Sunday, October 23, 2011

Reflection on My First RILS Experience

The RILS Framework:
A Structure for Incorporating Relevance, Innovation, and Emergent Technology into Lesson Planning

RILS: Relevant and Innovative Learning Scenario
The RILS framework provides a structure for planning a learning scenario for students that goes beyond the typical lesson plan. It is an opportunity to marry imagination, student choice, social networking and engagement, Gardner’s multiple intelligences, and Bloom's Taxonomy in a way that results in a more profound and satisfying teaching and learning experience for all.

My first personal experience with RILS detailed here, and having reviewed the RILS of other colleagues seen here, has opened my eyes to a new way of thinking. It made me think more deeply about how emergent technology can be used to address Bloom's Taxonomy in ways I had not previously thought of. It also leverages the many social connections that can be made when using the Internet in a positive, constructive way. Students have the opportunity to share their work with a wider audience, which means that they are more invested in what they are working on. In addition, this social participation encourages them to collaborate and critique one another's work in an engaging, respectful manner.

As I was implementing my RILS project, a few things came to mind:

  • It is important for the students to see an example of what the outcome might look like. Had I not created a PhotoPeach slideshow of my own using "About Me" sentences similar to what they had already written, I think they would have been very confused about where they were going. It is paramount that the instructor should create a model example for the students to follow for any project utilizing emergent technology.

  • It is key to allow time to have a practical experience with the tool before embarking on their project. For example, I asked my Grade 1 students to log in and log out of the tool five times before we started, just to make sure they could do this on their own later. They also spent time uploading and deleting their images several times, just to get the hang of it. Doing these things once and moving forward would not have allowed the students to really familiarize themselves with the tool well enough to use it independently. By the second day, they were off and running with the sign on process and uploading their images to get started on their work.

  • As most students struggled while navigating the keyboard to write their sentences, I wondered if I should require them to edit them for spelling and punctuation. I decided for this first experience, that it was an accomplishment in itself to get their slides annotated with text, regardless if they did not start their sentences with capital letters, use correct spelling, use correct spacing, etc. I did not want to overwhelm them with too many rules the first time around. However, for the next experience, I will add on the additional requirement to make sure the sentences are well formed. This will require some keyboarding lessons for using CAPS LOCK for toggling between capital and lowercase letters, using the spacebar appropriately, and finding the keys for common punctuation marks.

For teachers who desire to take that first leap in using emergent technology in the classroom, I recommend the RILS framework because it guides you through the process of thinking though how the technology addresses Blooms' Taxonomy (knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation) as well as incorporate Gardner's Multiple intelligences (audio, visual, musical). I had a very positive first experience with this, and judging by the feedback and engagement level of my first graders, so did they!

[Untitled diagram]. Retrieved October 23, 2011, from:

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