26 August 2013

Pinterest, the Novice's Best Friend: Genius Hour experiment, part 4

I may have gotten a little carried away pinning in Portuguese: I now have over 150 Portuguese pins on recycled art on my Reciclagem board. Some of them are just fun to look at, but some I can see myself actually doing. What's more is I was immersed in accessible authentic texts for over an hour, learning new language and applying it.

The Benefits
I learned about 10 new words from my pins this time around, but only had to look up 4 to figure them out. I reinforced my own vocabulary acquisition not just by adding them to my list, but by using them as search terms to find more pins. I felt like I was getting a prize each time my search worked! I also attempted to pronounce my new vocabulary as I searched, and some of my random Duolingo words actually came in handy, mostly animals (macacos de meias, anyone?)

Pinning might not be BIE's idea of "deep inquiry," but I feel good about how it establishes necessary vocabulary for interpretation while requiring purposeful but novice-appropriate interpretation tasks--with authentic texts, no less! The way search results reinforce vocabulary is also sure to build more lasting connections with the words too, just as one student researching midwifery was throwing around the many uses of the word parto on day 2 of the pinning. The vocabulary foundation and interpretive skills can then serve as the basis for interpersonal tasks where students discuss their topics with others and presentational tasks for framing the information along the way. With the Pinterest foundations, students should even have the tools to pursue even deeper inquiry and interpretation down the road.

Furthermore, the rewards of curating a Pinterest board are more intrinsic than extrinsic--look what I found!--and cost 100% less than, say, Mexican candy.

The Application
I did have students in Spanish 2 start their boards and vocabulary lists the first week and will have Spanish 1 start this week. Prior to pinning, though, students had to begin a Google Doc and look up 15 vocabulary words related to their topic (which I did kind of concurrently). The beauty of this step was generating search terms that would be reinforced visually in the searching and also semantically by tying them together to refine searches e.g. reciclagem de garrafas or reaproveitar caixas).

The rules for pinning were...
1) they had to search in Spanish,
2) the pins/links had to be in Spanish,
3) they needed at least 10 pins on a board they created just for Genius Hour, and
4) they had to post a link to their board/list on Schoology.

Some of the topics students chose did, however, necessitate branching out from the pins (car speakers and FJ340s come to mind), so I also accepted Diigo lists of resource links. While Google does not automatically link visual context with its sources or increase the chances of finding novice-appropriate resources (the ghost story topic has proved tricky), I think I could do some more scaffolding to help maximize Google search results. I hesitate to refer them to image searches to begin with (ghosts and cars are sure to turn up kinkiness), but I could refer students to do the search with terms of things that would have pictures, e.g. diagramas, mapas, fotos, manuales, gráficos. Fortunately, too, kids researching unpinnable topics tend to have pretty extensive backgrounds in their topics, so they can build on prior knowledge and make a lot of inferences.

What's Next?
Spanish 2 has already posted their first blog about what they're exploring (some students have already posted three or FOUR entries, one totaling nearly 400 words!), and that has been fruitful in getting them to use the language for a purpose. It also gives me a clear indication of who needs review with what (mostly with conjugation, it happens). So here are some ideas I have for future steps in the process--theirs and mine:

  • Revise a previous post and turn it into a podcast--pronunciation practice and presentational speaking, too!
  • Collect more pins/sources and divide them into at least 2 categories (possibly new boards), explaining your categories in your blog and the reason behind them.
  • Comment on three classmates' blogs and write a post about ideas you got from them.
  • Create a visual that illustrates your topic, blog a description, and then use it to explain your topic to a classmate; classmate asks any questions they need to for clarification, then creates a written description for your visual.
  • Make a YouTube playlist of videos in TL related to your topic.
  • Make a glossary (illsutrated?) for top 20 most important words to know for your topic.
  • Ask a question in TL about your topic on an online forum, e.g. mx.answers.yahoo.com, Reddit.
  • Find an "expert" (might just be another amateur who is interested), on Skype or LiveMocha to answer a survey or set of questions in TL about your topic.

Previous Genius Hour Experiment posts:

1 comment:

  1. Love following the progress in your classes with Genius Hour! Thanks for posting and sharing, it is really helping me plan for mine!

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