Monday, 16 January 2017

Legends Are Amongst Us

And I'm back! After a few weeks skiing in Japan, we got back into it today, starting our Summer School block course.

In preparation for the full on week, we were given nine readings to read and create thought provoking questions for prior to arrival. Each of us were then required to create an activity based on one of the readings, to share with our peers today. 

I thought this was a great way to put the research into practice, pulling out some of the key ideas from the text. Particularly when it is beautiful outside and we are still in holiday mode, it has been really difficult taking in the texts, as they are quite long and full on. The activities today were a fantastic way to revise what we had already learnt and pick up some other bits and pieces others had taken away from their reading which we may have missed among some of the jargon.

I kicked off the day with my activity first. My article (Kirschner & Merrienboer, 2013) was really interesting, and I was thankful I easily thought of some activities. If you would like to read it, click here. Check out my basic lesson plan too.

I began with a simple game of Chinese Whispers in two small groups, and then the class came together to play. When they were in small groups, there was slight error from the first person to the last, but considerable error between the first and last person when the class were together as a whole. Similarly, there are many legends in education, which we have come to believe true, however, how does one know if that 'idea' is credible? Correct? Made up? Or if what we know it to be now, is even remotely related to the initial idea years ago? The article explores three apparent legends, which I created three small activities for.

The class was split into two groups via email, then given instructions in person. Group 1 had three questions to answer (see the screenshot of the Google Form) in two minutes. Group 2 answered the same questions, but needed to listen to music and engage in an online chat at the same time as answering them. As expected, generally the students who were multitasking (Group 2) had shorter answers than those in Group 1, as you can see below, because of the divided attention between three things. This does not mean to say their answers are of any less quality, however they were attempting to do multiple things at once, so spent less time answering the questions. Legend 1 suggests students are digital natives, thus always need digital technology, and because they have technology all the time, they are effective and efficient multitaskers. This simple activity suggested otherwise.

Group 1

Group 2

Everyone were then asked to push three things of different weights, with the same force. Very quickly, they could see that the greater the force applied to an object, the further it moved, but if the same force was applied to different weights, the lighter object would move further. I then told them this is related to Newton's 2nd Law of Motion: The Law of Acceleration. To follow up students watched the below clip from 0.33-1.05, explaining the law a little further. To conclude, and revise what they had just learnt, the class were asked to record a brief description in their own words of what Newton's 2nd Law is, and then listen to a peers recording. I followed up with some probing questions and explained the relevance to the three learning styles many are familiar with - legend 2; students can be categorised into kinaesthetic, auditory or visual learners. Because of this widespread belief, many teachers, myself included, attempt to include a variety of activities to cater for these learning styles, when in fact no one can be boxed into one style of learning.

Finally, I gave everyone two minutes to find as many songs as they could which included my name in the lyrics. As expected, a few immediately had the country or the state return from their search, many chose the first link returned in their search, and most had visited three or more websites. To my surprise no one knew about search functions in Google such as -country or "Georgia in lyrics", to control and reduce Google's response a little. This was perfect to highlight we all have different understandings of how to effectively  and efficiently research, and this was something huge they didn't know. Therefore, our students must know little about how to research effectively. So, legend 3 emphasises students need to take control of their own learning and be self educators, but how can they do this if we aren't even knowledgeable on how to find answers to things we are unsure of?

We have four more days of summer school including a reading and then it is game on with planning next week. Really excited to see the kids!


  1. You have accomplished heaps in one day Georgia. Thanks for sharing this. I look forward to the next 4 days.

    1. Only about a 20 minute snippet of a busy day! Was a lot of fun interacting in others activities, I took a lot away from them. Hopefully others took something from mine.

  2. I wonder if you had done that multi tasking activity with today's 12-13 year olds (our true digital natives) whether the results might have been different? I watch my 15 year multi task on multiple devices frequently, and with seemingly good results. Love the activities you came up with to highlight the points from the reading. Ka pai.

    1. Possibly? The reading explored how students are still achieving well, but things may take a little longer than if they were solely focused on the given task, rather than flicking between multiple things. I wonder whether what you are multitasking between makes a difference to your engagement and understanding? In this example, the students may have been chatting about the topic or the task, making it a little richer than if they completed it on their own. However, if they are chatting about something completely irrelevant, the multitasking is likely to reduce their engagement and understanding of the task/content? Thanks for the comment :)


Thank you for your feedback! :)