Back in May, I shared my plans for a Year 9 film analysis assignment using Microsoft 365’s Notebook and Office Mix. The last week of term was probably never the best time to execute this ambitious plan but nothing ventured nothing gained!
Overall, the class of able, very self-managing learners completed comprehensive analysis of Ang Lee’s Life of Pi via shared pages in a class notebook. The notebook also supplied them with extra reading on the role of religion in the film and commentary on coming of age genre as well as podcasts of interviews with both Ang Lee and Yann Martel so plenty of extra activities for early finishers 🙂
I’ve uploaded half a dozen of the finished products to the Mix Gallery and on reflection, now the dust has settled, I’m pretty pleased with their efforts. We skipped an essay assessment (which we’ll complete next term) so the overall learning objective was for them to create a presentation that showcased their knowledge and understanding of the film, it’s messages and the effects of film-making techniques. (I’m hoping the hyperlinks work because you generally have to sign in to Microsoft to view stuff. If not try searching under Other – Life of Pi).
I briefed the students thoroughly before we embarked on the Office Mix creation about the need to help each other out, be patient when waiting for my assistance and encouraged them not to panic if technical issues prevented them from completing to the standard they wanted. This made a huge difference to how the next three lessons progressed as they proactively supported each other so was far less stressful than previous my experiences with other learners. In short, they are the exact right group of stuents to trial such learning opportunities.
I’ll summarise the pros and cons and you can judge for yourself if this was a worthwile use of two weeks of a jam packed term:
- all five key competencies were demonstrated by all students
- students have a comprehensive set of class notes for revision later in year
- range of learning needs and styles catered for
- students worked at own speed
- collaborative environment flourished – students became teachers as we trouble shot technical issues together
- students had a chance to work in a team and create an interactive presentation that will also form part of study notes (and may be easier for some to keep track of!)
- when I was away for a day, this assignment was ideal for relief
- some groups had issues working on the shared PowerPoint consecutively, especially when doing tasks for homework
- some groups were unable to save their finished product to the school network (saving issues)
- audio option was random – cut off while some students were talking. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason for the random cut offs – some recorded fins for over a minutes some cut off at 38 seconds?!
- we used streams not surface pros so no access to stylus for annotating the plot graph although some tried free hand
- I still have to teach them to write an essay!
Our next step will be to talk about creative commons. Only one group attributed their use of content from a secondary source. If this type of assignment becomes the preferred method to consolidate learning, it seems we need some school-wide education about the use of third party content.