School Name: Spencer Middle School
School District: SD#62 Sooke
Inquiry Team Members:Amanda Macclean: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cynthia Berenyi: email@example.com
Inquiry Team Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Intermediate (4-7)
Curricular Area(s): Applied Design, skills & Technology, Career Education
Focus Addressed: Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Experiential learning, STEM / STEAM
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? How do we create independent learners with the use of core competencies and hands on learning?
Scanning: We used the question: what’s going on for our learners in their computer classes? We noticed that during hands-on activities, the students seemed engaged and acted more independently. We also noticed that they were struggling with self-reflecting using the core competencies.
Focus: We want the students to be able to reflect on their own thinking and connect with the core competencies. We want to develop independent learners. We want to provide more opportunities for hands on learning.
Hunch: We noticed that many of the classes did not involve hands on learning experiences. We felt that hands on learning might provide an opportunity for students to be engaged and act independently, and that they could reflect on their learning and independence using the core competencies.
New Professional Learning: We explored student independence, core competency student self-assessments, and hands on learning activities, such as the use of robotics, in a computer classroom.
Taking Action: Strategies that were used were to break down the activity into smaller mini lessons so that students felt comfortable with the next steps, and the teacher felt more comfortable teaching smaller steps. Having a visual Powerpoint was also an action that was crucial to students seeing visuals in the beginning stages of planning. Using basic coding with a hands on coding device helped all students feel successful before moving onto to a more sophisticated coding device. Giving the students time to also play was important.
Checking: Students enjoyed the hands-on activities more than working on a computer, as long as they had a chance to be involved in the activity. This was a significant change and the teacher was satisfied to see more students involved. Ultimately, groups of two with time for each person to use the technology is the most ideal. The students’ learning is richer for having learned about technology that some have never seen before.
Reflections/Advice: From this Inquiry, we learned that we, the teachers, can find technology overwhelming. It was important for us to go through the inquiry step by step with an advanced leader to help gain confidence. We think it is important to try new things, even if they are overwhelming and to bring that kind of experience to your lessons and to your students. Students feel more confident when they know that everyone is learning and it is safe to problem solve without knowing the answer right away. We would recommend teachers take some time in groups to play with technology on their own to develop a lesson, as well as find ways to work as a team to help each other to feel more comfortable and confident.