Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bitstrips - when the sum is more than the parts.

The following is from a weekly column I write in the OCDSB Business & Learning Technologies e-Newsletter called Curriculum Connections.

This morning I had the privilege of working with an awesome group of grade 5/6’s using Bitstrips as our medium. The students were introduced to the application last week and happily spent the class creating their avatars, and their families’, after having seen their teacher’s example, which included her family and her dog. We are using Character Education to drive this unit, with links to Language Arts expectations and Learning Skills.

Today’s task was to take one of the traits from the Character Wheel, conveniently found in their planner, and create a digital story. They were asked to consider what it would look like in a school setting and how students might act or talk to each other. As a reflection piece the work would be posted in the computer lab for discussion.

But we never got to the assignment.

The students quickly saw that, through the on-line class-sharing mode, many comments were posted from classmates, and their teacher. (Teachers can select to moderate comments). They were excited to expand their stories, and invite comments or reply to other comments in the queue in a blog-like atmosphere. What struck me most was how positive and supportive their comments were, and how respectful the depiction of other students was in their social stories. Character traits were fundamentally embedded into their conduct, both online and in class.

Future lessons will break down the ten traits for discussion and understanding, but sometimes true character speaks for itself.  

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