I've seen various aspects of my question in other posts but nothing as specific as I need. I'd appreciate your collective thoughts on this one:
Scenario: Next year all students in one year group (year 10) will have a netbook computer. My aim is to make this as paperless a course as possible by using Moodle and programmes like One Note. This means students collect teaching notes, annotate etc replacing copying from the board and adding notes. However, these are high school students and still learning to learn so I need to assess their progress. One big issue that all my colleagues (and I note, other Moodlers) have raised is that they will be off-task playing games instead of focussing on the lesson. These netbooks were supposedly locked down by the Department but most year 9s had them jailbroken in about 3 months and posted this on the 'net! In the "old days" I could see students on-task by looking at them writing into paper books but screens don't face me!
So, I need to ensure progress in learning and grade same without some of the checks I had in the past.
My solution: Ignore the process and go for the end product. I grade what they produce and not the timing of them getting to it. I start the year with a series of lessons on web-based/Moodle/netbook-based learning so everyone knows the score. A short test will be given to find out preferred ways of working. Self-starters will be allowed to work away, a mid-group given some supervision and the least e-learning able will have more time from me to get them going. This means each learns at his own pace. It also means I can't check everyone all the time (but if I focus only on the end product I shouldn't need to).
I think this will work as I have colleagues who share this vision. I also realise it isn't perfect so how would you tackle this problem? Technically, I need a series of formative learning grades where the end product is the summative task.
All ideas welcomed.
Since you are working in a real time context, include real time face to face networking as part of your plan (encourage students to use each other as resources). Be sure to ask questions that require judgment and discussion to "force the network". Be sure in include expectations to foster the approach in the class.
I have used the "quiz results block" as a means of informing the network. Students regularly notice and comment on the results of others and it serves as a prompt as well as a means of helping them identify helpful nodes. (this requires some real effort in the development of question banks).It also means integrating the quiz questions well with the more divergent activities.
Get good at managing the grade book so recent activity has a big impact.
Have your students who have trouble setting and keeping goals make SMART goals at the beginning of each class.
Have students turn around so you can see their screens.
Yes, there will be disappointing results for some students. And yes, you are right, they would be disappointing in a regular context, but you wouldn't know about them.
This is something we are tackling as well. We had a bit of a discussion about it that you can view here:
I agree with John, groupwork is a good way around this.
We are also thinking that we need to change the way we are using Moodle. Traditionally we have had activities that involved us dictating what happened. Even though they may have been collaborative based (such as forums and wiki's etc), it was still a very strict model in terms of what they were supposed to do.
We are toying with the idea of moving towards a more open and evolving model whereby the students are given objectives and targets and then a lot of flexibility on how they arrive at these. At the very least, they have more input on the ways we teach them. Currently we are considering how we can do this but still make sure they are staying on track and learning the required skills and material.
eg. recently we gave them a course where they were administrators and had to add the activities they thought they needed in order to organise themselves and keep track of and polish all the work they were gathering. We offered advice where necessary but apart from that it was all up to them. They actually really enjoyed it and virtually all the students were actively engaged. We were able to use a mixture of looking at the logs and asking questions to get a picture of peoples involvement.
I think because the students owned the process as well as the material they were more motivated.
Another activity idea is a reverse quiz which I have talked about here.
Yes, yes, yes... students working together gets more buy in from many students...
Another suggestion would be to have work that has to be posted during the classtime to show what they have been working on when doing research etc. This might be that the assignment where they will post their finished product allow reposting and students upload their notes or partially completed projects at the end of each class period so the teacher can monitor (also makes it available for students to work on from home more easily). When working on a group project, there can be a Wiki or an online assignment where the groups post their plans/goals plus reflections on the work they accomplished that day. This can be an individual activity also when working on individual research.
I find that one of the biggest things to remember that these are the same problems we have with students when they are working without computers. It takes a teacher circulating and interacting with the groups to make sure that work is being accomplished to keep students on task. The difference is that students with computers have more temptation to get off task.
The reverse quiz is a great idea... I have had students make the questions and post in a forum or glossary or database but never thought of using the roles to let them create the quiz... that would be very motivating for some of them.
Thanks for all this. It will take me a while to digest and follow all suggestions. What I find interesting is the approach you've all taken i.e. process not grading. This is in line with what I've been seeing following the research in this topic. The other element that I found useful is that you are following lines of inquiry I've been working on i.e. groupwork and changed roles. At a time when we are expected to change rapidly without the time to research and plan such responses as you have given are a reinforcement that I am going on the right lines. I'll add my thoughts to this in that it is also a cultural process - we can't bring this in overnight but gradually over 2/3 years. I'm going to work on a 9-12 learning strategy using laptops so I can put my year 10s into context.
Can I assume that you grade this work as per usual e.g. mark a specific piece of work? Does anyone try to grade the process of learning? The nearest i've seen is use the database/forum function to restrict upload until comments have been made elsewhere.
I realise that at the end of the day we have to grade and assess the students and this is something I rather dislike (I quite disagree with the idea of having to put a quantitative value on something that is qualitative but that's another rant and can see why we need to do it).
My opinion (though I will admit I can be on a different planet sometimes so feel free to disagree) is that the process is the most important thing. Students are essentially at school to learn how to learn, to learn how to problem solve. Students should be aware of the process, should have an appreciation of it and should be allowed to experiment to see what works and what doesn't work and what suits them best. For this reason I think it should not be assessed. My experience seems to be that as soon as you assess something most people immediately start thinking in terms of right and wrong. They take something that should be brightly colourful and turn it into black and white and try to create something that is as much as possible what they think we are looking for.
I know this doesn't really answer your question but it is probably some food for thought. I would really like to hear others opinions on this.
Now the dust has settled on another year I can gather enough brain cells to effect a reply. I don't like assessing students either but it's the way we currently place people into their ranks which seems so important to many despite theoretical inconsistencies in a criterion-referenced system.
To put a different spin on my initial request:
I can grade students on their various official tasks. I could do this as summative assessment and it shows me a rough measure of progress in terms of learning. I also provide detailed statistics and feedback to help students understand their outcomes.
The process of learning to learn (something we actually rarely teach!) is something else. I want to see how students are progressing and this is part of my formative assessment. I know there are tools out there e.g. rubrics seem to be very popular in the USA and I've taught enough in the UK to see our ICT learning skills systems in place there. I was asking if anyone had experience of assessment for formative learning. Judging from the replies there's not too much out there (and I don't see too much more in the academic literature either).
Best wishes for the season,
You could grade based on topics you taught--do they have the critical points from the lecture/assignment? etc.
your plan for 2010 reads like an exciting one! moodle has some excellent communicative, collaborative and assessment tools that will add value to your teaching. from my experience, it works also nicely from a blended learning approach - where students don't simply use the LMS during face-to-face situations, but remotely - outside normal timetabled class.
with regard to formative assessment, i suggest you use quizzes, glossaries and forums. these activities can push grades, feedback to the inbuilt moodle gradebook, but you can decide not to grade or exclude these grade items from the course aggregated totals.
put iTALC on the netbooks http://italc.sourceforge.net/
I work in a similar situation, all the other stuff, assessmeent by outcome should be done, but in keeping them on task you are helping them learn, and employers wont be so forgiving/
Happy New Year.
Thanks for these suggestions and yes, Chad, 2010 is going to be another exciting time. Actually, I think that unless I can get enthused about what I'm doing I have no right to expect it of students. I like to have constant challenges and Moodle certainly provides those!
I like the iTalc idea but these netbooks are locked: we can't even add a simple programme.
I'm going to trial a system of using Moodle logs with self-assessment and checking their work. We are going with One Note prepared by teachers with students adding their own comments. These can be uploaded into assignments or journals and we can start the discussion from there. I'll keep notes on where we are going and hopefully, by year's end, I'll have something to share.
Thanks for all your input,