Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Horizon Project: What do the students think after week 1?

At the start of Week 2 of the Horizon Project I recorded a podcast with my Grade 11 ITGS class to document how they feel the project is progressing. I also asked them what they thought about the use of either British or American English and whether they perceived any problems with using one or the other or both. This concept of an international standard has been a hot topic for discussion on the Horizon Project Ning this week (a private Ning for teachers and participants in the Horizon Project). We have been considering the possibilities and trying to establish a mode of working for this type of international project.

In summary, the main points the students have raised today:
  • A feeling that the project has got 'too big' compared to the Flat Classroom Project with too many wiki pages to look at
  • Acknowledgement that some students are working well and that the Project Managers job is doable within the structure provided
  • Ongoing feelings of frustration when students from other classes do not communicate
  • Concern that the timeline is not long enough (6 weeks may be better)
  • Problems with the facility of Wikispaces (one student has emailed the Help desk already over this)
  • Discussion about the use of different communication methods and whether they are enhancing the project or not
  • British vs American English: a general feeling that this is not important and that communication of the message is and should be the main focus
Overall, do not be put off by the negativity of some of these responses. My students are always very honest with me and I appreciate this candid approach. I think what they have to say is valid and that it is a fair assessment of the state of play at this stage in the project.

I welcome your responses to this podcast.


Darren Draper said...

Interesting conversation (in your podcast). I was very intrigued by the students' responses to Twitter and English spellings.

To summarize my feelings about spellings (as I sent them via Twitter):

Given that the largest % of your visitors are from the US, it might be best that you spell "in Rome as the Romans spell" - so as to cater to your largest audience.

But, then again, I'm a "US-centric yankee" - so you can take my opinion for what it's worth. : )

Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher said...

My students and I discussed things as well -- they are a little frustrated with some partners not communicating as well. Also, they are struggling with when is it research and when am I predicting. We'll chat tonight and discuss what we can do to simplify things!

Julie Lindsay said...

I am posting this on behalf of Paul Fairbrother who sent this via email (he was having trouble accessing this comment facility).

"Some brief thoughts Julie.

On reflection, perhaps 6 weeks would have been more appropriate for this ambitious project, which is certainly a step-up from its
predecessor (Flat Classroom Project). This would allow students chance to get to know each other and engage with the requirements of the project. It would also perhaps mitigate to a certain extent the
frustrations felt by some students when their counterparts do not
communicate in a timely fashion/at all (!). No doubt some of the
students are also a little anxious as this kind of activity may well
be new to them and indeed they may lack confidence in the use of some
of the technology tools. It is good to hear that the students are not
fazed by whether US/UK/other English is being used."