The Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry is Victoria’s newest high school, offering a truly personalized education. Through a formal inquiry process, learners at PSII develop interdisciplinary pathways leading to learning activities that take them through a curriculum all their own, while also meeting or exceeding BC graduation requirements.
While visiting PSII today some valuable insight into the world of alternative inquiry based schools was had. I found it interesting just how much choice the students had and how different this was in comparison to the traditional setting most of us are used to. While having the chance to chat and observe students and teachers, just how big these differences are became apparent. The school focuses on completely different core values and competencies then public schools but then molds them to fit the BC ministry guidelines after the fact.
As seen below many values include open inquiry and collaborative learning. This is a cutting edge way of thinking about how students learn best. With the new BC curriculum the ability for more inquiry is present, however, PSII takes this to the next level. They have no formal classrooms or assigned teachers. Instead students are encouraged and free to dive deep into topics that interest them, finding the answers to questions they are most passionate about.
Having such open curriculum makes it hard to organize projects and students. At PSII they use Trello to help organize the students learning and make their own lives easier. This is a great tool for while using inquiry projects. In class we use Trello and have first hand experience into why this is such a wonderful tool that can be used in our own classes.
IMovie is an intuitive video and picture editing platform that lets you assemble and customize your videos. IMovie is great for allowing users to edit each individual clip by adding background music, visual effects, text and audio over top. Because the IMovie platform is super easy to use it allows teachers to integrate the use and creation of videos into their classrooms and lesson plans.
Another great application that can be used to intergrade into the classroom is Garage band. This is an audio editing platform that is also very intuitive and easy to use. It allow students to be able to use online instruments like guitars, percussion and piano. Moreover, they are able to play around with these different sounds to create music or edit other sounds.
In class we went through a helpful tutorial that helped us understand how these applications can be used in a classroom setting. This session was very informative and helped me gain a higher level of confidence. I now feel i would be able to implement these techniques in my own classroom. I cannot believe that I have had these applications on my computer and had never used them before. Below I have put a link to my edited video.
Video Conferencing with Ian Landy was great insight into talking informative feedback, e-portfolios, blogging and tweeting!
E-Portfolios are great way to digitally collect course related work created by a student but are not limited to only academic work. Aspects like community work and extracurricular activities can also be added. These are great for documenting a students learning and development over the school year. E-portfolios allow student to reflect and assess their completed academic work better. By using applications like Freshgrade teachers are moving away from traditional reports and instead the implementation of only portfolios. It will be interesting to see how the grading landscape will change in the future as it is influenced by technology.
I think it is important for teachers to always engage in professional learning and become life long learners. In today’s world new methods of teaching and technology changes rapidly. For the sake of staying up to date on new teaching methods EdCamps can be a valuable tool.
EdCamps are completely free and participant driven letting the participants take the session in the directions they are passionate about learning further. This is more beneficial compared to hiring an expensive key note speaker. Participants will have a great deal of experience in the field allowing the ability to dive deep into the subject.
During our EdCam experience I found it beneficial to listen to others experiences in out door learning environments as children and how they differed from mine. We shared ideas on how to implement outdoor environments in our own future classrooms.