Most students moving from primary to secondary school have diverse backgrounds. Rådalslien School in Bergen, Norway, accepts new students from a range of different primary schools, and experience has shown that their computer skills are varied. The school saw the need for a common introduction to ICT, and teacher Jonny Eriksen was assigned the task of creating a solution. The result? An award-winning three-hour introduction course in itslearning.
The course helps Jonny pinpoint the exact ICT skills of his students. The students see the assignments as varied and fun, and an important goal is to keep them engaged during the course. Therefore, many of the tasks have a hidden agenda.
Watch Jonny Eriksen talk about how itslearning is used at his school.
"The course starts with an interactive treasure hunt in which I ask the students to find keywords on different websites," Jonny says. "I place keywords on the school’s website, and on popular websites such as Flickr, YouTube and Wikipedia. While most students regard this as a fun assignment, the actual idea is to let them test new media."
Jonny also set assignments connected to ICT skills in general, such as searching the internet.
Relevant on different levels
Jonny’s introduction course won an award in the category Creative use of itslearning at the Share & Use Conference in Sandvika, Norway, in 2010.
If you read Norwegian you can read more about Jonny’s project on his blog – or you can join his course in the itslearning Community and see how it works. Look for the course "Jonny Eriksen" in the list of Norwegian courses.Jonny argues that itslearning is perfect for this kind of course because it can combine several different media. For example, you can mix text with video from online video sites such as YouTube. "One of the tasks is to watch a video and summarise it in a short text. This is a valuable exercise on how to submit texts in itslearning. The movie focuses on social competence and bullying, which makes it relevant on several different levels," Jonny explains.
Kids of today love computer games, and Jonny uses this to his advantage by using a simple game that focuses on problem solving and logic. After having played the game, students are asked to express their opinion of it in an online discussion and so also gain experience of how to behave in interactive discussions.
In a modern learning platform such as itslearning, students are not limited to the use of text; they can submit sound, video and images as well. As part of the course, Jonny asks his students to download and install a free 3D drawing program, and then create and hand-in a drawing. But instead of handing-in a hardcopy of the drawing to the teacher, students upload the drawing to a common shared folder in itslearning, which the entire class has access.
According to Jonny, the task shows that all students have different skills, and that they can learn from each other by cooperating and sharing ideas.
As a teacher, Jonny admits that itslearning doesn't solve every problem, but because it offers so many possibilities, it's a great tool if used creatively. "I once made a button that started a music file – simply by using an HTML embed code I found on the internet. Perhaps the use of embed codes requires more skills than that of an average teacher, but it is simple when you know how to do it."
Posted on Fri, September 30, 2011
by Øyvind Flatnes