The main target of my major project is to improve the responsibility of students in using handheld devices in the classroom and school, and the focused method of influencing these students will be through a 12 or so minute presentation to about 350 students at a time, one presentation to Grade 9 and 10’s and one presentation to Grade 11 and 12’s during Advisory. I have permission from my principal and after completing the Major project outline (Part 2) recently, I have progressed to developing the presentation and slideshow.
I keep find myself researching more and digging deeper into the topic of digital citizenship. The amount of information seems bottomless and much of what has been developed is really great information, considerations and plans to have students develop into good digital citizens (ISTE, Media Smarts, Iamstronger to name a few great resources). In fact the amount of knowledge I have gained in doing this research has been wonderful, but now I would love see these great ideas, policies, insights and cautions make there way to teachers and students. Although it seems I could research a whole book, I have decided I just must work with what I currently have and know if I am to present in the next couple weeks. However, we have reporting period, 3 way conferences and a few other school events happening at this time, so scheduling is a little tight, I will have to make it work like so many other challenges in teaching! I developed a Google form to have students give me some information on how much time they spend on their phones and which social media applications they use the most. I was going to gather this data live during the presentation, with Polleverywhere, but ultimately was worried it would overload the wifi and take to much time of the 15 mins available. Once I gather the information from students I will then translate this back with graphs and total times on a phone per month and year and eventually a lifetime. Also, I will show the RSPH graphic (Page 18) about the overall positive or negative effect of social media apps on the 14 indicators discussed in my first major project blog. I hope both of these concepts have an emotional effect on students to engage them to be mindful of how much time and what apps they use on their phones.
I was lucky enough to be asked by a colleague to help mark some Grade 12 English presentations on homelessness. This was a good professional development activity while planning to do a presentation to the student body. Many had slideshows and good ideas while others had handouts and various level of ability to present. It really made me aware of how little I actually read that came up on the screen, as I tended to just looked at pictures and listen more than anything. I will keep these lessons in mind as I finish up my slideshow and presentation early next week.
I have also decided to model the presentation to be much like the TedTalks that are popular online and seem to educate and entertain, with a slight twist whereby I will take excerpts from other peoples’ presentations online (YouTube, TedTalks) to have different speakers and graphics displayed, attempting to move away from a boring old powerpoint presentation that seems almost cliche at this point. I am also going to discuss distracted driving, mental health effects and general cautions about to much screen / online time. As well, I will end the presentation on a happy note about living life to the fullest and maybe have some comedic relief at the end to have students leave with positive mindset, as I feel positive experiences create more reflection, whereas negative or sad experiences will cause audiences to block out and not think about what has been presented (anyone agree or disagree here?).
I have never spent this much time in preparing for a 15 minute lesson but am excited to see how it goes and if it has any impact on student attitudes. I don’t think the effects will be very noticeable right away as with drunk- driving presentations of my youth (were they different because they were often so scary and sad?), but I hope eventually many of the students will reflect back and remember the cautions and information presented when they are ready to look at their phone use critically. I also have to prepare a bunch of background details such as the projector, microphone, video recorder to record presentation and perfecting the timeline of the presentation. I will gather feedback, likely with Google forms again, from teachers and students about one week after the presentation to see if the event sparked some thought or change and what suggestions or feedback people will offer. Like many of the education, woodworking or building projects I have ever undertaken, what seems like not too complicated or time-consuming of a task at the start, can often develop into quite a large and complex project by the end. This project is turning out to be a large undertaking, especially if you include Einstein time, as I have spent a number of middle of the night hours reviewing ideas in my head about how to best present the information, but such is the life of a teacher, student and leader!