One day at university a group of us were discussing (or joking about) using a role play to help students understand the workings of the Internet. I remember thinking it was a great idea, but I was not sure if it would work in practice. The concepts involved can be tricky, and there are multiple layers of complexity. As a first-year undergraduate I struggled with some of these concepts myself. As it turns out, my doubts were wrong, and the idea worked brilliantly. As part of a Year 9 unit on Computer Systems, I spent a lesson discussing the Internet with my students, after which they spent a lesson developing and videoing a role play demonstrating what they had learned. The aim was for the video to be turned into something education to put on YouTube. Whilst it was necessary for me to provide plenty of scaffolds and ideas, the students came up with many of the ideas, and for the most part split the work amongst themselves in a fair and independent fashion. In the end, due to time constraints, I did the production work in producing the final video (below), but the students still felt a considerable level of ownership over the project.
What really amazed me is that following the creation and screening of the video, the class was able to reproduce around 95% of the content we had covered. Not only had they understood and internalised the concepts, but they had also started to use the technical language which I had modeled for them. I am left wondering how I can use this idea, and variants of it, with other year groups and in other units.
PS, thanks to my university pals for thinking this one up.