Weekly Play in Class

This week, my four sections of World History started a unit on Africa. I had two goals at the beginning of class (each class period is a 100 minute block period). The first goal was to activate prior knowledge. I asked students to write in their notebooks a KWL chart. We compiled a class list of what we know, the K column and a list of what we want to know, the W chart.

Next, I wanted to discuss our personal¬†Perceptions. I described perceptions and bias as a collection of images, activities and learning that begins at birth that shapes our cultural filters as learners. An example would be that as children, many of us watched the disney movie The Lion King. Many of us imagine these large and “exotic” animals such as lions when we think of the word Africa thanks to The Lion King and/or visits to our local zoos. Many of us have never stepped on African soil. Although we want to learn more about the people who live on the continent and live within recently independent nations, we are coming into this unit with a lot of perceptions.

To compose a class visual of our perceptions, students were asked to pull out their iPads. They created a profile and downloaded the Padlet app. Some of the students took out their phones. Next, they needed to navigate to the Padlet page that I had set up for each class period. Here is an image of our Padlet from 1st period.

Made with Padlet

I say that this was an exercise in Play because many variables were new to us. We were kind of experimenting. I did not present a ton of new content in this activity but instead asked students to participate in finding out our perceptions that we have in our data systems as learners when we hear the word Africa.

I am excited to try out other apps in class in the future. Padlet was fun but it also presented a few challenges. Many students struggle to type on Padlet (either their iPad was not cooperating or they were not prepared). My goofy sophomore students, who know that they are not receiving a grade for this assignment, sometimes typed onto our Padlet goofy things or images. I think that it is fun to collaborate, work together and use our iPads but I am not quite sure in what capacities the Padlet will serve as a useful tool in my future course lessons?