As I pondered which course and unit I wanted to revamp for this final project (it took me a while…), I knew that I wanted to choose a unit that would lend itself to 1. a revamp and 2. a summative task that would be well-suited to a digital format. The natural fit is my next unit of study with my IB SL English Language and Literature seniors – the graphic novel Persepolis.
The focus of the last semester of this course is on texts and their contexts, specifically on the way in which the social, political and historical backgrounds of a novel are important in creating and shaping meaning. In fact, one of the key questions that the IB poses to students is: “How might the contexts of the authors have influenced their portrayal of these social groups?” With an emphasis on background knowledge, this unit is perfect for redesign with a technology slant for the summative.
Honestly, I don’t have many concerns in the redesign of this unit because it already lends itself so well to the incorporation of technology. AND, working with my teaching buddy and fellow COETAIL’er, Lindsay Lyon, will be a major boon for the planning – two brains are most certainly better than one!
After Lindsay and I recently attended a tech PD session hosted by our school, we decided we wanted to step out of our (and our students’) iMovie/Prezi/Blog comfort zone and give a new presentation format a try. At the PD session, one of our middle school Humanities teachers presented on Adobe Spark. It’s relatively simple and intuitive to use, but the product is really quite impressive. Before we begin this unit, we’ll definitely need to create our own Adobe Spark presentations to work out the kinks.
Although most of us want to believe that because our students have come of age in the digital era, this automatically means that they are intuitively skilled at navigating all forms of technology. This, as I have learned too many times, is simply not true. They may be able to tweet, snapchat and Instagram their little hearts out, but when it comes to learning new tech tools, they require direct instruction. It’s kind of nice that they still rely on us…or at least that’s what they let us believe.
And so, without further adieu, the proposed Unit Plan for Persepolis:Texts and Contexts.