it to others in the school community in preparation for the whole school activity - “Polar Bear” Energy Saving Day which is celebrated on the Winter Solstice

Learning Outcomes – English Home Language

  • LO 3 – Reading
  • Shows understanding of information texts:
  • LO 4 Writing
  • Produces a range of factual written and multimodal texts (texts using print and images) for various purposes
  • LO 5 Thinking
  • Uses language to investigate and explore:
  • asks questions on national and cross-curricular issues
  • Processes information:
  • summarises information or ideas
  • Reading of online and print texts about Energy topics
  • Writing essays, summaries, creating brochures and posters, both in hard copy and on the Facebook Group Discussion Board
  • Answering a Focus question involving analysis, synthesis and evaluation, as a result of summarising and processing data collected online

Learning Tasks and Activities

  • An Introduction to Social Networking
  • Learners answer a questionnaire about their use of Facebook
  • Learners interview an adult who uses Facebook about their use of Facebook
  • An alternative use to Facebook is proposed
  • Project Booklet

Activity 1 - Development of background knowledge

  • Learners read and answer questions about energy and energy sources
  • They summarise the information and develop a small brochure for use in the Gr 5 NS class
  • Activity One

Activity 2 – Facebook is the vehicle

  • Learners sign up for a Facebook group (set up by the educator)
  • They explore group functions
  • They invite others in the school and in their social network to join the group
  • Activity Two

Activity 3 – Using the Discussion Board to present new findings

  • Learners use the question on the Discussion Board and the Links provided to look for information about renewable and non-renewable energy sources
  • They present their findings on the Discussion Board
  • Activity Three

Activity 4 – Playing on-line games to collect data

  • Learners play a number of online games to find information about energy saving at home and school
  • They produce a poster of their TOP 10 TIPS and display them around the school
  • www.energyhog.org/childrens/htm

Activity 5 – Writing a Formal Essay to answer a Focus Question

  • Learners find instructions on the Discussion Board on their essay topic – “Do we have to rely on ESKOM for Power?”
  • They use links to find data
  • They use essay writing guidelines to process the data, write the essay and answer the question

Activity 6 – Trying out alternative cooking devices

  • Learners use the Links to find information about different heat sources eg solar power, hot boxes
  • They try out some of the ideas, and record their finding by posting photographs or videos
  • They share the information with other members of the school community
  • Activity 6 example

Activity 7 – Assessing if networking has had an effect on the school community

  • On “Polar Bear” Day the learners examine what other classes have done.
  • They record their findings in photographic form
  • The photos are posted on the school Website

Activity 8 - Assessing if networking has had an effect on the wider community

  • Learners and the educator examine the Facebook group log and ascertain if anyone outside the school has shown interest in the group
  • They write a report as a class and post in in the Classroom section of the school website

Teaching and Learning Strategies

  • Most learners are familiar with Facebook to some extent
  • We used a medium which they find ENGAGING, and which is easier to use than many of the other Web2 tools like blogs and wikis.
  • Facebook is EASY TO ACCESS and groups are easily set up

Teaching and Learning Strategies contd …

  • SELF DIRECTION was encouraged by using the discussion board to post tasks
  • Learners needed to develop their own TIME MANAGEMENT skills – the project had an end date and learners had to work in their own time.

Teaching and Learning Strategies contd …

  • There were REAL LIFE TASKS – creating brochures for other classes, posters for around the school, ideas for the Polar Bear Day cook-out – were all valuable outside of the English class

Teaching and Learning Strategies contd …

  • Incorporating “regular” tasks like summaries, essays, reports into a DIFFERENT CONTEXT added interest to them for the learners

Relevance of ICT Tools

  • Use of ICT enhanced data gathering
  • Links on Facebook –
    • These easy to navigate, as there is no typing in of web sites, summaries of the content appear on the links

Relevance of ICT Tools contd …

  • Discussion board
    • This provided a forum for summarising and re-stating gathered data
    • Learners could agree or disagree with others in a non-threatening environment
  • Games
    • These are always engaging and despite the simplicity of many of the games, learners enjoyed them

Relevance of ICT Tools contd …

  • Digital and cell phone cameras
    • These are easy to access, and are used by almost all learners
    • Uploads of videos and photos is simple if a little time consuming

Innovative use of ICT Tools

  • Using Facebook to drive the project was fun, effective and saved classroom time
  • I feel it transformed my usual classroom practise – as teacher I was one step removed from the instruction role and became a distance facilitator
  • Self direction was encouraged

Educator as change agent

  • Learners took on a serious topic and worked harder than usual as they found the medium of instruction engaging
  • A deeper understanding of Climate Change and our role in mitigating carbon emissions was developed in a non-preachy way

Educator as change agent contd …

  • The school community was inspired to take on the ECO Challenge.
  • Through the Facebook group and the school website, some outsiders were also given an opportunity to share in the energy saving ideas

Learner as change agent

  • Learners made a positive difference in the school community
  • Awareness of Power Saving was raised
  • The class inspired other classes and teachers to look for innovative alternative energy sources
  • The ECO Schools challenge was furthered by this class

Community Project

  • This project had an influence on our school community and beyond
    • Facebook is a social network.
    • Learners and teachers outside the classroom collaborated in this group
  • The success of the “Polar Bear Day” alternative Energy Source cookout was impacted by the work done by the Gr 8s

Content Project

  • Content was developed on the Facebook Discussion Board
    • This was available to all group members
  • Brochures and posters were developed from research done during the project
    • These were used by other grades in the school

Final Comments

  • Facebook has been vilified and banned by many educators as a waste of time – and a lot of the time it is. However, it has potential to reach the community positively
  • Our school is piloting a Marketing project which uses Facebook to reach learners and past pupils, so this project fits into our school ethos.
  • .

Final Comments continued ….

  • This Unit fits in with our ECO Schools project on Sustainable Living, of which our Polar Bear Day is an important part.

Final Comments continued ….

  • Collaboration across Learning Areas has a positive effect on staff relations and on helping learners to see connections between different subjects

Final Comments continued ….

  • English is often seen as a classroom based subject only, but this way, the learners were given the chance to use their ICT skills in an engaging way to improve reading and writing skills.

Let’s FACE(book) it …….



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