Please find below reflections from Grade 9 (MYP 4) students on the IDU between Geography and Digital Design.
The interdisciplinary unit study of MYP Digital Design and MYP Individuals and Society helped us to understand sustainable urban systems because Individuals and Societies educates us on the content which we will use to create an awareness for people around the world with the skills gained from website design and publishing. This information could be made accessible to everybody in this modern and information age.
I have benefited a lot from this unit because I learnt how to create a real website. This requires a lot of design knowledge and computing skills to create. I have also learnt about the socio-economic conditions of the people who live in slum areas due to stress on urban systems. With the skills and knowledge gained, I have created my own website that seeks to inform global leaders and communities about the need to upgrade a named slum.
So, in my opinion, I think this disciplinary unit really teaches a lot and comes with a lot of benefits from each subject’s area. One main problem I faced was creating a website which I have never done before without coding. Even though it is much easier the first website I created was done from scratch by coding and it was a tough experience and this as well.I collaborated with my group members to create infographics for the slums in Orangi by researching and synthesizing the required information.
My main strength in this assessment was my ability to complete the summative ahead of schedule because our group performed well in the formative assessment, so it gave those who participated well a little boost in their summative assessment.
My weaknesses in this assessment is the creation of the website which required lots of skills that made me spend a long time on that task.
From this IDU, I learnt that systems are a set of things collaborating to work together as a unit or network. I also learnt that sustainability is keeping and maintaining something for a long period of time. Finally, I learnt that innovation is a thought and collection of different ideas to create something unique and special.
~Deion Mitchel (MYP 4)
From this IDU, I have learnt that systems operate when different units are able to work together in a connecting network. I was able to connect the two disciplines to have a broader understanding on the topics presented. I also learnt that innovation is introducing new ideas or ways to something that already exists. Sustainability is when you’re able to keep something for a very long time or its able to stand the test of time. With all the knowledge and skills acquired from the IDU, I was able to create a sustainable and innovative system for upgrading a slum in a named location.
MYP Design and MYP Individuals and Societies has helped me understand sustainable urban systems. The individuals and Societies aspect of this whole IDU has taught me everything I need to know about urban systems. This ranges from the definition of slums, to why people move to slums, the disadvantages they face etc. In class, we looked at a sustainable city that was designed digitally. This helped us understand what the teacher was saying even further. When it got to the option of making a sustainable solution, I observed that there could be many ways in which you could combine the two subjects. Examples are making videos, posters, websites, advertisements on TVs, etc. We ended up making our own websites and I learnt that you could get money from making a website when you impact people. So when I put the knowledge I had from individuals and societies into the website, it made an impact on me and I’m sure it will make an impact on the readers too.
I began this IDU with a very narrow mind thinking I would not enjoy it since I do not study Geography nor Digital design. I thought any knowledge acquired throughout this unit would be completely useless in the future since neither of the disciplines were in my career path, however I was wrong. I rather ended up enjoying the unit and I’ve learnt a lot of skills that will be beneficial for the future.
Another problem I faced was the initial lack of interest for the creation of my website. I generally do not enjoy computer related or digital activities, so I was very reluctant to create my website and I was very unsure of how the quality of the website would turn out. I ended up learning creating a website that I am proud of and can now navigate to my satisfaction.
I can now effectively navigate my way through creating a website and teach others to do so as well. I am now able to understand and empathize for those who live in poor conditions and to be grateful for what I have. I’ve also learnt a number of ways in which scientific technologies can be used to upgrade slums and I can further apply that knowledge to how other poor living conditions can be upgraded with the use of innovative technologies.
~ Ekua Essel
The MYP inter disciplinary unit has helped me to be an inquirer. I have been motivated to research and look into various issues concerning slums and slum upgrading, looked for different scientific, innovative and sustainable ways to solve the problem of slums and slum upgrading, inquired and researched into what slums were, the features of a slum and most importantly the problems or issues confronting these slums.
The study of the unit further helped me to nurture the ATL skill called collaboration skills. Over the last three days particularly during the first two days, I have had to collaborate with different people to create excellent group presentations for a formative assessment. I contributed massively to the group presentation which by researching the solutions to address the upgrading of slums. This has also helped me to be an open-minded person and take into consideration other people’s views and opinions.
~ Kwame Asafo-Adjei
This was my first time treating an IDU and I must say it was an exciting and challenging journey. My colleague and I had to brainstorm on how to make the content of the two disciplines relevant to the scenario we were exploring. I was very delighted to see students engaged through out the various stages of the unit. They were collaborating, inquiring and reflecting on the discussions in the class. I would say this IDU has offered me the opportunity to see first hand how what I do with my students in the classroom can be used to solve real world problems.
~ Dennis Mensah Akortah, Digital Design Teacher
Planning and teaching the Interdisciplinary unit (IDU) has been a professionally rewarding experience for me. I had the opportunity to collaborate with my colleague, Mr Dennis Akortah, to plan the unit for all the Grade 9 students. We had to find time to discuss and agree on common key and related concepts. We then had to identify areas of our disciplinary groundings that could be synthesized to meet the learning needs of all the students. We had a limited time at our disposal to strategize for the three day learning engagement. Notwithstanding, these initial challenges, we managed, with support from Mr. Adiapah and Mr. Awakey, to successfully teach the proposed unit. At the end of the unit I observed that the collaborative nature of the intensive preparations towards the interdisciplinary teaching, strengthened the professional relationship between teachers. The IDU further provided an opportunity for me to be drawn closer to students that were not in my Geography class. May I take this opportunity to express our profound appreciation to the MYP team for us giving us the opportunity to enhance our skills through the teaching of the IDU.
~ Michael Odame (Geography teacher)