I 2011 vandt Den Digitale Junglebane prisen for Danmarks bedste It-didaktik.
Her kan du læse lidt om selve ideen bag konceptet, som det så ud i 2011, da Den Digitale Junglebane ( under navnet Digital Tarzanbane) deltog i Microsoft europæiske lærere konference i Lisabon – Portugal.
I was curious about the development and thought we might be able to exploit the students’ ICT skills from the time they start school. I use a lot of active learning because it gives tangible results of student learning, particularly among the youngest students. I therefore thought about an idea that could get more active learning into the classroom when working with computers, tables and so forth. In physical education classes I have experienced that the students love making Tarzan tracks using gymnastic equipment. Here the idea for the project began, and the foundation of a new educational model was established.
The main elements of the Jungle track are the series of obstacles. An important point to make is that the Jungle track never ends because the track is connected. Thereby students can repeat the obstacles over and over and keep learning. The last element of the track is the cooperation and communication between students that happens when students move around on the Jungle track. I have an objective of incorporating these three learning elements in my regular teaching when working with ICT. The track combines a high activity level, many different tasks, as well as communication and cooperation.
At the beginning of the process my focus was on the boys. My goal was to create a more boy-friendly approach to learning and ICT. But the reality was certainly different, since the project turned out to have as great an effect, if not an even greater effect, on the girls in class.
The Digital Jungle track – A didactic teaching model
The best learning and teaching is achieved when the students are involved in the process, and the content is based on their ideas. Jungletracks in physical education classes are always very popular and by linking the use of ICT with the Jungletrack, I had the first teaching model ready. Physical Education moved in side by side with Danish lessons. The Jungletrack became the basis for a new form of teaching with ICT as a tool, sport as a model and the ability to read as the professional goal.
When I set up a Jungletrack in class, I prepare the professional goals first. In one case, students will work with the vowels and their sounds. I find the educational material which we would normally use and transform it into individual stages for the Jungletrack. I then consider which ICT resources the students must have experience with and which programs support the education. Once the class begins, I set up the individual stages in the classroom and the students help set up the Jungletrack, so that each item is connected as shown in the example. When we work with movement it is important to both explain and show the students how the Jungletrack should be completed. It is not enough just to talk about the track. As a teacher you must be ready to crawl under the table, jump on the boards and save balls on the Xbox with enthusiasm. When you do it this way most students quickly get the idea. I have worked very successfully with the Jungletrack model in my teaching, and the elements of movement stimulate learning in a very positive way.
The activity level for each student is very high when I use the Jungletrack as a didactic model. The method affords renewed energy throughout the class, and students really engage in the activity. The advantages of being able to add movement to teaching is undoubtedly rewarding. The fact that ICT is used actively and the students move from task to task, challenge their readiness for change. The repetition of each task ensures an understanding of the students learning process.
The Jungletrack model is not limited to special computer classes or large rooms. A few square meters of space and a few ICT resources can quickly be converted into a moving environment and make even the most boring classroom exciting, inspiring and instructive in the use of the schools’ ICT resources.
A teaching environment with cooperative learning and collaboration between students does sometimes pose a challenge for teachers. By using the Jungletrack model formal learning is placed in a universe of assignments, play and learning. Here the starting point is based on the students’ competences and ability to play. I experience that student cooperation acquires new meaning when it is put in a different frame of learning.
The potential of the Jungletrack is great, and by giving students a say in how the track is set up and what the assignments are, you develop their creativity and allow for them to take responsibility for the learning process. Because the track is founded on play, the students go straight to the assignments and cooperate to get through the IT stations.
At the Jungletrack you can use all kinds of ICT ranging from normal computer programs to Xbox, webcam, Skype and many others. It is only your imagination and the target group that limits implementation of the schools’ ICT tools. You can present the digital tools in a playful and informal way that is based on the everyday lives of the children.
The digital media all get new meaning when they are placed in a different context. You no longer just teach IT but instead combine it with the teaching tools and options available in the classroom.