The small but important shift for me was moving from ‘Where might this outcome be used in the world?” to ‘Who would actually use these skills?” At first I didn’t really understand the difference. I had developed projects such as having student build electrical circuits that serve a purpose, doorbell, light switches etc, but is that really thinking like an electrician? What are the many skills an electrician needs beyond a simple circuit? How are circuits represented on a blueprint? How does an electrician read a blueprint? What other curricular areas such as math would be needed? Measurement? Cost? How is technology changing the trade? What language arts objectives would be relevant; safety, job applications, training manuals?
The more I began to ask myself which professionals use these outcomes, the easier it became to develop cross curricular projects. Connecting to experts and expanding on who is “an expert” also shifted meaning. Our grade 6 students became campaign managers, architects, engineers, advertisers and more. By taking on the ‘actual’ role, learning became meaningful and connected in new and expanding ways.
Kim Durnford, elementary teacher, Technology Learning Leader, hoping one day to get the hang of Twitter and looking forward to summer travel.