Friday, 1 April 2016

Thinking critically about current events

This has taken me far too long, but I finally got there! Here is a snapshot of the first decent looking site I have created. Presenting... the Manaiakalani Current Events site!

The MDTA Cohort was assigned the task of creating a site which would be used primarily by teachers of learners at year 2/3 to year 9 at High School. The site aims to provide a clear structure to address Current events in a way that encourages critical thinking through the exploration of different perspectives. The great thing about this site is that, should you not care for the content within our pages, the HTML of the page has been attached at the bottom of each page as an RTF (Rich text file), making this layout accessible to all!

The need for this site was brought about by a current teacher of Year 9 Social studies at Tamaki College, Auckland. Wanting to cover current events in his class but struggling to get depth from his learners, one teacher came to us in his quest for improvement.

The pages within this site have been designed to appeal to learners of all kinds, providing information about an issue through a range of media i.e. Videos, audio files, pictures, and articles. By breaking content into bite-sized pieces, the pages within our site seek to make exploring perspectives much more accessible through multi-modal prompts.

True to Manaiakalani 'Learn, create, share' pedagogy, each page suggests a form of creation to come from the perspectives the pages prompt exploration of.

Something that I found quite challenging, asides from the fun technical difficulties to do with HTML, was choosing the content to put on my page, as I didn't really have a clear idea of what it was I wanted my learners to come out of the sessions with. Once I painted a more vivid picture of what it was that I wanted them to explore and consider, I was able to add and delete content more purposefully.

The designing of this site prompted me to think about how often I provide quality and unique opportunities for my learners to create. It also gave me really practical skills to use when creating a site! Probably the most valuable thing I took away from this task has been my level of engagement. When the task was introduced, I was almost wriggling in my seat, rearing to go, I just wanted to get started. The ownership, the motivation, the engagement, it was all there; it got me thinking "is this how I am making my learners feel? If not, what can I do to make them this excited to get stuck into it?"

I am very much looking forward to working on my next site, stumbling through problems, problem-solving, and emerging victorious! (with other people's help, of course).

A few posts ago, I mentioned how HTML seemed a whole world away. Look at us now.

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