Technology can make research projects enjoyable…who would have thought??!

28 Apr

Working with students is the reason I decided to pursue a career in education. The one thing that I hated while attending school was having teachers design typical, “Traditional” teaching assignments. Learning should be fun and something new where the students are engaged and come to class not to learn but to have fun. Designing lesson plans to get students excited about learning is something that I strive for in ever lesson I create and this past project is an example of me doing just that:

I have a student who I am tutoring that is concerned with the STAAR testing, more specific the writing portion of the test. What I am doing is designing lesson plans so the student can learn reading comprehension skills while finding an apprehension for reading and writing.

I presented him with the opportunity of doing a research project over anything that he wanted to do, I love giving students this option because they always feel that they need to answer with an educational topic. The first topic the student chose was over the Alamo. While this is a good strong, topic I wanted him to do something he would actual enjoy doing research over and something that he can show off his knowledge of later in life. The student ended up deciding to do a research project over “The History of Dubstep.” Which addressed a number of TEKS. We came up with two unit questions  Since this is such a new topic of study in music we went to the internet to do our research. As the student looked on the internet I too was on the computer looking for information as well, manly to help produce Inquiry Based Questions to ask the student to help expand his KWL chart.

Towards the end of our lesson I informed my student that I would be creating a blog for him and that next week he would give me an oral presentation of what he had learned and we would record it on a Podcast, this would be so he could have something that he could show to his family and friends on what he had learned and he could show off the steps it took for him to get to the end result. This was a concept that he absolutely fell in love with. He does not have a computer at home so the only access the student has to the internet is at the local library or at school. So this was something that was new and exciting for him. At the end of the session I showed the student his blog and asked him to give a summary of what we had done for that session as he told me I would write what he said and after I would have him go back and edit the summary so it would grammatically make sense.

Since our project was about the history of a certain type of music genre we decided that a podcast would be the best way to show the different types of music and it would be something that students never think they can do. Videos are all around students but radio is something that is fading about from our society so bring something that they have no idea about is something that students will always remember.

As we went though the research process I was having the student number on his KWL chart how he would want to arrange his topics. This was something that is very helpful for students when using this strategy because if you have a good unit question then it will bring new questions up throughout the research process and a student can become lost in his thoughts when it comes time to move the thoughts to a final project. We orally went through how the format to the podcast would go before we started. Once we felt that we were ready we did our first recording. The funny thing about doing a radio interview is that you feel that it is not to difficult since you are only talking but once you start, everything that you wanted to say is lost and it isn’t until after you are finished that you remember what you wanted to say. This is especially turn if you are recording radio, it really takes a few tries to get the format you want down. After listing to the first one it was the students suggestion to rerecord a second interview  I noticed that there were a few topics that the student could elaborate more on. So, I asked the student some more questions like “what are some accomplishments that the artist has had?” “Now, that we have gone through our first draft do you think there is a new way you want me to ask you the questions?”

Here is the link to the students blog. In the blog is where you can see what the student did for that day, his KWL chart as well as our podcast. Hopefully this gives you some suggestions when working with students and assigning them with a resource project. Making a podcast is something that is fast, east, requires no prior knowledge, and something that is in fun for you and the student. Enjoy!!

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3 Responses to “Technology can make research projects enjoyable…who would have thought??!”

  1. Monique Martinez May 7, 2013 at 2:35 am #

    First off…Your blog is a BIG DEAL in my home to my 13 year old daughter. She talks about dubstep all the time and when I read your blog, I immediately called her over to read it too. Two things: AWESOME idea in using a topic that students can relate to and are interested in. Second: Bravo on using this topic to introduce them to technology!! The whole thing was a win-win, in my opinion!

    The only critique I have is the length of your entire blog. Maybe if it was broken up into sections, it might have been easier to follow.

    I have bookmarked your blog into my favorites and plan to use it as a reference in the future! Excellent job, as usual!

    • jeremiahgonzalez May 7, 2013 at 2:38 am #

      Yeah, that’s the same criticism that I got for the post about Digital Story making but I felt that if I was broken down then the entire blog post would feel diluted and loose it’s flow. I could always just put the rest of the post on another page, maybe I’ll do that.

      Thanks for bookmarking my blog and that it is helping you!!

  2. Alex May 7, 2013 at 3:25 am #

    This was such a great idea! I’m glad that at least with this project we have the freedom to do whatever we want to. If I had more time, I probably would have done something cooler like that instead of working on something students were already kind of working on.

    I think I may have done my student’s blog wrong because I only have two posts. I don’t know how you got three because I thought I followed the guidelines and there were only two parts that said to do something with the student’s blog, but I could be wrong!

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