December 19, 2015

Final ICT Project

Posted in My Portfolio at 5:51 pm by izzatrinbago

How the utilization of Information Communication and Technology improved the learning and teaching outcomes in Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago, the largest Caribbean island in the western Hemisphere with a population of 1.3 million people is a melting pot of people of mixed race from Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and Middle East. On August 31st, 1962 the country obtained its independence from Britain and officially became the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Although the country’s education system has changed over the years the structure still reflects the methods of the British educational system. However, over the years The Ministry of Education has tailored the education more reflect the
Primary and Secondary schooling, which is comparable to the US Grades is free and Children begin Primary School at the age of 5 which last thru age 15 years progressing to secondary school after “completion of the Secondary Entrance assessment Exam which assess students learning progress which includes reasoning, numeracy, literacy reasoning and comprehension skills.” (Ali)

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago recognizes that Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) has evolved to become an important leverage in education that will lead to pedagogic changes to the curriculum in order to prepare its students for life long learning in this 21st Century. This ultimately will allow students to be competitive with other nations and will contribute to the reform of the education system that will have a lasting impact on the economy and move the country towards a more developed status. (Light)

The Ministry of Education of Trinidad and Tobago (MOETT) in trying to answer the question ”How can we prepare ourselves to participate in a globalized world in this present century and beyond.” (Hackett) In the 2005, MOETT drafted a Policy for ICT in Education which conveys that the integration of ICT within the education system will “dynamize the teaching and learning environment and by providing equity and access, would create an environment that encourages creativity, critical thinking and decision making, promote collaboration, enhance teacher skills and abilities, facilitate the development of partnership between school communities and other public and private sector.”(Rampersad) Thereby enabling students to be at a comparable level as other students in other countries that is more prone to a knowledge based system.

The Ministry of Education has and is continuing to invest a lot of its financial resources in technology as the benefits of having an education system and curriculum that is infused with ICT will become more vital for the advancement of the economy. As a result, the infrastructure of Trinidad and Tobago has evolved to accommodate the rapid ICT expansion in the education system. Primary and Secondary schools students can now access computer centers set up with hardware and software, some with multimedia rooms with resources with access to Wi-Fi with connectivity speeds that have facilitated the expansion of ICT and other digital technology in schools.

These resources allow teachers to create lessons that are more interesting, engaging, having more of an impact for students which ultimately enhance the learning environment. To assist with the demands of the ICT transformation, and to support teachers, each school has trained technical personnel who are readily available to provide assistant to schools when needed. When I came in as minister we had 125 underperforming primary schools. “We managed to reduce that figure by 100. Also, 100 schools that were just performing at minimum standards are now excelling. We have improved academics across all areas and scopes.” says Dr. Tim Gopeesingh, the Minister for Education. (Worldfolio)

The initial National ICT Plan launched in 2003 thru 2008, coined Fastforward and created as a result of the first phase of the World Summit on Information and Society (SIS) was intended to advance the country in the area of emerging technologies and catapult it’s ICT landscape.    Fastforward strategies impacted, changed the society of Trinidad and Tobago and placed the country on a more even platform with other countries to compete globally in various sectors. “ Trinidad and Tobago is in a prominent position in the global information society through real and lasting improvements in social, economic and cultural development caused by the development and usage of information and communications technology”. It also provided a national connectivity roadmap and provided a much-needed framework for ICT to be integrated successfully in business, Schools, communities, and government. “ (Committee)

One of Fastforward main contribution was the creation and regulation of the Telecommunications Authority (TATT) in July 2004 which removed previous restrictions that existed and made it possible for the liberalization and advancement in the telecommunication sector which lead to national changes in the way this sector operated and allowed competitors to enter the telecommunication sector and to contribute to the country’s infrastructure.

This allowed the country to be transformed into a people centered information society and was the main factor that helped the country obtain better infrastructure and connectivity which ICT strives on. This led to the increase in ICT usage in homes as the removal of taxes and duties on technology equipment and devices were less costly for families. Public libraries were also outfitted with computers and high speed Internet and all primary and secondary schools were set up with connected computer and media labs. (Committee)

A noteworthy component that emerged from FastForward was the Knowledge Innovation and Development Program (KID), where students were able to attain the academic knowledge and provided them with technical tools needed to improve and enhance their learning progress.

Another important component of the KID program is the LibraryNet Program which was instrumental in improving the digital divide by providing books and giving students access to e-learning opportunities which enabled them to procure vast information for personal use and for school assignments. (Rampersad)

After fastforward concluded, The National ICT Company Limited referred to as iGovTT emerged which further implemented ICT initiatives in the country. One main outcome was the formation of e-Connect and Learn-(eCal) which spearheaded the distribution of laptops to students in form one to improve ICT literacy in schools and inspire and support the integration of ICT in the curriculum . Teachers, and other staff were also provided with laptops and other supporting ICT Tools so their ICT skills can be improved which allowed them to feel more comfortable and be better prepared to deliver the curriculum and promote student engagement and collaboration. In an effort to maximum students learning outcome, principals, supervisors and teachers were trained on how to best incorporate these laptops in their lesson planning, delivery methods and into the administration.

The MOETT views the infusion of ICT in the curriculum as a change agent for transforming the country’s education system. It’s primary vision for the ICT initiative of the Ministry of Education (MOETT ) is for students to be ICT competent early, so this can be applied throughout their whole learning process and their school experience .

The success of the laptop initiative program further led to the MOETT expanding their ICT initiative to Primary schools in the form of an iPad initiative program which came in to effect in the new term in September, 2015. New iPads were distributed to Standard three and Standard four students in Primary schools with the expectation that since students are attracted to devices, such as cell phones, tablets etc. these same devices can be used to enhance students learning experience even further. . “You see the age group: and Standards Three and Four, they are already technology savvy.” He said these would be iPads with the stylus “so that the children will still keep the skills of writing. MINISTER of Science and Technology, Dr. Rupert Griffith (Burnett)

In this research, one primary school and one secondary school in Trinidad and Tobago was selected to showcase what was done and is currently being done to move towards a more ICT inclusive school. Although both schools are in different transformation phases, they have moved away from a teacher centric environment and have progressed towards a more student-centered approach to learning. The expectation is that teachers will use ICT and other emergent digital technologies in their lesson planning by incorporating project based activities that will enrich their students’ learning experience and that administrators, principals and other stakeholders will bring about effective changes to the instructional policies.

The ICT shift in these schools further led to changes that impact and foster communication that ultimately affect how teachers, administrators, principals and students relate to each other.

The research conducted garnered responses from Teachers, principals, and students, concerning how the utilization of ICT has affected them and the effect on instructional pedagogy of the curriculum.

ICT on Teaching Outcomes

Many teachers who were used to the traditional teacher centric approach had to change their attitudes and their instructional delivery methods in order to make the lesson more student centric using instructional tools like PowerPoint presentation, audio clips, live stream that will foster and promote communication, collaboration, critical thinking and discussions:

In my lessons I use various ICT tools to engage my students, especially if a concept is hard to grasp. For example in my geography class I may use live streaming or videos to bring an actual volcano eruption into the lesson.

Some teachers also indicated that after they were trained and their knowledge improved, they felt more comfortable using ICT as a tool in their classroom and no longer had reservation about it and felt it was instrumental in the learning process for students.

After my training I felt my knowledge was improved and I understood better how to use ICT as a learning tool and it was nothing to be afraid to incorporate into my classroom. As a matter of fact, It added new dimension and stirred interest and curiosity to the lesson.

Some teachers expressed that although the learning curve was high as it relates to learning new software, retooling, keeping up with the latest ICT tools, technology, changing how assessments are done, and relearning instructional strategies they previously used, felt that the instructional delivery of the lesson was easier and the time spent on the lesson in the classroom was maximize.

During the school year and especially leading to the end there is always a haste to complete the syllabus. ICT facilitates the timely completion of the syllabus and better management.

In addition, although a lot of the ICT tools are available for teachers to use , we still have to think creatively and think of the best way that using one or more of these tools can enhance and elevate the lesson for students. Therefore, a lot of thought process has to take place to come up with the best way to incorporate these tools.

Some teachers stated that because of this new way of teaching they are better able to reach students with different learning styles and those who were previously more difficult to reach to be involved in the class. These are primarily the quiet ones who sometimes sit in the back of the class too timid to participate and be involved.

This student- centered learning utilizing ICT has helped me reach and motivate students who are introverts. I am able to create lessons that facilitate working in groups, collaboration, discussions, so that I am not the only one doing the talking, instead I guide them and steer my students in the right direction while developing their 21st century skills. In time, these same students who were previously introverts become so eager and willing to participate and I’m always amazed to see this happen.

Teachers also admitted that the tendency for the lesson and discussion to expand outside the classroom has greatly increased, as there are now a variety of forms of communication, emails, Facebook group, etc. to promote this. Students can logon to their school portals to access the students section and obtain their class assignments and questions can be answered in a timely manner.

  In one of my classes my students created a blog about a specific topic and students were  able to write their thoughts about the topic express their opinions and post comments.

One History teacher reported that ICT allows her to bring more real world experiences in the classes. Students are no longer limited to learning based on their local environment instead learning is done based of a more Global nature because of the vast amount of online resources available for both students and teachers to refer to.

Although the general consensus towards the infusion of ICT into the lesson was very positive from teachers, a few still had some reservations and expressed that it was not effective in teaching certain topics like those that are more theoretical in nature.

Some teachers also felt because of the unstableness of the internet connectivity at times it makes it difficult to complete the lesson therefore, there should not be a total one hundred percent dependency on ICT because when these tools are no longer available the lesson still has to be taught.

Some also reported that if the integration of ICT in the lesson is not structured and incorporated correctly in the pedagogic of the lesson it can undermine the potential for it to be of any benefit. As it can become overwhelming for students to stay focus on doing school work and obtain the information required. As a result they can become uninterested and have a negative attitude towards the learning process.

One English teacher felt that the simple organic tasks like writing and reading a book is lost as students sometimes tend to take the easy way out to learn about a topic and simply only wants to learn via you tube or video clips not realizing that at times the essence of what is being learned can be lost by not reading the book.

  I try to stress and convey to my students that watching a video clip is not the only way to learn. I try to encourage them to read a book and show them that reading is a very important part of learning.

 Another teacher reiterated that it is important for teachers to continue to instill in their students the importance of writing skills as the tendency to depend on a computer software to correct grammar errors and do most of the work takes away basic skills the student should have.


ICT effect on students

Overall, students had a positive experience with the integration of ICT in the classroom. Some reported that it allowed them to better understand concepts that is difficult to grasp from a text book thus they are able to participate more in the classroom discussion.

As I am not a book person, but a more a visual person, viewing live streams or watching clips on a specific topic on you tube with the class makes it a lot easier and quicker for me understand what my teacher is teaching and I don’t feel shy about asking questions I don’t feel as though I’m dumb…

Students also reported that they like a doing team projects and working in groups that foster collaboration and feeling a sense of accomplishment when a team project is completed and a good grade is received.

When my teacher divides us into groups its so much fun to work  with other students and we are all motivated and love what is created to end up with a project that my classmates can learn from.

Some students reported that as they are already technology inclined they are pleased to see their teachers utilizing some of these same things they are familiar with in the classroom therefore this leads to new found interest in the lesson and is excited to learn.

 I have always been interested in tech stuff and got my computer at a young age, I also spend a great  deal of time on the computer at home, so teachers who use the ICT tools in their lesson will capture my attention more that those who don’t as I can easily become bored.

The Ministry of Education is constantly exploring avenues via ICT to improve students learning outcomes. One such path is through the Samsung Virtual Education solution that is being implemented “using devices like interactive whiteboards, with touch support, Note 10.1 tablet and others. The goal of this solution is to improve collaboration and interaction with students that will capture students’ attention and interest. It also will allow teachers to use this new learning environment and will eventually be implemented in all schools. After the pilot period and by the end of the year Samsung’s education solution will be gradually expanded across the entire school system.” (Mendes-Franco)

The success of integrating ICT in the education system in Trinidad and Tobago and the success of its twenty virtual classroom centers, has led to the country being asked to be the lead to create in conjunction with Samsung a virtual classroom in every Caribbean island where Trinidad and Tobago will be in charge of setting it up similar to the ones that’s presently in Trinidad and Tobago. The intention is for students throughout the Caribbean islands to be afforded the same learning and teaching advantages like their neighboring counterparts.

The integration of ICT in the curriculum was the catalyst for changes in academic testing. Previously, multiple-choice questions were the main method used to assess students taking the Common Entrance Exams to advance on to secondary schools. Now assessments have been revised to accommodate the different learning modalities of students.

In 2012 The Ministry of Education began the distribution of laptops to school students entering secondary school and as to date over 75,000 laptops has been issued and by the end of this year almost 91,000 will be distributed. Since the introduction of this laptop initiative for students in the first year of its implementation, Trinidad and Tobago rose by 16 points on the international benchmarking scale in regards to science and technology. (Manswell)

The MOETT Vision for the use of ICT within the education system has led to the creation of an ICT Professional Development Strategy for educators in Trinidad and Tobago to support them and provide the necessary training and development conducive to the effective use of ICT, where its main objectives is to “Ensure coherent Management of teacher ICT professional development, enhance teaching and learning through ICT integration, Build capacity to design and deliver professional development courseware, improve support and recognition at institutional level, Monitor and evaluation and implementation.” (UNESCO)

ICT is one of the main catalysts for the recent revamped in the curriculum to a more integrated thematic curriculum approach in primary schools in Trinidad and Tobago throughout the public schools system, which was implemented in the 2013-2014 school year and brought about a change in the learning and teaching process. “ This paradigm shift occurs when students will not exclusively experience subjects as discreet and separated, but rather within themes, placed in context and logically organized and linked to real life situations.” (John). “This new curriculum focus more on nine content core subject areas that consist of Agricultural Science, English Language Arts, Mathematics, Physical Education, Science, Social Studies, Spanish, Values, Character and citizenship Education, and Visual Performing Arts, Cross Cultural. development of Literacy Numeracy, integrates ICT, prioritizes assessment for learning , develops values which includes Health and Family Life Education and was geared towards systematic differentiated instruction to facilitate the different learning needs of students.’’ (John)

The new integrated curriculum, which received mostly positive feedback, is said to have a more “balanced approach to literacy with the integration of other core subject areas and consists of seven themes for each primary school level, which extends into subthemes.”(John)

After the first year of implementation, fifty percent of teachers were not very receptive   as they felt they were not sufficiently prepared to proficiently implement this new curriculum in the classroom. “ A great majority of teachers claim that demonstrations of how to differentiate, assess and integrate ICT with a thematically integrative focus were not properly provided.”

The Association of Teachers Educators (ATE) has envisioned the new curriculum to be a critical factor to be used in the education process that will ultimately bring about improvement in students learning outcome. Therefore, in an effort to assist educators, school personnel and other stakeholders have a positive effect on students learning with this new thematic approach, the ATE has outline standards educators should follow to properly and effectively implement the new curriculum. One such standard states that “educators should Model teaching that demonstrates content and professional knowledge, skills and dispositions reflecting research, proficiency with technology and assessment and accepted best practices in teacher education applied appropriately to learners at all levels.” (John)

In an effort showcase the effects this new curriculum will have on teaching and learning and learning outcomes a study was conducted by the Centre for Education Program to showcase which consists of 42 prospective teachers who were assigned to 10 schools sites and teachers implementing this new curriculum and some who did not.

Training was provided to teachers and the MOETT curriculum toolkit which includes “integrated learning Units and Learning Plans for all themes, Core skills and learning plans in subject areas, scope and sequence Mathematics, Scope and Sequence Science, Assessment Rubrics for general performance areas and assessment Rubrics for subject specific skills and tasks, provided to teachers to better equipped them with the knowledge needed to prepare integrated lessons. Training was also provided in timetabling which was specified by MOETT.” (John)

The results of this study showed that 98 percent of teachers who were effectively trained to deliver this thematic curriculum felt they were more prepared and knowledgeable to teach and assess students with different learning styles and saw improvement in a variety of areas for example reading, science, math, motivation, engagement. It also reported to have helped with the integration of ICT, literacy and numeracy, developed critical thinking skills and helped students make connection to real life experiences and many others.” (John)

The ATE vision is that the use of this new curriculum will be more inclusive of all subjects and make learning more targeted and personalized that will further encapsulate the different learning styles of students and brings “real world experiences” into the classroom. The expectation is also to provide teachers with better and more efficient assessment mechanisms that will better reflect all of the different learning styles and will improve time management in and out of the classroom.

Recommendations and Conclusion

The integration of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) in the education system of Trinidad and Tobago is a pivotal factor for the broadening and advancement of the teaching and learning process which has created better schools, providing students with a more positive experience which will more equipped them to compete on more global platform.

This research paper sought to showcase how the integration of ICT in the Pedagogic practice in the education system of Trinidad and Tobago is viewed to have caused a shift in the teaching and learning outcomes resulting in an overall positive impact for both teachers and students.    The information obtained was collected via interviews with four teachers, two principals and students via face-to-face, emails, and telephone.

The general consensus of teachers was that ICT has an important and relevant place in the curriculum especially since the learning environment is a more student centered. This allows students to take more responsibility for their own learning as it changes the dynamic in the classroom.

ICT is also seen as a great tool to broaden students knowledge of things outside the classroom environment.. However, teacher training is one of the main the factor for the successful transforming in the education system using ICT. If teachers are not properly trained to be competent and comfortable using these tools to bring about the best learning outcomes for students, and improving students   learning experience in the classroom the benefits of integrating.

This research also highlights the disparity as it relates to the utilization of ICT in primary and secondary schools between schools located in or close to the main capital versus those situated further away. Schools closer to the main town area are better equipped with ICT facilities and tools than those further away. These schools with less ICT tools can benefit from the Ministry of Education creation of a depository of information that teachers can access to obtain knowledge on what other teachers have used successfully in their classrooms. There should also be an online forum for teachers to share ideas and classroom experiences that will facilitate new solutions.

The infrastructure of the education system has grown and improved significantly grown over the last few years and schools now have access to resources both locally and international as a result of the technological advancement in its telecommunication environment. However, more work need to be done to continue to improve its infrastructure especially in areas furthest away from the main town as it relates to better accessibility to electricity, consistent internet connectivity etc. in place so that schools have the necessary tools to support their ICT needs.

As some teachers are still not willing to sufficiently implement or they move at a slower pace to embraced the utilization of ICT in the learning process. The Ministry of Education should endeavor to provide more training for teachers to improve their technology skills so they are more comfortable using these new technologies and Teacher development should not only comprised of learning ICT skills but should include mentoring support for teachers.

The laptop initiative program for form one students was instrumental in providing students with access to a computer at home and not only at school, However, more consistent control and oversight need to be conducted as the curiosity of students can lead them to use theses laptop inappropriately, More laptop security should be in place to monitor students. In addition there should be better streamline process in place for the distribution of free laptops in the laptop per Student Initiative program, so they are used more effectively.

Students are being educated using ICT Tools in the classroom however; the support needed at home is not there as a result of the parent’s lack of ICT knowledge and skills. There should be public awareness and basic ICT programs for parents to attend to keep abreast of their children learning curve. Also, there should be a system in place for parents to access to keep abreast of their child’s progress and also to communicate with their teacher.

In an effort to be globally competitive and to further advance the country economically Trinidad and Tobago has made a significant financial investment in its education system. However, a more effective evaluation and assessment system needs to be in placed to provide clearer insights on the impact on utilizing ICT in the learning and teaching outcomes in its education system. This will allow Educators, teachers, administration and other stakeholders with the necessary information needed to make adjustments and improvements to the curriculum and its pedagogic practice and to focus on what might prohibit students from learning.

ICT has proven to be an important contributing factor to the teaching and learning outcomes in the Education system. However, if the curriculum is not rich, robust, conducive to the needs of students and encourages creativity, Digital citizenship, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving and innovation there will continue to be a Digital Divide in the system.

Works Cited


Ali, Raiesa. “Trinidad and Tobago: Education Reform and Societal Mobilization.” 7 August 2015. The Council on Hemispheric Affairs. 15 June 2015 <;.

Burnett, Verne. Griffith boasts of ICT success. 16 July 2015. 30 July 2015 <,214234.html&gt;.

Committee, Trinidad and Tobago. “Contribution to the CSTD ten-year review of the implementation of WSIS outcomes .” 5 May 2012. UNITED NATIONS COMMISSION ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FOR DEVELOPMENT (CSTD). 4 June 2014 <;.

Hackett, Raymond S. Technology and Schools. 8 7 2002. 24 6 2014 <;.

John, Yvonne J. “A “New” Thematic, Integrated Curriculum for Primary Schools of Trinidad and Tobago: A Paradigm Shift.” International Journal of Higher Education 3 (2015): 200.

Light, Daniel. “The Role of ICT in Enhancing Education in Developing Countries:.” Journal of Education in International Development (2009): 22.

Manswell, Andrew. T&T to host education symposium in 2014. 16 October 2013. 17 October 2013 <;.

Mendes-Franco, Janine. Can Tech Transform Education in Trinidad & Tobago? 22 May 2014. 12 June 2014 <;.

Rampersad, Caty-Ann. “teachers’ perceptions of the contribution of information and communication technology to the teaching of modern studies, using an integrated system, in an urban secondary school. .” 6 January 2011. 10 May 2015 <;.

UNESCO. An ICT Professional Development Implementation Plan for Educators in Trinidad & Tobago. 7 January 2012. 7 January 2012 <;.

Worldfolio. “A world leader in education.” 11 January 2014. 10 February 2014 <;.


April 22, 2012

iPad in Education

Posted in Technology tagged , at 7:25 am by izzatrinbago

Why do you think iPad and other like devices have the potential to transform the educational environment?

Personally, I feel IPad and similar portable devices are very instrumental and are able transform the education environment for a variety of reasons. Firstly, in some cases students already uses such devices outside of the classroom, either they already own one or they have access to one, so using something that is already familiar to them is like reaching them at their own level, therefore, it has the ability to make the learning process more interesting and extend learning outside of the classroom for students. In addition, a lot of text books can be downloaded digitally, so it also makes it easier for students to access this digital book instead of lugging around a heavy book bag filled with text books. The flexibility, and portability of such devices is so much easier for both students and teachers and the ease of use  being able to access different information and the internet to enhance the instruction makes these devices a very useful tool. The improvements in these devices have made them very powerful and versatile in and out of the educational environment and removes the need for wires and connections that a regular computers demands.

For each of the 3 great uses you identified on Kathy Schrock’s site tell why you think they are worthwhile

On Kathy Schrock’s site three great uses for the iPad I’ve identified for learning includes Utilizing some of the apps like Strip Design that’s bundled with the iPad for storyboarding to help students improve their summarizing, skills and also to help students outline the key scene sequence and keep track of main ideas and the details in the in a story. Students are also better able to illustrate specific scenes.

The iPad can also be used to collaborate and established communities. Students are able to use iPads create and access blogs and wikki for their journaling experience. This makes the instruction more interesting for students and brings another dynamic in the learning process allowing students to express themselves, interact use and improve their critical thinking, writing and communication skills which are all very essential.

iPads facilitates mobile learning. Gone are the days when you have to wait until you have access to a computer in a specific location to collaborate and communicate and use tools conducive to learning. Mobile learning can occur anywhere, in a classroom, at the dining room table, on a bus, train, in front of a science exhibit, at the zoo, and it promotes project based learning as affords students voice and choice in addition to being a motivating tool for students.

Staging an Autism-Friendly performance

Posted in My Portfolio tagged , , at 6:36 am by izzatrinbago

Title: Making the Arts accessible to all

Driving Question: How do you stage an Autism-Friendly performance for children/adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Level: Adults

Project Idea: Exposure to the arts is a vital way to help enhance the quality of life. This Project based unit plan will provide participants with the required knowledge necessary to adjust a theatre production and to provide a sensory-friendly, comfortable and judgment-free space that is welcoming for all children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Children are able to enjoy live performances with their families in a calming, supportive environment. (TDF Stages) In this 6 week sessions, participants will work individually and in groups to focus on the plans of action regarding: autism disorder spectrum needs, skills required to work with this population, props, set design, lighting, costumes, acting, singing, orchestra, lighting, space and other facets to realized an Autism friendly  production.

Resources: Equipment/supplies: Paper and pen, Autism experts, Advisory panel, Laptops, Flip chart, markers, Illustrator, Adobe Acrobat, Garage band, Google Docs, video clip, handout, rubric, self-assessment sheets.

Session 1:  Children with Autism needsTDF’s Accessibility Programs (TAP) Theatre initiative is to make theatre accessible to children and adults on the autism spectrum disorders as well as their families.(TDF Autism Theatre Initiative) Children with this disorder often have problems learning and adjusting to a classroom and a social environment. Staff/participants require special skills to work with this population. Participants will gain greater insights and understanding of Autism spectrum disorders. This lesson explores the definition, importance and categories of autism and their needs.

 Objectives: Participants will be able to define autism spectrum disorder, describe some of categories associated with this disorder, describe and manage the different behaviors to successfully interact with this population.

 Implementation: (120 minutes)

 Autism expert speaks in an educational session about his/her profession and explain the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to be successful in working with this population. Participants prepare 2-3 questions in advance to ask the expert and encourage learners to ask questions and take notes while the speaker is talking, or immediately following.

  • After the guest speaker has left, participants are divided into three groups to research case studies on noted autistics (for example Temple Grandin  (Grandin, 2011)) using multiple internet resources. Potential links are available in the Resources section to help get participants started. However, they are encouraged to extend their research beyond the sites listed in the Resource section. Before starting their research each group will submit to facilitator the person they will be conducting their research on to avoid duplication. Groups develop an outline highlighting the key findings of their research and will submit their outline to the facilitator to garner feedback before proceeding.
  • Groups will create a PowerPoint of their research to present to the class in the next session.

Session 2: Skills required in working with children with autism This lesson introduces participants to important professional skills needed by TAP staff of children and adults with autism. Such skills include Observation skills, Class management skills etc. is module. Participants will be divided into three groups will acquire necessary skills needed to work with this population. The major role of a participant is to facilitate the learning for autism children/adults who attend these autistic-friendly Broadway shows. Participants

Objectives: Participants will be able to use strategies for assisting children with autistic spectrum disorder, create a conducive learning environment for children attending this performance, determine and, create a questionnaire to be used to determine the performance to adapt.


  • Facilitator reviews from previous session
  • Groups present presentation from last session
  • Discussion of case studies
  • Ask groups to make up a questionnaire to be used to determine what performances they think will work best for their autistic category. Each member suggests questions and edits each other’s questions for content and the conventions of English language usage including grammar, spelling, and sentence structure. Each group will write their questions on the flipchart for class discussion. All the participants will select the questions for the questionnaire. The questionnaire will be submitted for approval, after approval it will be created into a PDF to be posted on the website.

Session 3: Participants analyze Broadway Performances to ascertain shows most suitable for children with autism which will be presents to the class and four shows selected to submit ted to the Advisor panel for them to approve one. Participants evaluate the specifics of Broadway shows in detail to ascertain the shows that will best support this endeavor.

Objectives: Participants will be able to critically view shows to determine how appropriate they are for this population, identify areas in the production for opportunities for disengagement, and eliminate performances not suitable for this population.


The Three Groups will collaborate and research Broadway performances:

  • Each group selects three current Broadway productions and conduct research based on the questionnaire to ascertain which production works best to be adapted for this population. Groups will present a PowerPoint presentation of their research and the class will select four performances to submit to the Advisory Panel for approval. Groups will collaborate and research based on the following specifics PDF in the resource area.

Session 4: Needs Assessments for Selected Performance After participants attend the performance, participants discuss the performance and brainstorm to ascertain the different challenges that can exist with the project.  This lesson will provide participants with the necessary information needed to assess what needs to be considered to support the project. (Associated Press feature on TDF’s Autism Theatre Initiative)Participants will know the logistics that need to be adjusted for the performance

Objectives: Participants will identify specific areas of adjustments to the production that need to be made, identify environmental factors that may be problematic for individuals with ASD and suggest modifications to facilitate successful interactions. Participants will determine ‘fidget toys”, and where “priming” should occur before certain scenes to support this population.


  • Each participant receives a handout
  • Participants answer questions (e.g. theater layout, designated areas for quiet corner, priming children and parents before the performance, logistics etc.) on handout and put their answer on flipchart list for class discussion. The best answers will be selected and posted to the Tap Blog under Autism Initiative
  • Each Participant will research and identify 3 coping tools i.e. “fidget toys” that can be used as support for children. Each person will put their answer on the flipchart for discussion.
  • Participants will select the copping tools to use in the “Quiet Corner” on the day of the performance

Session 5- Autism workshop Discussion/Feedback After participants attend an autism workshop to further prepare them for this performance which is given by highly qualified autism disorder spectrum experts, participants are divided into three groups to collaborate to create a podcast about their experiences and what they learned in the workshop which will be included in an editorial piece being written by TDF’s editor to be posted on the website.

Objectives: Participants will be able in respond to ASD behaviors in an appropriate way. Participants will be able to apply what they learned working with other volunteers and Theatre staff. Participants will be able to alleviate any concerns and appropriately respond to question family members may have about their children attending the performance.


  • Discussion on the autism workshop participants attended

Podcasts-Briefly discuss Podcast with participant, their effects and provide examples of where you can find them Participants listen to some sample podcasts on iTunes. Groups view introduction to podcast clip and Garage band tutorial. Facilitator discusses the protocol for recording podcasts, and demonstrates how to create a podcast using Garage Band. Groups decide on what each member’s task is. Groups use Google docs to collaborate and write their scripts create sample podcasts Groups write their scripts for their podcast following the following outline: Facilitator provides feedback.  Participants will the use the information gained to produce supporting documents to support the performance and better manage the project. Groups will present their podcast to class which will be submitted to the editor.

Session 6- Preparatory materials Participants are divided in three groups to create support materials that will be used to bring about awareness of this special performance

Objectives: Participants will be able to create marketing materials that will promote the autism –friendly performance, Participants will be able to personalized materials to ASD. Participants will be able to write a social story that will resonate with attendees.


Groups will select one project from the list to complete

Project 1 Playbill Insert-Create a Playbill insert that will be used on the day of the performance.The Insert can include TAP Autism initiative concept, Sponsor story, Thank volunteers and others, History.

Project 2: Create a downloadable document or a visual(s), so those attending the performance will know what to expect with this autism friendly performance and that can be used as a support.

Project 3: Write a social story about the specific performance for example moving through Crowds, Loud noises etc that can be personalized for the child or adult with ASD who will be attending the performance which will be posted on the website. (TDF Autism Theatre Initiative)


Groups will present their project from sessions 5 and  6 to the class which will be submitted to director for approval and groups comment on each other projects. Participants will give their feedback participating in these 6 weeks sessions.


The facilitator will informally assess participants based on their teamwork. Participants will also be assessed on the knowledge acquired from workshop, sessions and contributions during discussions. Rubric will be used to assess project submissions. Peers will also assess each other presentations and have points of Self-Assessment.


Participants respond to the following questions, by filling out a questionnaire:

  1. Which categories of children with autism needs have you dealt with in the past?
  2. Did you take the time to help them? How did you help them?
  3. How might you improve the way you respond to children/people with autism spectrum disorder in the future?
  4. How can these sessions be improved and what could be done differently?
  5. What things helped you to feel comfortable and confident being a part of this project?
  6. What five things you did not like about the sessions and why?

The above unit was developed as a result of the Theatre Development Fund(TDF)  Autism Initiative which was launched on October 2, 2011 . This program presented the first autism -friendly performance of the Lion King. Below are some press clips and feedback from this special performance.

March 30, 2012

The Flipped Classroom

Posted in Technology tagged , , at 6:00 am by izzatrinbago

The flipped model refers to the classroom/homework paradigm where the instructional process is shifted where class sessions are for hands-on work and face-to-face interactive interaction with laboratory and in-class activities with teacher/peers tutoring, direct and targeted instruction, and outside of class students watch videos and lectures at home. This new approach enables students to ask and solves questions, and allows teachers to be guides and provide personalized attention addressing specific problems students might be experiencing instead of them being lost and frustrated working at home on their own. To view more on this topic see The Flipped Classroom .


21st century learning .Students are actively engaged in problem solving and critical thinking that goes beyond the traditional scope of the course. It also allows students to collaborate more closely with each other and their teachers, provide time for creative, hands-on activities and engaging discourse

Personalized instruction. This allows for more time to individualize instruction in the class time and keeps content alive for remediation, review, or other reference when needed.

Interaction. Establishes dialogue thus the overall interaction in the classroom increases

Facilitates multiple intelligences. It’s a way to reach students who are at varying levels of understanding and skill and enables students with multiple learning styles and abilities to access content at their own pace.

Assist teachers.  It can also save the teacher from having to cram overviews, explanations and homework review into a single class period

Technology utilized wisely and effectively. The flipped classroom does not layer technology onto the current program; it models the selection of technology that achieves instructional goals.

Self-paced learning – Students are able to view the lectures on their own benefits students in that they can watch as many times as they need to understand concepts etc., allowing them to learn at their own pace

Assist Absentees.  Students who are absent from class are able to catch up to speed easier.


Lack of internet. Students who lack internet access can be at a disadvantage

Difficult to monitor. It may be more difficult to monitor curriculum content.

Less input from students for lectures. As there will be less face to face lectures there will be fewer instances for Instructors to engage students in discussion and allow students to ask questions to better process the course material as they are receiving it.

Can be time consuming. It takes time to produce the instructional videos.

Below are a few articles that provide interesting and insightful discussion on this classroom/homework paradigm:

  1. This article  is about how Stacey Roshan’s, a calculus teacher, went about incorporating this Flip concept into her advanced  Calculus class and it’s effect on her students learning process.
    Flipped” classrooms take advantage of technology
  2. This discussion is about how two Chemistry teachers  in an effort to provide assistance for their absentee students started to record their lessons and then post it online. They soon realized that not only their absentee students were using these lessons, but so did the other students.  These teachers soon realized the opportunity that existed to affect change in the use of class time. The Flipped classroom
  3. This article highlights how  an “effective” flipped class looks like. It also provides examples of teachers who have successfully incorporated this concept in their classrooms and how it was done. The Flipped class revealed

March 12, 2012

KHAN Academy

Posted in Technology tagged , at 6:29 am by izzatrinbago

I was recently watching CBS 60 mins where the discussion focused on Khan Academy a free website for learning academic and real-world knowledge from tutorial videos. These tutorials cover a plethora of subjects such as statistics, art history, chemistry, and many more that will be interesting and transforming for e-learners.

What caught my attention was the simplicity and straightforwardness of the tutorials that make you feel like this person really wants you to understand what you are learning. The history behind this site is very interesting. Khan Academy started when a former hedge fund analyst, Sal Khan wanted to tutor cousins who resided in different cities learn math using Yahoo Doodle and a telephone. Khan started to record screen cast of his sessions posting them on YouTube where his cousins can access and learn at their own pace. Soon other people became aware on these postings and started using them and he was soon receiving positive reviews from parents stating how much the clips have helped their children.  He later found out that even Bill Gates children were using these tutorials.  In this discussion Khan spoke about taking the passivity out of the classroom  and flipping the classroom, i.e.  students do homework at school and school work at home this way teachers will be freer to work with their students.  Students mastering the concepts before moving on is something he also ascribes to.  Long story short, the Khan Academy has expanded offering more videos and content focusing on upper grade school and college-level students.

Watch  Sal Khan tell his story in the clip below.

Watch Sal Khan in action explaining Simple Equations

You can view more of his tutorials here

Language Dancing

Posted in Reflection at 4:54 am by izzatrinbago

What do you think can be done to educate people in general about the importance of “language dancing” in infant development using Web 2.0 technologies?

Researchers have stated that between birth and 3 years of age there are about 15, 000 hours of learning opportunities that are very important in a child’s life. The scope of a child’s development is determined by whether these hours are filled with language or left empty with nothing substantive.

All parents engage in business talk which is primarily providing the necessary information needed say to a child, “don’t do that” or “get down from there”. Unfortunately, if there is not much talking occurring, this type of communication is the only thing a child receives. It is only when children are exposed to “extra talking” they can experience more complex and rich type of communication.

Adults play an important role in the children development and the language interaction between the two has been described as a dance which makes the most difference in the growth and development in children in their early years.  As this is the foundation for children’s learning process to begin it is imperative that people are educated to understand this concept and how it relates to a child’s development and language acquisition.

In order to educate people about this concept, web 2.0 technologies can be utilized to bring about an awareness of this technique. People can view video clips on YouTube and others specific to this topic that will have detailed examples of the difference between business talk and language dancing. They can listen to expert opinions on this subject by participating in webinars/Synchronous conferencing and discussions/forums to understand how Language dancing helps the verbal-linguistic development of children. These live sessions can be recorded and posted on iTunes for others to access.  In addition, people can listen to podcast from reputable sites that showcase strategies that can be used to support children’s language and literacy skills, and also deals with children development and other stages of growth, cognitive, social, and emotional development.

In addition, this can be a part of a blog that addresses infant development that includes language dancing and other development patterns that people can access collaborate and work together on.

March 11, 2012

YouTube Subtracts Racy and Raucous to Add a Teaching Tool

Posted in Technology tagged , at 7:03 am by izzatrinbago

Educators are taking a second look at YouTube as a tool for Teaching that can be incorporated in the lesson. This article explains the new impact YouTube may have in classrooms. Read more>> Full Article at The New York Times

February 29, 2012

Project Based Curriculum Unit

Posted in My Portfolio tagged , at 3:47 am by izzatrinbago

Name of Project:  Giving voice to students Broadway Theatre Reviews through Podcasting

Grade Level: 6-8

Time Allotment:
4 – 60 minutes

Theatre Arts I



Students have never been to a Broadway Musical, so they will be introduced to their first musical by attending a live Broadway performance. After they will create a review of the performance and create a an podcast of their review. They will be divided into groups to research different musical styles and utilize what they have learned to create their original music piece to accompany their podcast. Students create original content instead of using content created by others. Students will then present their recordings to the class which will be posted on the schools website in the students’ entertainment review section and in the schools newsletter.


Driving Question:  How can students get their voice heard and create an original podcast that will showcase students’ review of a Broadway Musical that will be useful / helpful for peers, teachers and parents?



  1. Students will understand the different aspects of a Broadway Musical.
  2. Students will develop their literacy skills by researching musical genres and writing a review of the performance
  3. Students will develop their listening  and speaking skills as they present their podcast and research  to the class
  4. Students will improve their team work skills as they collaborate in groups to develop their podcast
  5. Students will be able to define the major roles of those involved in creating a musical.
  6. Students will write a script for their podcasts
  7. Students will develop a personal response to theatre being an integral part of their lives.
  8. Students attend a Broadway performance to enrich their theatrical experience.
  9. Students will develop their ICT skills and become proficient utilizing audio software to produce their audio recording mp3
  10. students will define what a podcast is
  11. Student  will upload their mp3 files to the website



  • Computer with connection to a screen or television on which to project the Web-based video clips, or computer stations where students can watch the clips or a Smartboard
  • Google docs account
  • Computer with  same software installed as students
  • Garageband/Audacity
  • itunes
  • internet
  • Microphone
  • Announcing TDF’s Theatre 101
  • Parents’ permission slips( for posting of podcast)
  • Creating a Podcast Rubric


  • Creating Podcasts Handout(Rubric)
  • Permission slips


  • Internet
  • Google Docs
  • Computers / internet
  • Microphone
  • Garageband/Audacity
  • Itunes
  • Creating a Podcast Podcast Rubric


The Arts:

  • Students demonstrate a capacity for deep personal connection to theater and a realization of the meaning and messages in theater
  • Students gain an appreciation of the range of performance opportunities available to them through ongoing experiences with theater in New York City
  • As theatregoers, students research options for attending theatre independently and in small groups.
  • Students reflect upon and communicate their experiences to peers, families, and professionals.

 Language Art:

  • Students locates gathers  and uses information  to research different lesson topics
  • Student
  • Students use vocabulary that is authentic and integral to theatre
  • Students integrate an understanding of dramatic text and theatre history in their response to live performance
  • Students fine-tune their use of written, and spoken to communicate efficiently with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • Students apply various language conventions and structure media techniques to create there review.


  • Students analyze, listen and describe music
  • Students evaluate music performances

Students will access, generate, process and transfer information using appropriate technologies.

21st Century Skills:

These lessons enable students to be active in their learning process, use higher levels of thinking, Collaboration, communication, information media and technology skill, creativity as well as problem solving skills.

  • Students work in groups to create their Podcast and to create original content for It. The also work together to research and create an original musical piece that will be a part of their podcast
  • Students brainstorm to gather and articulate thoughts and ideas that will provide a clear and thoughtful review of the performance they experience for anyone who listens to their audio recording.
  • Students select the audio program to use for their project. Students will research on the internet their music genre and styles in order to develop a music piece that will be incorporated in their podcasts. Students are able to delve deeply into content, and write their reviews prior to creating their podcast
  • Students use media to communicate  their review information
  • Students will utilize the internet, Google Docs and audio recording program, while addressing content areas of English Language Arts, Music, Arts, and Technology to express other methods to students learning process.  In addition, podcasts helps students see a more inclusive view of the topic they are studying, and students will utilize technology for new learning to transpire.



  • Tell students after viewing the Musical they will create Podcast reviews of the performance that will be uploaded to the school’s website, so another students can decide if this is a performance to see


Divide the class into three (3) groups and have each group conduct research for the show:

Handout understanding Musical Worksheet

Guided Questions:

Group 1:

  • What theatre the show is showing at and the price of the tickets?
  • Who wrote it? Additional writers or composers
  • Performance history-including did the show open and how long has it been playing , and revisions

Group 2:

  • List the main characters and give a brief synopsis of the plot and the characters role.
  • List 4 or five songs that will be featured in the production.
  • Is the performance conducive to a particular style? If so, describe it.

Group 3:

  • Did the show win any awards? If so, what they are and when were they won?
  • After Reviewing the Arts section in the NY Times or other, what do critics think of the show?
  • Why do you think this is a good show for the class to see?

The groups can begin their research using the following sample Web sites:

Links to Online Resources:

    • This site provides substantial reviews of Broadway and off Broadway shows and has detail information about the different productions
    • Broadway. Com
      • The site also contains the most complete editorial coverage of theater on the web, including the latest news, interviews with actors and playwrights, opening-night coverage, original theater reviews and video features. also offers current box office results, show synopses, credits and biographies and in-depth Tony Awards coverage
      • New York Times-


  • Students watch the clip on “Announcing TDF’s Theatre 101″
  • Teacher and students discuss clip
  • Students break up into groups to begin projects
  • Each group decide on what each person in the group will research based on their tasks
  • Students/groups will use Google docs to record, collaborate and share with each other
  • Each group  submit their work and present their findings to the class


  Discuss the protocol for talking into the Microphone to record scripts

  • Speak slowly and clearly, so that your words will be understood
  • Do not have the microphone too close to the mouth as this might cause voices to be distorted
  • Start to speak only when you’re in front of the microphone
  • Try not to make unnecessary noises as this might cause the recording to be not valid
  • Tell students about voice inflection and expression as it makes podcast more interesting to listeners




Teacher welcomes students and reviews the prior lesson 

  • Give each student a copy of creating Podcast handout rubric and discuss\review
  • Discuss any questions students may have and the equipment and software the class will be using to create the podcast
  • Explain that you will create a sample podcast and the teacher and students will create a sample before starting their projects
  • Divide class into 3 groups and assign group tasks

Groups write their original reviews script of the Broadway show for their podcast based on the following outline:

Group 1:

  • Information of the show, e.g. actors, director etc.
  • How well the script is written, how solid it is and the audience reaction
  • The  story line (engaging, compelling, interesting, believable, thought provoking)
  •  Comment on  the show’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Briefly describe the plot/subject

Group 2:

  • The performance  style
  • How well the music enhanced the story portrayed
  • The music used in the performance
  • The different lyrics of the songs and the role it played in telling the story
  • Did the actors deliver the songs well and any outstanding performance that was the highlight of the show

Group 3:

  • Influences and ideas of other playwrights and/or directors, designers and performers used in this show
  • The technical  and design element of the show i.e. the set , costumes make-up, lighting, etc
    • Memorable scenes
    • Possible Improvements


  • Students will break up into groups to begin projects
  • Each group will decide on what each person in the group tasks will be
  • Groups will use Google docs to record, collaborate and share with each other
  • Groups begin to rehearse their scripts and teacher moves from group to group providing feedback
  • Groups will submit their scripts to teacher for review\feedback before creating their  podcast
  • After a lesson on Garage Band and Audacity, Teacher walks students through the process of making a sample recording
  • student will practice creating  sample podcast
  • After students get the “hang of it” groups will begin to work on their podcast
  • Teacher moves from group to group to help students with problems or podcast issues
  • Students edit their podcasts
  • Allow for students to make mistakes and for students to re-do their work before groups are satisfy with their  recordings


The purpose of this lesson is for the groups to research the different styles of music and for each group to produce an original piece, which reflects the musical style that will be used be incorporated as part of their podcast.

Discuss with the class the different styles of music that was a part of the performance.

  1. The  same groups  select a musical style to conduct research  i.e.
    1. Classical
    2. Pop
    3. Jazz
    4. Rock
    5. Rock and Roll
    6. Jazz
    7. The groups select either Garage band or Audacity and create an original piece of that style that will be a part of their Podcast.


  • Each group will research the genre of music assigned and each group member will be responsible for an aspect of the research
  • Teacher will demonstrate how to incorporate a song in their Podcast
  • Students begin to create different sounds  using audio software to reflect  the musical style
  • Each group incorporates their original pieces into their Podcasts
  • Each group member submit their research in writing

The purpose of this lesson is for the groups to present their podcast to the class and to provide reviews to other students

  • It’s Podcast day!
  • Set up all the necessary equipment needed for groups to share their podcast


  • Groups present their podcast to class
  • Groups  give an oral presentation of their music genre topic
  • Podcasts are uploaded to schools website for others to listen to by parents, students, and teachers and the review will be printed in the school’s newsletter. The podcast  are also available to anyone with access via the internet
  • students provide feedback on each other presentations  and asks questions about what went into creating their podcast, which will be a part of their final grade

Assessment/ Refection

The teacher will assess students work as a group and how well the group followed directions. Individually, students will be assessed on their individual research and each student must type and submit this. The teacher will informally access students based on their presentation, class participation, and all other submissions. The teacher will observe students as they collaborate in their groups and facilitate team effort and utilize the “creating a podcast” Rubric to evaluate students. Students will have the opportunity to ask how each group created the musical portion to their podcast.

Students write a one page reflection based on the following guided questions. 

  1. What other topics you would like to add to podcast in the future?
  2. What was your experience working on this project with your group and why?
  3. What are some revisions or changes you would make to the project and why?
  4. What was the most enjoyable part of your project and why?
  5. Did working on this podcast motivate you to listen to or create podcast more in the future?
  6. What did you learn from this Podcast lesson?

NYC iSchool

Posted in My Portfolio tagged , at 3:06 am by izzatrinbago

How NYC iSchool innovatively and transformatively addressed the areas below:

Student Role

Students work in teams to address real world problems, and have access to a variety of courses and plan their course of study with an advisor, and they learn at their own pace. Students utilize the “I”, Learning Management System to complete their assignments,  participate in creative arts classes which helps in their development, and have the opportunity to participate in athletics.

Teacher / Staff Roles

Teachers provide individualized learning for students and a safe an supportive environment conductive to the development and needs of the students. Teachers should also be able to motivate students and encourage their critical thinking skills and use technology as a means to help students obtain the necessary skills to succeed in school and beyond.

Teachers  help students generate new ways of thinking and opportunities that will assist students in interacting with the world,. Teachers also provide field work for students, so they can explore career options, interaction with people apart from their classrooms enabling them to connect to the real world for a more fulfilling learning experience.

The school  provide and advisory program to provide students with academic and emotional support

Leadership Role

Leaders provide a balance educational experience to students of NYC iSchool, and emphases the importance of art in the totality of the development of each student. In addition, leaders provides a new approach to learning that not only focuses on core subjects, but also on socializing avenues whereby its students will be able to successfully meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century. Leaders view technology as a means not an end, so technology and the internet are used to balance students’ individual learning experiences.

School Scheduling (Creative Use of Time)

The iSchool model is both scalable and sustainable. The school relies on individuals, other schools, local businesses, service organizations, and large corporations to support their internship programs. Another partner, Cisco also provides much needed support.

In addition, the iSchool shares its space with another DOE high school and operates within the same policies and regulations of any NYC public high school which obviously will have a positive effect on their budget.

Learning Environment

Learning is self-paced and individualized enhanced by technology

Project from NYC iSchool: A Call to Action: A Crisis in Zimbabwe

Need to Know
Zimbabwe is experiencing a major economic and political crisis and the impact of HIV and AIDS, and  cholera have all contributed to an extensive lack of food supplies, essential items and the economic meltdown across Zimbabwe. The situation has progressed and grew worse and there has not been a strong dedicated effort to provide much needed humanitarian help.

Driving Question
what can one person or students do to spread awareness about the economic, political and health crisis in Zimbabwe?

Student Voice and Choice
Students work in teams to create “A Call to Action” campaign that will spotlight what is happening in Zimbabwe and to encourage others to join the fight and the cause. Students will also select a media of their choice to create and communicate their campaign, this include Facebook site, blog, website, NING, e-petition, or YouTube video. Students can also choose maintain a digital notebook.

21st Century Skills

Students use their critical thinking and problem solving skills to create campaigns that propels them and others to action. Students also work in groups to collaborate and brainstorm ideas that will make an effective campaign idea that will showcase Zimbabwe’s issues and illicit help for that country. Students become adept at researching writing and improving their communication skills by making presentations. They also gain knowledge world history, geography, politics, government, epidemiology as these topics relate to Sahan Africa.

Inquiry and Innovation

Students check the course Moodle (“Call to Action”) daily, as assignments, templates, and resources will be posted there. They also check their school email regularly, as teachers will communicate instructions, group feedback, etc. through this method. Students who choose to create and maintain a digital notebook must save it on the VDI to have available every day to be checked.
Students also utilize internet and mobile phones to communicate with others who are also share similar concerns. Group members will be asked to give each other feedback regularly

Feedback and Revision

Students rate each other campaigns and provide constructive feedback as part of their grades

Publicly Presented Product

  • Students present their campaigns to fellow students, teachers, and guest experts through a 3- to 5-minute presentation and “viewing” (or virtual tour).
  • students campaign will be posted on collective Zimbabwe activism website

San Diego’s High Tech High

Posted in My Portfolio tagged at 2:51 am by izzatrinbago

How San Diego’s High Tech High transformatively addressed the  areas below:

Student Role

Students in grades 6 to 12 use the ALEKS program to supplement mathematic instruction. They use Rosetta Stone to learn foreign language because it appears that they are better able to learn foreign language this way than the traditional face to face contact. In addition, students also use Elluminate Live for some learning experiences.

Teacher / Staff Roles

 Teachers who use the ALEKS system as part of their instruction will divide the class into two groups and while the teacher conducts face to face instruction with one group, the other group will work with the ALEKS system. Foreign language teachers incorporate Rosetta Stone in their instruction, and the the schools uses the Constructivist approach to learning i.e. teacher by design approach.

Leadership Role

The Leaders saw that the students math scores were not that great , so decided to use AlEKS learning system to help students with their math problems. The Leaders also decided to utilize the Rosetta Stone to teach students foreign language, and  purchase technology based on whether it will better serve student at NYC ischool.

School Scheduling (Creative Use of Time)

The school  operates the Graduate School of Education which provides teachers with professional development and their education credentials within its schools. This allows GSE students to gain “first hand” knowledge and or experience with High Tech educational philosophy and to see how things are done there.


The school seems to budget wisely, and only spend money on technology that will be beneficial to the students learning process.

Learning Environment

The interaction is primarily face to face where there is synchronous learning, with students, teachers and the material interact. There is also some aspect of incorporating software\systems to help solidify instruction.

High Tech High Project: Girls on the Run

Driving Question

How can young girls be healthy mentally physically and socially so that they do not participate in at risk activities in the future?

Student Voice and Choice

Some of the main topics addressed in this project are:

  • Building team comrade
  • Girls work in teams, so that they become friends and are able to help each other and experience the positive effects of working in teams
  • Girls learn how to be a part of the community
  • Girls learn how to eat healthy having a healthier lifestyle
  • Girls are thought how to be emotionally healthy, team work, being part of a community
  • Girls choose select a community service project that they will be a part of
  • Girls run with friends and stay fit
  •  It’s a fun learning experience

21st Century Skills

Young girls develop and implement their community service projects. The program also promotes team building, supportive attitudes, and collaborative skills by working in teams on community service projects and helping young girls understand and connect to the world at large. Their community project promotes media literacy teaching them how to deal with negative messages.  The curriculum also addresses certain topics including eating disorders, internet safety, cyber bullying.

Inquiry and Innovation

  • Volunteers encourage pre-teen girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles
  • Volunteers  work with girls to instill respect,  pride, confidence, kindness, having a positive effect on each other and the community
  • The project combines an interactive curriculum and running to inspire self-respect and healthy lifestyles in pre-teen girls.
  • Young girls can ask coaches and volunteers questions about health lifestyle, physical activity etc. In addition, students participate in a stretching routine that allows for question and answer time and deeper discussions around the lesson topic.

Feedback and Revision

Girls who participate in this program are more confident, are better runners, and demonstrate more kindness towards others. According to the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, a structured physical activity positively affects the development of young girls through intentional programming that promotes positive physical, mental, and academic outcome, and suggests that girls in this program engage in fewer risky behaviors than girls who are not. In addition, it improves young girl’s self-esteem, eating attitudes/behaviors, and body size satisfaction. The program has a lot of positive, and prior to evaluation, research showed that girls who become highly competitive in some sports i.e. running, figure skating, gymnastics and other sports, where the  emphasize  is on body image, have a higher occurrence of eating disorders than girls who do not participate in these sports. Therefore, young girls in this program participate in non-competitive sports.

Publicly Presented Product

After the 12-week season young girls participate in a non-competitive 5K running event. This project was presented, featured and recognized in various publications and media.

Next page