With the new Career & Technology Foundations (CTF) curriculum on the horizon, this year, I created an opportunity to test out the draft Program of Studies in my grade 9 Garageband option class. Before I explain what the project for this class entailed, I will provide a brief summary of what CTF is.
Designed to align with its high school counterpart Career & Technology Studies, CTF is designed to help students identify with one or more areas of interest: business, communication, human service, resources and/or technology. It is intended to blend complimentary courses, such as industrial arts, home economics, fashion studies, and computers, with core curricular areas. These blend with a myriad of occupational areas, such as forestry, computer science, networking, business & marketing, construction, legal studies, cosmetology, fashion studies, and recreation leadership. In addition, this Program of Studies lends nicely to building inquiry-based, project-centered learning activities.
CTF is designed around four prescribed learning outcomes: design, create, appraise and articulate. The design stage, design a possible solution that will enable the completion of a specified task , involves students planning out the idea for their chosen project. This is what I coined to my students at the thinking stage.
From here, students move on to the create stage where they work to create a product, performance or service that will enable the completion of a specified task . In other words, students set out to do their project.
The third stage is appraise, where students appraise the process and product, performance or service and self throughout the completion of a specified task. In other words, students assess how well they created their project – how did it turn out? This stage easily supports the use of peer- and self-evaluations (formative assessments), particularly if used in a feedback loop prior to the final appraisal.
The final stage, articulate, involves the learner to articulate the knowledge, skills and attitudes used and gained in the completion of a specified task. In this stage, the student demonstrates their understanding either through a performance element, such as a speech or presentation about his or her work.
There are many different ways one can approach implementing CTF projects into their schools. For example, one could develop a year long-progress assignment, such as a homeroom group project. Alternatively, core teachers can integrate complimentary course elements into classroom activities, such as baking Aztec hot chocolate when learning about the Spanish & Aztec in grade 8 social studies. Or, complimentary teachers can work to design projects in their classes that support learning in core subjects. This last option is the direction I chose to pursue seeing that many of my complimentary classes have been created personally. I took the position that this would provide more meaning and relevance to activities I asked my students to complete. The occupational area addressed was Communication, discovering and developing skills to relay a message effectively using various forms of media, including animation, print, photography and audio/visual. The overall project was for students to create a podcast using Garageband.
Once completing an activity of digital citizenship, as a class, students were presented with their task: to create a podcast using Garageband in which the content supports learning occurring in a core curricular area. To assist students in choosing a topic, they were provided with three options (the assignment overviews/templates are linked next to the option):
- Using language arts, link the podcast to the novel study The Outsiders (CTF Performance Assessment GBand The Outsiders).
- Using science and social studies, link the podcast to an environmental issue (CTF Performance Assessment).
- Propose a topic of your choice (CTF Design Template Fostering Creativity).
Most students chose option 1 as they were currently working on a static image assignment in language arts on the novel. A few chose option 2; none chose option 3.
Once assignments had been chosen and the design stage complete, as a class we went through a lesson on how to use Garageband to create a podcast. Using D2L as a support tool, students could access written instructions whenever needed. Students then created their podcast, with some adding additional sound effects to create a more authentic project. During this process, they were asked on three occasions to “preview” a partner’s task, thus creating a formative feedback loop. Then, once complete, students peer assessed each other, providing feedback on what was done well AND what could be done to improve the assignment. Then, students were given an opportunity to make any last revisions. They self-assessed their work using the same rubric, and then exported the file to iTunes. This was then handed in via D2L where I marked the work using the same rubric as the students.
Unfortunately, this is where we ran out of time, so we did not reach the articulate phase. However, about 2 months later, our area office organized a CTF Fair. While I could not take all of my students, I managed to find three volunteers to attend, placing their podcasts on display. Here, they were able to speak to other students, teachers, and administrators on the following:
- process in which the assignment was created
- what the chosen project was about
- what possible career choices support this form of communication technology
- who the audience of the project is directed to
- why the particular topic was chosen
- how the project was created
- how the project links to a curricular area
These students were able to engage in the articulation stage of CTF. From my perspective, while many students learnt how to use Garageband to create a podcast, through the CTF Fair, these three students learnt how this can benefit them outside of school.
Moving forward, I intend to share the projects with the corresponding curricular projects through PLC work next year. I also hope to attempt to incorporate a form of this project into grade 9 social studies, using the flipped classroom approach to support project completion. If there are any suggestions or questions, please leave them in the comment section below – I am always looking for suggestions to grow, especially if it further supports my students!