1. A short explanation/description of the artifact.
I will make the personalized learning environment available to the student in two ways.
First, I will be using Google classroom to individualize student assignments, activities, and assessments to each student. This year, Google classroom has improved the service to include the ability to assign and assess student work on an individualized basis and communicate with each individual student, tracking their progress throughout the year. Google classroom allows me to assign primary and secondary source readings, map activities, and other homework assignments. I can collaborate with students on writing assignments, give them instant feedback, have them blog about topics concerning their historical focus, and also include them into larger classroom discussions. I can also include parents on Google classroom so they can be an active part of the personal learning environment. The ability to communicate the standards and expectations to the students and parents is a major reason I will be using Google classroom. I have included video tutorials of both. I will also include screen shots of how I will use Google classroom.
Second, I will be using Symbaloo to design a platform for students to access information. Their Symbaloo site can be catered to their historical focus, and will help to guide them in their coursework. I have chosen the topic of women’s role in history and have included links to websites and resources that students would find helpful in their personal learning environment.
2. How it demonstrates that you have met your goals.
The plan and artifacts show that I have begun the process of developing a personalized learning environment for my students, and amended it so that it is applicable to all social studies teachers in my building and district.
3. How will you use the artifact or how will you build on it in the future?
Developing an idea for a personal learning environment in my social studies classroom was a challenge for me in a couple of ways. In a majority of the social studies classes that I have taught we have followed a chronological sequence, as this makes the most sense when studying American and world history. So coming up with an individualized plan for each student was difficult because I am used to having the students be together chronologically. The second difficulty for me was thinking of a constructive way to allow the students more freedom and for me as the instructor to have less control. I struggle with class time that is somewhat chaotic, which can be the norm during project-based activities.
I also wanted to develop a personal learning environment model so that other social studies teachers could apply it to their classrooms in our building and in our district. If all the social studies teachers used this model, then students would be more comfortable with the process and they would have a deeper commitment to meeting the standards.
Considering what I want to accomplish, along with what my challenges are, my plan for a personal learning environment for now is a blend of my traditional classroom and the student’s personal learning environment. What I envision for the future would be a more fully personalized learning environment.
Alongside my traditional classroom and content, I will implement an individualized component that focuses on historical groups that are too often marginalized or completely left out of the narrative and learning experience for students in social studies class. It will be the student’s responsibility to cover that particular group throughout the year and report on their role throughout the historical time periods we are covering. This could be done in both American and world history, and an obvious focus for students would be the accomplishments and contributions of women throughout history- but there would also be many other groups that students would cover.
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