I. The Project rubrics old and new.
II. The 1000ish word Blog.
III. The Self assessment.
I. My project rubric: This link.
II. Blog: Hey, I really feel renewed and empowered now!
The Coolest Churchy Things in the World Project was something I created fifteen years ago. When I think back now I understand how one dimensional it was in its primordial form. Basically there were only three criteria from Michael Rose's work on church buildings: permanence, verticality and iconography. This link. Each student created an individual Powerpoint and they each assessed three different churches. Presenting them took forever and they were repetitive.
My Self-Understanding on the Techno-Educator Spectrum
I am firmly in the techno-constructivist role at my school in light of this and a few other projects I have my students complete. I think that techno-constructivist-able is a better self-understanding in light of the fact the content rich curriculum of my department has its own inherent accountability structure that includes common final exams. I could see myself balancing these two dynamics and reconciling them over a period of years by deciding how to make at least each unit of a course I teach contain one integrated social media/tech project while letting the balance of the work implementedin a more traditional manner. So it is not only my own set of skills that makes me a techno-constructivist but also my relative position in my department in terms of structure of the curriculum and the varied positions of my colleagues. Lastly, I think feedback from students to me and to the school wide academic surveys our school administers clearly puts me in the constructivist camp. Students have highlighted this project when asked about technology and have sometimes thanked me again for the opportunity a year after the fact when they see me in our department center.
Media Literacy Course Conceptual Correlates
Obviously a project based upon the Church emphasizes and reinforces certain philosophical-ideological elements of Grinner's SCWAAMP tool. As for Christianity, I have designed the project to be inclusive of four major traditions when it comes to architecture: Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and (European) Lutheran. Yes, these are primarily white orientated locations but I do find that students are drawn first and foremost to cathedrals in South America and I do a little coaxing toward Orthodox communities for the sake of diversity. The Coptic Church, Ethiopian Church, and Melkite Church are certainly not white in terms of members. Similarly, students are amazed to find out that the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Paix Yamoussoukro-Côte d'Ivoire This link. is the largest Catholic Church in the world. (Yes, but the current rector is Polish.) La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona always wins one student's heart each year. This link. Neither of these buildings is restrained as white American students may expect if their first vague notion of Cathedrals are English or American ones. Similarly, I include articles about class consciousness in the resources for criteria such as the article Beauty is for the Poor This link That article focuses on the purpose of the Church buildings that undermines individual property ownership and focuses on inclusivity and stewardship for church communities through time.
Côte d'Ivoire La Sagrada Familia
As for groups that choose hymnody, at least one group a year chooses hymns to Mary, the Mother of God and this need not automatically reinforce the most conservative views of femininity. Rather it can be holistic when they choose hymns such as Timothy Dudley-Smith's Tell Out My Soul. This link. which is an English rendition of Mary's Magnificat prayer from the Gospel of Luke (1:52) (...He has cast down the mighty from their thrones...), etc. But even if they don't go in a Marian themed direction students tend to quickly discover women have contributed greatly to the art of hymnody such as Fanny Crosby.
Fanny Crosby Dudley-Smith
And as for students work on the third category, iconography, they have similar experiences in finding Church art that is neither exclusively white or European in origin. It may be Maronite Icons from Lebanon or art from Christians in India.
Going forward students will complete this project using Pinterest and will have the opportunity to encounter these topics in a deeper and broader way. As such it has just only hit me now that the perfect prelude and postlude (that's musical Churchiness right there--postlude) would be for students to write a brief "This I Believe statement" about the nature of the Church in the world both before and after the project. Therefore they can see their own growth in consciousness by comparing the statements. Therefore, the project will have the Simon Sinek-stylecontinuum in the correct order:
A) why(This I Believe), B) what (Churchy theme: hymns, art, architecture), C) how (Pinterest, Google forms, and class directions), back to D) why (This I Believe post project). As for a fourth concept from the course it is certainly about gender identity. Can sophomore honors students become appreciative of Pinterest? For young cool dudes who are confident or semi-confident in their masculinity- is Pinterest the final frontier?
Not considered before this course...
Pretty much everything in the last paragraph would fall into the category of what I've not considered before for this project. I certainly have in my practice numerous moments when I'm clearly stating the why of our class activities and discussions. I also teach the morality course, and I know it is literally impossible not to articulate the why and still be effective. I come to realize my intentionality, which I normally take for granted as a theology teacher, is something I've assumed too much of when executing lessons and units of material and bringing them to their proper conclusions.
As I'm shifting from a Google slides presentation to a Pinterest matrix my consciousness has changed regarding the temporal nature of projects and products. Google slide presentation mean students have a linear and finite benchmark to achieve. Students prepare, students present, grade is awarded and the project is DONE. Time orientation with Pinterest will be open ended. There are relevant items from the remainder of the course that they might add in for their own study purpose or general understanding about the Church or any related topic. Philip Zimbardo has been doing the most interesting work on time orientation and how it effects our well being in the world. This link.
When I couple Pinterest as a tool with Zimbardo' time orientation work, it helps me understand my own linear fixation when producing and fine tuning this project in the past.
Philip Zimbardo, Psychometric Superhero
It's all open ended now. I could keep this project in Unit 3:The Church Deepens its Prayer and Spirituality of our Church course. If so, it will serve the function of letting students encounter the "hardware" of the church's prayer life. If I move it to the introductory unit I'm now opening the possibility that it will raise student consciousness early on about even more fundamental issues of Church self-understanding such as the four marks of the Church: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. The catholic dimension of course is the one that is the inclusive and holistic understanding of the Church as the People of God across time and place but mysteriously together through the sacraments and the shared hearing and transmission of the Gospel (the mission of Catholic schools).
III. Self-Assessment: This link