Intel training has led to thinking about questions and how to ask good ones. Specifically how to ask open ended questions for units that are sufficiently broad so that students can take them in a few different directions. I am trying to create a unit for year 12 English, which of course is a prescribed course and a lot of the content has to fit into some pretty tight restrictions. This said, the questions should still be thought provoking enough to allow, in fact encourage, students to want to take them further. I have settled on ‘How do people’s environments affect them?” this is fairly broad but still leads to the unit focus, which is Orwell’s world and how it relates to his fiction.
As our year 11 students work through their blogging experience their teachers are preparing to take them even further into the wonderful world of the web with hyperfiction. they are going to create their own pieces after viewing several examples already on the web. A new one that I have come across is the very cool Inanimate Alice. This is well worth exploring as an accomplished piece of hyperfiction, it would really amaze those students who love visual and multimedia texts and those who love a good story.
I was thinking last night about how to approach the Context work coming up within the VCE study for my year 12s. I have two classes and lots of creative and clever students who would benefit from being encouraged to express themselves in a variety of ways, not just in 100 minutes of class time on paper. I would really love to encourage them to create multimedia texts to fit with the Context ‘Encountering Conflict’. We’re using the text ‘The Secret River’ by Kate Grenville as a prompt for the Context. Students need to respond to the issues as examined in the text. I wonder how much longer the VCE is going to stay in the format that it is using currently when we’re moving in different directions with middle years students?
I am sure that a blog or wiki would be a powerful way of creating texts with more depth of meaning than a written text alone. It would also allow students to carefully consider the concepts of audience and genre in a more detailed way, which is a core requirement. I’m not sure that VCAA have any rules about doing this via multimedia at the moment one way or the other, maybe it is something that I should explore in more detail.
Obviously there are issues of verification at stake and again, I’ll need to explore this in more depth. I think that this is something I’ll work on and do some research. Stay tuned…..