Learning about communication

A final fanfare for the wonderful year 9S geography group of 2013-2014 has produced some great results. Following a course of ‘world development’ all year, student has been on a journey from general concepts through to specific examples. We ended up in the USA, examining a few important issues such as whether development posed environmental difficulties related to water supply in the arid western areas around Phoenix and the issues of international migration into the USA from Central America.

The idea behind this final piece was to present some findings from their research. Probably too often teachers present students with a task to do. A step on from this is to give them a choice, a graduated menu, from which to choose. As a final piece in the year, and as preparation for the notion of research and fieldwork investigation in subsequent years, students completed a proposal form to outline their own task. In this case, work was then going to be marked according to the extent to which the students met their own objectives (assuming, of course, that they were ambitious and academically demanding enough – and they were!).

One option that we discussed was to use the Adobe Voice app to capture and guide their ideas. It’s a great tool for learning because the app itself is designed to support the idea of communication of a message.

Students record their own voice and match it to images from a databank of ones provided or select something from their camera roll on the iPad. Brevity is encouraged and a tightly shaped argument evolves, supported by the structure which Voice recommends (unless students wish to make their own choices).

Students therefore had to think carefully about their message and their target audience – exactly the skills that are necessary in any communications and marketing campaign. Learning some great geography therefore, one more, had a secondary and important focus on equipping students for their next steps in education but also for the world beyond school.

Once more, the students rose to the challenge, thought carefully about the materials available to them, their core idea and how to communicate it. Technology simply helped them to realise their vision and was a support to their learning.

So, two examples here. First (at the top) from Mila, Eloise, Olivia and Hermione uses Adobe Voice. The app is very good at giving prompts for how to cover the salient parts of a message, although do note that the sharing options on the app are very limited, so these are grabbed through screencast.

The second is from Niah and Immy and shows what can be achieved if you incorporate your own video editing.

Find out more about how to use iPads in Geography classes

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