Friday, November 20, 2009

The Alice Project

Yesterday, I had the pleasure to sit in on a Webinar put on by John Pederson, Educational Technology Liaison with WiscNet in Madison, Wisconsin (And Tri-State PLP Community Leader!), featuring Christian Long. Christian shared an activity he has created for his students, "The Alice Project". As John eloquently stated in describing the seminar:
This project turns 16 groups of high school students loose on the book The
Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition
. Teams of students use various “Web 2.0″ technologies to build a public presence for their learning, develop an ongoing (and carefully edited/maintained) digital portfolio of their discoveries, and demonstrate the use of these tools as story-telling/presentation catalysts. Behind the scenes, Christian is consciously shifting his “teaching” efforts to that of co-learner, collaborator, and advisor. He’s connecting his students with the rest of the world using the technology and helping them experience a real world audience.
During the seminar, Christian shared that this authentic learning project came to him about 6 weeks ago, and the students have taken it and run with it. For evaluation, he has invited educators to sign up to be jury members. In his message to students, Long shares a passage from the original text that gets to the heart of the project:
For those of you new to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, this exchange between
young Alice and the Cheshire Cat (who she meets along her journey through
Wonderland) might offer a hint of what you’ll experience during this
project:
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
[asked Alice]“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.“I don’t much care where –” said Alice.“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.“–so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
***

When in doubt, trust your instincts. If an ‘idea’ rabbit piques your interest, follow it. See where it leads you.
Just remember to let the rest of us know where it led you.
Take a look at the Alice Project. Go down the rabbit hole. Would it work in your classroom? How could you modifiy it for your curricular area? How rich of a learning experience could you make it?
Trust your instincts! I look forward to your comments.