Split Screen Approach

When I think about the Essential Question for week 3, “How can we effectively, practically and authentically embed technology within our curricular areas?” Guy Claxton’s  Split Screen strategy comes to mind. It was introduced to us at a Kath Murdoch workshop.

Basically, in split screen teaching one has the learning objectives or conceptual understanding, i.e. “What am I learning about?” on the one hand and at the same time, specific learning objectives about how the learning is happening, “What am I learning to do and be?” Regular reflection during the unit or lessons are used to identify this. Jane Nicholl’s blog post explains how it works.

I can see this as a useful way to keep track of the technology learning being included in all curricular areas as well.

Here’s today’s:

Learning to learn

And here is another example from last year’s unit “Climate Control.” In the past couple of years, after students have understanding of the main ideas of the unit, i.e. global warming, climate change, severe storms, fossil fuels, renewable energy, etc, we have used  this UbD GRASPS exercise. We may use this agin this year or not. We’ll see.

Your task is to give wildlife a voice!
For this task you should choose to be a creature, endangered because of climate change.

You should tell what conditions are like for you as the earth warms. You should describe how your life is affected, how your life is changing, what you think the future will be like for you. You should include some suggestions of things humans can do to help protect your way of life and not let it get worse.
Tell your story passionately but with true facts to back up what you are saying.

So in this exercise, I would say – and display on the classroom wall –

We are learning about: Animals endangered by climate change

We are learning to be: Persuasive

We are learning to have: Empathy

We are learning to use: Questioning strategies, Digital reading strategies, Thinking strategies, Noodletools, Creative Commons Images 

For all the units we have, my team together with our tech and library teachers will look at possibilities to suggest to students – who may (hopefully) also have their own ideas to go beyond the basic story.

Here’s last year’s.

Climate Control Animal Stories

I am hoping for more this year with our students having greater scope with their macbooks. I could see GarageBand and iMovie being suggested. It is this last part where students are using their learning from other areas to suggest without teacher input that will tell me that students are making that transfer that I want to see.

7 thoughts on “Split Screen Approach

  1. I have not heard of the “split screen thinking approach”. It looks to be an excellent yet simple strategy that keeps the students focused on the learning goals. Thanks for sharing the link to Jane Nicholl’s explanation on this. She has some great quotes about learning on there and links to other resources.

  2. Lindy, you have some really informative links that work towards enhancing student learning. I totally loved the way you structured the class learning by setting three goals for the class (We are learning about, we are learning to be and we are learning to use). The split screen approach appears to give students ample opportunity to think logically, share their perspective and reflect on the findings.

    Have you seen a noticeable difference in the student learning with the split screen approach? Do you find students more engaged and motivated? Do you have to spend a lot more time than usual in preparing assignments for them?

  3. Anu, we have just been using this for less than a year, so can’t say a dramatic improvement yet. However, when we have people coming into classes “looking for learning,” students are able to articulate not just what they are doing but why and we can include the goals in reflections throughout the lesson/project/unit. There’s no difference in time preparing. It’s more that we are recognising what we are learning.

  4. Really interesting post thanks for your generosity in sharing good ideas in how to look for learning.


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