By Ernani Fernandez
Expert Educator Columnist, Philippines
Hello Worldwide Expert Educators and to all the readers out there… welcome to my column!
Here, you will find the innovative strategies made by the teachers across the globe… how did they integrated technology in education and how their students acquired the 21st century skills. And you are all welcome to adopt their innovative strategies in teaching and suggest one which you think will works best.
I also encourage you to share your innovations in teaching so we can post it in my column.
By the way, I am Ernani S. Fernandez of Palo, Leyte, Philippines. I am one of the Microsoft Innovative Expert Educators who participated in the Microsoft in Education Global Forum which was held in Barcelona, Spain, last March 2014.
That was really the best experience of mine as a teacher. I was able to collaborate with the other expert educators in the world. And luckily, the Team44 where I belong together with Kurt Soser of Austria, Tamer El-Kady of Egypt and Michio Inaba of Japan, won in a Learn-a-thon because of the innovative learning activity that we presented under Poverty of the UN Millennium Development Goals.
With my commitment to Microsoft, now I am conducting several ICT trainings for teachers in my country. The purpose is to train them in the latest ICT tools offered by Microsoft which can be used in teaching.
Of course before discussing their innovations, let me present to you one of the tasks in my learning activity “What Makes Accounting Exciting?” and find out how the ICT productivity tools were used.
Accounting Comics Activity
Well, no one will think that comics can be incorporated in teaching basic accounting lessons, right? Since basic accounting requires the students the analysis of business transactions and more on computations to come up with financial statements. This simply means that students are dealing with numbers.
So to turn their apprehensions to excitement, I tasked my students to create their own accounting comics.
Students are divided into groups and each group must have a Writer, Photographer, Designer/Encoder and Proof Reader and must know the function of each but members must work together for the success of the activity.
As you can see in the comics, the character are the students. The scenes are the lessons in the subject. These comics became one of the instructional or learning materials in Business Technology. The comics are shared to other students to give them idea of the lessons in Business Technology subject.
ICT Tools and Devices Used
- PowerPoint – Designer may use this tool in working on each scene/pane in the comics. Each pane can be best worked using the slide in the PowerPoint. Pictures taken can be placed in the slide. Do necessary formatting to make it cartoon like images and insert callouts for the dialogue.
- Internet – Designer may look for a website that can convert original pictures taken into a comic or cartoon like images before placing in a PowerPoint slide.
- Paint – Designer may use this tool, to convert the slide into a JPEG format by copying the whole slide and paste it in Paint to merge all the graphics. Aside from saving all the slides as JPEG using PPT.
- Word – Designer may use this to put together all the converted JPEG images to organize and finalize the comics.
- Digital Camera / Cellphone with Camera – Photographer may use either of these devices in taking scenes base on the script prepared by the writer.
- Laptop / Desktop PC / PC Tablet
There are also other tools which can be downloaded for free in the Microsoft Educators Network like Fotor and other photo editing tool which can convert images to cartoons or using your Windows Store in Windows 8.
21st Century Skills Involved
Following the 21st Century Learning Design (21CLD) in making an activity for the students, is an assurance that students will acquire multiple skills. First the skill required in the subject, second, the ICT skills and last, the 21st century skills.
In this accounting comics activity, the 21st century skills involved are collaboration, knowledge construction, real-world problem solving and innovation, the use of ICT for learning, self-regulation and perhaps even the skilled communication.
Let us make an assessment!
|Collaboration- Students were divided in groups to work together.
– Each member had their own task to perform since they have shared responsibilities: Writer, Photographer, Designer/Encoder and Proof Reader
– They made substantive decisions together in working with the comics:
Content Decision: they decided on what particular lesson in accounting that they will use in making comics and what will be the scenario of each pane of the comics.
Process Decision: the students made script and conduct photoshoot based on the script in preparing the pane of each scene in the comics.
Product Decision: students do necessary formatting and design to make the comics product appealing and informative to the users.
– Students work is interdependent and they have individual accountabilities since they have shared their responsibilities in their tasking. But the role of each is essential to finish the product.
|Knowledge Construction- The activity requires knowledge construction because the students used details in the accounting lesson and developed original comics based on their own script and images which were converted into a comic-like photo.
– Knowledge construction is the main requirement of the activity since it is a long-term project and cannot be finished for a specified minutes or time. Instead, a timetable was used as guide in completing the product. They have enough time to work and finish it.
– Students apply their knowledge in a new context when they created a video comics from the same resources in creating the accounting comics. This time the output is digitally made since it can played in a player and you can listen to the dialogue of the characters.
– The learning activity is interdisciplinary with language and arts.
|Real-World Problem-Solving and Innovation- The main requirement is problem-solving since the students designed a complex product that meets a set of requirements and they completed a task that they have not been instructed on how to do it.
– It is a real-world problem because the students made a comical script based on the real or actual discussion of the lessons in accounting. Some script focused on the experienced of the students in the lesson while working on the assignments or activity and they made story out of it and a corresponding solution for the readers to relate themselves and learn from it.
– The activity is innovative because the students uploaded the comics in the Facebook group and the video comics in YouTube for others to view and learn from it.
|Use of ICT for Learning- Students have the opportunity to use ICT in this activity. MS Word, PowerPoint, Paint, Internet, MovieMaker, were some of the tools used to perform the activity.
– ICT supports knowledge construction because the accounting comics cannot be produced without the ICT tools and devices. Script and ideas are useless without the technology.
– ICT is required for knowledge construction. One of it was when original pictures need to be converted into comic-like photo, this can be processed using available website in the Internet and can be enhanced using format menu of MS Word and PowerPoint. Pictures must be converted first to comic-like to be part of each pane in the accounting comics product.
– Students are designers of ICT product. The comics made were shared to other students as reading materials in business technology class and the files including the video comics were uploaded in YouTube for others to view online.
|Self-Regulation- The learning activity is long term and can be finished for less than 5 days.
– The activity has learning goals and rubrics which are guide in doing the activity. A timetable with specific task to perform was given for a simple guide in doing it for 5 days or less.
– The students plan their own work from making a script, taking photo for each scene in the comics, converting photos into comic-like picture, placing dialogue and arranging it into one and even making video comics based on the same resources.
– Their comics were uploaded in the Facebook group for initial checking and can be altered based on the given comments of other viewers.
|Skilled Communication- Students reflected in the activity and made blogs.
– The students were able to provide instructional materials and shared it to other students.
For specific procedures on how to give the task to the students download the Accounting Comics Activity from the Learning Activity “What Makes Accounting Exciting?” at the Microsoft Educators Network.
You are free to modify the specific tasks and share it to other teachers.
Send us your experience through pictures, videos, etc.
Enjoy and be updated in the use of technology in education!