This time we’ve teamed up via the Twitter chat – me (Julija Balčiūnė), Shalene Huth, and Simon Dobson. We have agreed on a real-time communication through WhatsApp in order to arrange virtual meeting details. We accepted the time difference challenge, which wasn’t a challenge for participants in Lithuania and Russia, however, required some calculations for the participant from China 🙂
We held 4 virtual meetings via Zoom. Firstly, we defined our goals and agreed upon the tech tools we are going to use. We’ve added all this information to a shared planning document, that all of us could access any time to check some details or add necessary updates for the group communication. Then, we all dug into an exploration of digital tools that would be used in this project – Write Reader, Book Creator, ThingLink, Flipgrid, and Pear Deck. After that, we filled out the Ubd planner in order to come up with a clear scaffold of a structure of a more detailed unit plan. Finally, we all collaborated on filling in our slide deck.
Our main idea was to create a virtual library on ThingLink with students’ designed digital books created using online book creation tools – Write Reader and Book Creator. The books include personal narratives written by students and also voice records which reflect reading fluency progress made by students. After that, unit students would have to develop a higher reading fluency, manage to create a digital book design, create a narrative using all the necessary literary elements (character, plot, setting, problem, sequence, theme, solution, etc.) and share their creation as well as a reflection of their learning experience online.
Our project choice was the first one – creating a Ubd unit planner based on the enduring understandings of this course that support students in becoming Creative Communicators and Global Collaborators (ISTE Standards for Students 6 and 7). We all agreed on this choice since our previous projects were related to options 2 and 3.
The design experience for students that supplements topic of this project came to my mind, while thinking about the concept of week #3. It inspired me to teach a book design by following the most important rules and teaching about the utilization of all necessary visual elements in order to support personal narratives written as text. However, very often students add too many elements to their slides, digital books, posters, infographics, etc. Design Secrets Revealed (Keri-Lee Beasley) has been a great resource for the design ideas of digital books, that students create in the classroom.
The ISTE standard for educators that I focused on was 6.d. Model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge, or connections.
My biggest take away from this collaboration process is trust between the team members, responsibility, flexibility, active participation, and respect. My role in this teamwork was more of a collaborator and the values that I’ve mentioned are significantly supporting the process of any collaboration. During Zoom meetings we managed to work together on checking the slides and the Ubd planner which allowed us to find the gaps to be filled very effectively. Therefore, the final result of the project was generated very quickly. A positive attitude towards each other helped us hear each other’s ideas and agree on our main goal. All of us had clearly defined different roles and this was the biggest advantage that led us to succeed. My growth with this experience is valuable because I’ve improved my collaboration skills that allowed to develop ideas and find solutions, that would fulfill the vision of the project.
This project is different from my other learning experience, mostly, because of the effective collaboration via virtual calls, that improve the creation process. Moreover, the slide deck we came up with is not only the structure of the plan on the steps of the unit, but it also includes samples of interactive slides generated using a Pear Deck add-on that effectively supplements the teaching as well as learning content.
The process of collaboration might seem to be challenging, but the final result is rewarding most of the time. Learning from each other is one of the best experiences in this COETAIL journey and my experience has been really pleasant so far. During both collaboration project form courses 2 and 3 I was lucky to work with kind and professional educators 🙂 I hope you had this experience as well…