One of my Year 9 classes was recently starting out on a new topic broadly covering Australia with their Social Studies teacher.
We decided together to team up. As their ICT teacher I gave the class an investigation using an ICT diagramming tool where, in groups, they would research and present to the rest of the students a diagram answering the broad question “What is Australia?”. There were constraints of course explained here in the SOLO Task description.
The satisfying outcome from this task was that, when each group explained to the class why they had added the content and linked ideas as they had, they were all completely different.
What is Australia? by Rishabh, Kaleb, Omar and Antoine (below) shows a wide range of content, well explained and easy for someone who knows little about Australia to absorb.
(Zoom in or Expand for easier viewing)
What is Australia? by Aidan, Kevin and Doug is another that shows a wider range of content, however their diagram demonstrates that you can give a lot more information in a simple and clearer way and colour, when used sparingly, can be highly effective.
What is Australia? by Finn D, Finn M, Jeffrey and Ronan has the group taking a very different approach. The diagram at first appears less visually appealing showing a narrower range of topics covered. However, a closer look at what they are saying demonstrates a deeper and higher level of understanding through their connections (by linking) within the diagram. They even make observations of irony when it comes to core values and rights of groups within Australia.
This task goes to show teaching can often be about giving students authentic and challenging tasks to extend their thinking. This, supported by great digital applications and good exemplars, means that the teacher’s role is to make them self available to guide and challenge the students as they work on the tasks. My students loved working on this task, both in class and at home, which makes Lucidchart a great collaborative and accessible tool to enhance teaching and learning. Remember, it’s the learning, stupid!