As the final project for course 1 of COETAIL, the teachers had to get together into groups and come out with a project. So while at The Networked Educator weekend PD, I had a brainwave. I thought it would be an amazing idea to develop a wiki, maintain and develop by students, for new students, new teachers and in fact anyone in the community to get tips on the best goods and services in Tokyo. For example, the best pizza restaurant, the best bakery, the best supermarket, the best cinemas, the best shrines and so on. We could add a brief history of certain areas of Tokyo, maps, basic Japanese language lessons and so on.
I pitched the idea to the other teachers at my school that are also doing the COETAIL course: Miss Seed (a social studies teacher), Mr. Baker (a history teacher) and Hosoi Sensei (a Japanese teacher) as each of their students could contribute a large part to the wiki. They loved the idea so we started brainstormed the possibilities. As we started talking, the idea evolved into a website maintain by all of the students in the school. And instead of having just recommendations, we decided to develop it into a school website, that is made by the students, for the students and the greater community. It would be less formal than the official website and all of the content would be created and managed by the students, the teachers would have no say (within reason) what goes onto the site because it wouldn’t be theirs, it would be the students.
We thought this would be a great way to empower the students, involve all the students and teachers of the school in the process and develop a closer community not only with the students, but with the wider community as they could see first hand what the students are doing at special events, interesting features of the school, etc.
So we got together and develop the following unit outline:
We actually wrote up the unit very quickly as we were all thinking along the same line, from chats at COETAIL meetings as well as on the trips down and back from YIS. We are all very excited to start the ball rolling, I have actually started a lesson with one Grade 7 class where we brainstormed the name of the website and will start with the design of the heading/logo. In one of my Grade 6 classes, I plan to do a website design lesson to develop an understanding of the layout of a good website so that we can develop the structure of the website. Once we have the site up and running, we can start inviting other students in other classes and grade to develop the content. Hopefully by the end of the school year, we should have a functional and up and running website that we can share with the world.