Nicole is a teacher of Health and Physical Education at Ringwood Secondary College. During this pilot project Nicole challenged herself to find new and innovative ways to facilitate and deepen her year 12 students’ understanding of aid programs and their contribution towards achieving global health and sustainable human development.
Nicole’s learning intention was to expose her students to a range of non-government organisation programs, including literacy, food security, HIV/AIDS and malaria, immunisation, safe water and sanitation. To do this, Nicole developed a series of Quick Response (QR) codes. QR codes are a type of barcode characterised by a matrix of black and white squares. The code is used to store data, in this case a URL, and is read by a smartphone or other device installed with a QR reader. Find out more about creating your own QR codes.
Nicole explains, ‘students had to download a QR reader on their smartphone or on their iPad and then scan the QR code, to link them directly to a website. That website would be about a non-government organisation and they would use this information to complete the worksheet. The worksheet asked students questions about the program, its activities, who ran it, the target audience, and the benefits for health and human development.’
By using the QR codes to direct students to the websites, Nicole feels that their learning was supported ‘because there was no searching for programs— it was immediate and they were able to get all of the information they needed.’ This saved time as students were able to directly access the website and there were no incorrectly typed URLs.
Further to identifying and evaluating information from the websites, students were required to follow a link to a world map that Nicole had customised using Google Maps Engine Lite. On the map Nicole inserted a marker for each aid program on the country where that program was run. When students hovered or clicked on the marker, it gave them statistical information relevant to that particular aid program.
By including the map, the students were able to geographically visualise where the aid program was occurring in relation to Australia, and assist them with developing their understanding of the term ‘global’, something Nicole feels is often missed when teaching this key knowledge.
Reflecting on how she would have taught this content in the past, Nicole feels that her students would have learnt the information either way; however, ‘rather than being teacher -led it was more student-led. This gave students a little bit of the responsibility and with the onus on them to make sure they had looked at the website, read all the information and were able to pick information to use, rather than me feeding them that information.’
By encouraging the students to think critically for themselves, Nicole is fostering skills that will be both beneficial and transferrable in exam and School-assessed coursework (SAC) situations.
When planning for this lesson Nicole sought the advice of Ringwood Secondary College’s elearning coordinator. Nicole says, ‘She was integral in actually giving me the support to get it started and to initially teach me how to do it and then I was able to go away and cater it to exactly what I needed to do.’ The planning and preparation was worth the effort as Nicole’s students responded very positively to the aid program lesson and the digital learning tools that were incorporated.
It was immediate, they got all the information they needed
‘One of the comments from my students was ‘Wow, this is awesome’— that really surprised me because they’re year 12 students and I suppose by that point in their education you think not too much can impress them and surprise them but they really loved it.’
‘It was really quite easy and did not take very much time at all. That was surprising for me, I know I often think about doing all these wonderful things but then time’s often a factor that prevents me from doing it, so I suppose once you’ve got that knowledge, being able to roll out those kinds of activities is really quite quick, so that was surprising.’
I’d never created a QR code but it was very simple
The elearning coordinator was integral to giving me support
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