I am not sure how old you are, but when I was new to being a teenager and going through ‘the change’, there was no such thing as Health and Personal Development at school, and the only teaching about puberty was done by my PE teacher, who already had access to all of the testosterone available. I do remember going to my room one afternoon and finding What’s Happening to Me? (Mayle, 2000) partially hidden by my mother under my Maths homework. The day that my dad sat me down for ‘the talk’, he was way too late, I already had a degree in Physiology and was about to start working at a Reproductive Medicine Unit at the University of Adelaide. In short, I knew more than him.
So, to exact my revenge on my miserable upbringing, I decided to get my Year 8 students to teach their parents about Puberty. Someone has to! I also wanted them to start developing skills in the creation of Office Mixes, an awesome tool that can be utilised for a variety of purposes, including flipping the classroom, covering challenging concepts or instructions that we didn’t quite master in class and providing instructions for processes that can be distributed widely and accessed when necessary. If you haven’t found Office Mix yet, it can be downloaded from the Office Mix site and sits alongside PowerPoint. If you can make a PowerPoint presentation, you can make a Mix.
Their task was to create a fun and entertaining, 2 minute Office Mix that explains the changes that occur to males and females during puberty. At the end, they had to use the Quizzes Apps to produce a 10 question assessment task in order to monitor how well their parents were going. The analytics provided through Office Mix, such as time spent on slides, questions attempted and those answered correctly would be accessed to become part of the work submitted for assessment by the students. Students were to expect their parents to get the A+ that they were always hounding their kids for.
How do you introduce the Learning Activity? Obvious! Make a Mix about it and drop it into the newsfeed on the Year 8 HPD 365 page. Office 365 is widely used as a learning management tool at St John’s Grammar, the students no longer have paper diaries and use 365 exclusively for accessing learning materials, homework tasks and other resources. I use the class OneNote attached to each Subject 365 page to share information with students, provide feedback and as whiteboard (when connected via Screen Beam to the TV).
My Year 8 class watched the Mix I provided for them and they were off. No issues at all with the whole class downloading Mix at the same time, and once I had demonstrated how to use the extra functions available through Office Mix, such as screen recordings and media options, there was no holding them back. Each student has either a Samsung Slate or a Surface Pro 3, so the pen was extremely useful for the Slide Recording function.
The elegance of this task was in taking the power away from the teacher and giving it to the student. It is simple and easy to create an Office Mix to complement our teaching, but why not let the kids have some of the fun too.
Mayle, P. (2000). What’s Happening to Me? A Guide to Puberty. Usborne Childrens Books.