Unit: Swine flu and you

1 09 2009

What would you do?

For my multiliteracies assessment I have planned out (somewhat) a Swine Flu/Public Health unit for a hypothetical group of year 7s. The unit combines essential learnings mostly from the Key Learning Areas of English (we had to include English) and the Health in HPE (which suits disease units better than Science standards).

A main part of the unit planning task was to come up with multiple outcome tasks for our students, that would cater to a range of diverse learners. Gone are the days when everyone is expected to hand in a written information report. We had to design our tasks to combine not only multi-modes, but also cross-genre tasks.

The tasks I set this imaginary groups of four students were:

  • An animated morality play: Students would script and create an animated (stop-motion, flash-based, cut-outs) narrative short film that will educate a peer-level audience on appropriate disease prevention and control strategies during an influenza pandemic. This group would have some help in accessing technical expertise from a high school AV club (one good thing about a hypothetical classroom of hypothetical students with hypothetical tasks meant we could hammerspace mentors and equipment). Outcome: Script. Character outlines. Final edited video.
  • Expert interview podcast: Students would identify and approach a small number of relevant community opinion leaders (doctors, scientists, nurses, school officials, mayors etc.) to interview. They would then use excerpts of the interviews to assemble an audio podcast on disease prevention and control in the event of a local influenza outbreak. This group would also receive guidance from our friendly teens in the AV club. Outcomes: Question plans. Opinion leader profiles. Final edited podcast.
  • Public health campaign: Students will design an entire school-based public health campaign that would encourage peers to engage in activities that prevent and control spread of influenza. The school’s art teacher has thankfully volunteered to help students produce printed materials (posters, pamphlets etc.). Outcomes: Multiple campaign materials. PowerPoint and group oral presentation of campaign to class.
  • Digital art gallery: Students will create a digital art gallery centred on a specific theme related to pandemic prevention and control. Students select a variety of images and illustrations, decide how to arrange them appropriately to create a user-friendly interactive display. Each picture needs to be accompanied by a short amount of text. Outcomes: Digital gallery – pictures, captions, layout and interface.
  • Recommendation report: Students will research pandemic responses around the world and produce an information report that compares these with actions taken in Australia and then provides recommendation on actions Australia should enact in the future. The report is for the Federal Minister for Health and will have a cover letter that provides a synopsis of the reports findings. Students will also provide a small resource folder that reports on ‘further reading’ resources the minister could use. Outcomes: Cover letter/synopsis, information report, recommendations, resource folder.

What sort of learners do you think each task was designed to cater for? Do you think I missed out on a particular group of learners with these tasks? Do you have a preference for which task you would like to be allocated if you were in my hypothetical class of year 7s?

What do you think of the idea of students being set different assessment tasks? Is it fair? Is it realistic?

You may notice that some of these tasks overlap in both content, genre and modalities. This is deliberate. After all, I cannot be expected to teach five totally distinct learning outcomes to a single class at the same time (or am I?) All students are working towards the HPE Essential Learning to “understand how to/apply skills to promote health and wellbeing” among other things.

Note: This assignment has been handed in and is currently being marked. The above outcome tasks have been somewhat refined from their original state.

Advertisements




Swine flu brain pop

22 06 2009

Rather good UK children’s animated production explains the current swine flu novel Mexican A/H1N1 influenza outbreak.

Some innacuracies, but its hard to tell exactly how dated this might be. Still, definitely good enough at explaining key concepts effectively for schoolchildren

Hattip: Malaysia SMS





Pandemic in perspective

20 06 2009

Fear of disease vs. death toll
see more Funny Graphs





Pandemic is not a synonym for crisis

1 06 2009

…necessarily. In this case it’s more SNAFU.

I read this weekend’s Sunday Herald during lunch today. There was a double page spread on the growing “Swine Flu Crisis!” (251 Infected!*).

While I’m not sure if this graph is actually based on real figures, it does put the pandemic in perspective:
song chart memes
see more Funny Graphs

The threat of Mexican flu is quite relative. This strain may only turn out as bad as regular flu. But regular flu isn’t something to sniff at. Each year influenza occurs on a pandemic scale, this kills about 250,000 – 500,000 worldwide. So when the health authorities are saying “this is just like seasonal influenza”, they may be quite right to downplay the threat, but there is still a threat – SNAFU.

Was that enough mixed messages?

 

Hattip for GraphJam: Cheshire

*It’s now over 300, but didn’t reach 800. Either Mexican flu (or the testing labs) took the weekend off, or it’s possibly slowing down.





Swine flu arrives in Australia

30 05 2009

I think we are getting to the stage where it’s pretty hard to deny that the current A/H1N1 Mexican Flu is a pandemic strain of flu. This made a lot of what I was planning to blog a bit obsolete (that’s why you should blog direct).

This week in Australia confirmed cases have been pretty much doubling each day. When I was putting together my flu resources for blogging on Tuesday, it was in the 20s. On Wednesday it jumped to just over 50. Yesterday it was near 100. Ten Late News just told me it’s 209. Will it be 1000 by the end of the weekend, or maybe it’ll hit a peak by 500?

The good(?) thing about the current form of the virus is that while it appears highly infectious, it doesn’t seem particularly lethal or morbid. But it doesn’t change the fact that influenza is a potentially lethal disease – so the less people who get infected in the first place the better (that’s directed at you anti-vax wingnuts and idiots planning swine flu parties). It also isn’t reassuring that the Spanish Influenza pandemic in the early 20th century was initially mild(-ish) and became increasiningly virulent.

Some stories from the past week of pandemic emergence:

To follow the Australian governments official pandemic phase alert, visit here.

For global information – I recommend the Google-Rhiza Labs interactive map project by Dr Niman.





Pandemic panic epidemic

28 05 2009

I have a few posts lined up about swine flu. With Australian cases of A/H1N1 Mexican influenza have been steadily creeping up, I should try and get them out before we all die or something.

But i’ll take my chances and post them tomorrow, it’s getting quite late.

However I just loved that one of my friends back home pasted this on facebook. The local paper is panicking that some cruise ship that dropped of some infected passengers in Sydney (more about them later) has detoured so that instead of being distantly offshore of the Queensland coast in the Great Barrier Reef, it is now slightly less distantly offshore of the Queensland coast in the Great Barrier Reef. [Insert dramatic tone].

I’m struggling to work out how exactly it could travel along the east side of Australia without at some point being “off the coast of Rockhampton” (I’m going to just ignore the Bully momentarily forgetting that Rockhampton is not on the coast).