Saturday, March 27, 2010

FLE4 and assessment--initial thoughts

My classes don't change up from one quarter to the next--it's a full year 9th Grade Biology course.  So, I chose not to artificially interrupt the curricular pace to fit the end of this term.  We were just getting a good start on our unit in Heredity and Genetics when the end of the quarter came.  Since the administration requires an end of quarter exam I felt obliged to give one, the students were expecting one as well.  So I gave a different kind of 'test', I had them continue their FLE4 discussion.

Briefly, FLE4 is a knowledge building tool coming from the Media Lab Helsinki University.  With the computers built into the student tables students find easy access to the computer when necessary, like this assignment.

I told students that they will be continuing their knowledge building discussion started a few days ago seeking to answer the question: How do ‘children’ end up looking similar to, but still different from, their ‘parents’?  The class I'm about to mention had I think 15-20 comments to this question previous made.  For various reason there was only 14 students in this class period and I gave them 35 minutes for this 'test'.  I told them I will be looking in the dialog for them to show:
  • how you use science knowledge to ask questions and to answer questions;
  • how you bring into the discussion knowledge not directly presented in class;
  • at a more 'advanced' level, how you can effectively summarize a thread/sub-thread and provide a full answer "when the time is right";
  • evidence that the the words are your own.
Each student had their own computer.  By the end of the class, the students were tired and there was exactly 100 comments.  I printed out the 'page' on 11 x 17 paper, taping these pages together to form one long page.  Here's a picture of this long page held up by my neighboring science teachers, Ben and Ed:

Below is a detail of the looooong page... 
More thoughts to follow...

No comments:

Post a Comment