Wednesday, 4 June 2014

A treasure hunt for the digital age

A QR code
Creative teaching need not be about play-dough and paint, but can simply be taking advantage of the learning opportunities that technology can offer - even relatively simple ones.

In this post, we share an exciting series of lessons based around the idea of a treasure hunt using student-generated QR codes. The lessons make use of Solo Taxonomy and were designed and first implemented by Rachel Jones, a teacher and blogger with a penchant for all things creative.

Engaging older learners
Rachel is an A Level sociology teacher, so she works with older students - often those who found school difficult and are hoping for a fresh start at Sixth Form.

Aside from the play-dough and paint (which she does use - along with ball pits, parachutes and 3D essay plans!), Rachel likes to indulge her geekier side. She designed this QR code treasure hunt to self/peer teach Feminist approaches to inequality, and replaced lesson plans that, the previous year, Rachel reveals, had included a 34 slide powerpoint.

The following outline was featured as part of a longer article for our magazine. You can purchase the full article hereIt also featured as part of a post from Rachel's own blog, 'Create, Innovate, Explore'You can view her original blog post (which features loads more exciting ideas for all kinds of treasure hunts) here.

Lesson one 
One student's 'treasure map'
Students were divided into small groups of two or three and given an area of Feminist enquiry into inequality to become experts in – for example Hakim, the pensions gap, and so on. Rachel gave them an hour and a half to research the topic and then create a 'treasure map' (a Solo style station) with QR codes that would enable other students to research and become experts in that area. 

"The classroom was soon filled with learners utilising their own devices to research and then create resources for the use of other groups," she says. 

By the end of the lesson, all the groups had produced QR codes (Rachel recommends for generating the codes) that linked to relevant web-based or student-generated content. 

They had achieved the unistructural phase of learning. 

Lesson two 
The students arrived with a QR scanner already downloaded onto their devices. They then worked round the room using the QR stations to complete a grid that covered the content of the specification.

Rachel was amazed at the quality of the content that the QR codes led to. She says: "Students had not only linked them to web content, but had also created podcasts, infographics, and even a twitter account (for a dead Marxist Feminist) to assist their classmates in their learning.

"The beep noises the phones make when they scan the codes made my classroom sound like Tesco checkout, but the students were totally engrossed working round the various stations to ensure that they completed the grid."

"There was a surprising amount of peer support and sharing of information," she adds. "All students completed the grid, which was a demanding amount of material."

This was the multistructural phase of their learning.

Lesson three
According to Rachel, "this was the day the sun first came out and so we decided to decamp outside." Before doing this however, she gave each group  a giant hexagon and told them to summarise their initial unistructural learning onto it. The students then took the hexagons outside and spent time as a whole class moving the hexagons around to create evaluative links between the theorists.

"This was more complicated than it sounds, and took some negotiation between the different opinions and evaluations of individual learners," Rachel says.

This negotiation, and the evaluative skills that it required to reach a collaborative conclusion, made up the relational and extended abstract phase of the learning. 

"It encouraged the learners to think beyond the information presented and utilise learning from other modules and even areas outside the formal learning of the course," Rachel explains.

Try it yourself!
This type of treasure hunt can only be successful if all your learners have access to the technology to create and undertake it. You can run into problems if they are sharing phones or devices, so you need to ensure that you plan effectively around this issue. 

However, Rachel concludes: "Because the students knew other learners would need their information to complete the task, they were invested in the quality of their output which resulted in some amazing finished pieces and an enjoyable learning experience for my class."

Visit Rachel's blog for more exciting ideas and resources for creative teaching. 

No comments:

Post a Comment