quarta-feira, 22 de janeiro de 2020

Story of Implementation: Monstrous creatures (EN-CUR-204)

Browsing the list of Europeana Learning Scenarios, I've decided to use Monstrous Creatures (EN-CUR-204) by Natalia Targa, since I felt could be adapted to an information literacy activity for portuguese 5th year students, in ICT class. Due to the differences in age of the students and themes of the class, this scenario was adapted to our specific context rather than straightforwar applied.

Catch Your Monster: An Information Literacy Activity

Our goal: with young students from Agrupamento de Escolas Venda do Pinheiro, use Europeana to foster learning about internet search techniques, use digital communication tools, and develop keyboard skills.

The challenge: let's use Europeana to catch some monsters?

The original scenario was developed as a search and discussion activiy for 19 year old students in lnaguage classes. Our students are 10 year olds, in ICT class. Therefore, the discussion part of the scenario wasn't used, and the links referred were used as a topic starter with our pupils. Furthermore, due to severe time restraints, this implementation had to be done with nine 5th year groups of 26 students, with a 50 minute class for each group.

From an information literacy point of view, using Europeana in an activity enables teachers to deeply explore ICT concepts. Since student's can't rely on search engines autocomplete and autocorrect tools, they have to pay attention to what they write in the search box. It's also a way to show students that online search does not begin and end with Google or other search engines, and that indepedent digital archives can be a powerful way to find targeted results, instead of just using blind trust in a search engine algorithm.

The main theme - monsters, was used to spark student's interest, and also explored, using brainstorming, small concept map. This was done in order for find further keywords, either in portuguese or english, that enabled broader search results.

Europeana use was demonstrated, prior to the search activity. Specifically, pupils learned how to search using single or combined keywords, and filter the results by media type, or cathegory. Information literacy wise, this was a great opportunity to teach kids about tagging information, and what using tags to describe content enable, from search  to machine learning. Also, learning about filtering search results to refine information.

Then, onwards to the task. Groups of pupils (due to materiel constraints, pairs or trios) had to search Europeana using keywords associated with the theme Monsters. From the results, they had to choose three images, and send them to the teacher, correctly referenced. However, they could not download any of the images. They had to use the class email to compose a message, correctly stating the subject of the email, and use the body to paste the direct URL for each of their chosen images. Due to time constraints, we decided not to ask them to identify each chosen image, but they had to correctly state their origin.

Using this scenario, Europeana was a tool for children to develop online search strategies, formal digital communication skills using email, and proficiency in the use of computer interfaces and keyboard writing. This might seem a rather prosaic use of Europena, but keep in mind that pupils who participated in this activiy are very young, and often struggle with the most basic computer use (either because prior to ICT class they rarely used computers, or due to being used to touch-screen mobile device interfaces, that have different interaction principles).

But, beyond and in my view far more important, using Europeana gives the students a perception of the importance of our european common heritage, by viewing and interacting with artifacts representative of different european traditions and histories.

That's essentially it, but the activity has some continuity beyond this time frame. The results chosen by the groups will be used as content for small informatiom tools literacy projects, using text processing, presentations or visual programming with children-friendly computer languages (essentially, Scratch). But that's still in the future.

Tl; DR: version:

- Adaptation of the LS Monstrous creatures (EN-CUR-204) by Natalia Targa to an information literacy activity for portuguese 5th year pupils in ICT class;
- Specific goals, information literacy: develop search techniques, understand keywords, learn to refine search, learn to use search engines, discover digital archives; identify and reference information.
- Specific goals, computer literacey: compose messages using digital communications tools; proficiency in computer interface and peripherals (keyboard, mouse).
- Outcomes: an email message per group, sharing chosen URLs, correctly referenced.

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