EDU 520.90 – Digitally-Mediated Teaching & Learning
Digitally-Mediated Learning Activity
This learning activity is aimed towards college-level algebra students. Students will be split into groups and will be instructed to work with their groups throughout the entire learning activity. Students will be read the following set of learning objectives (or standards): 1) to be able to collaborate with other students in a group setting; 2) to be able to manage time efficiently; 3) to be able to effectively communicate in a verbal and written format; and 4) to use and become comfortable with technology. Groups will be asked to pick a math-related topic that interests them. After choosing their topics, each group must meet periodically to research their topic and share their research with each other. They must then meet and check-in with the instructor to discuss the progress of their research during the research process and when they have finished. They must assess and evaluate their teammates during the research process using the Peer-Assessment Rubric (see below). Each student will fill out a rubric for each team member (they will not do self-assessments). Next, each student, working with their group members, will construct a type-written outline which will discuss how he/she will contribute to a visual project. The visual project will be constructed around the math topic chosen and will be made using technology such as PowerPoint, Prezi, video software, or other technology. A sample of a quality visual project will be presented in class and saved online so that students can go and look at it later for reference. They then will work with their groups to help each other prepare for giving a 2-minute oral presentation about their portion of the topic chosen. Lastly, they will present a 2-minute oral presentation around their portion of the math topic chosen as well as explain their portion of the visual project to the class on a designated date. Students not presenting and listening to the group members’ talk will then assess each group member after each has presented using a Peer Assessment Form.
Class time will not be used for the research portion of the activity. One of the underlying messages in this activity is for students to take their own initiative to complete these assignments. Students need to be able to initiate and complete tasks outside of class and need to be able to start communicating and collaborating with their peers in a group setting to complete a task, since most jobs require teamwork to complete a project. As Liem et. al (2011) contend, “motivation in learning is ideally engendered by self-directed participation in challenging and worthwhile collaborative activity” (p. 6).
Learning Theory – Experiential Learning
The learning theory that most closely correlates with this learning activity is called Experiential Learning. Learning is facilitated when the student takes his or her own initiative to study or look up course or research material. When the subject matter the learner studies is also considered relevant to them, they become more involved and absorbed in the learning process; while retaining more of the material they study. They become individually motivated. By collaborating in groups, students can also motivate each other – not only to meet deadlines, or to help perform research, but to increase interest in the subject material itself, since they are exploring a topic they all enjoy. Experiential learning also talks about the learner self-evaluating. Students will need to self-assess their own progress and modify their actions accordingly. Is the work each of them doing on their oral projects enough to fulfill the criteria to get an “excellent” score? What amount of work needs to be done to make a set of PowerPoint slides as a group? How many times does the group have to meet? When will the outline get written? Who is going to construct this particular part of the Prezi? The students have to work on asking themselves questions just like these, and the intent behind the projects’ setup allows for self-assessment to happen. The framework of this activity allows this type of learning theory to be utilized and for the students to maximize their learning potential all at the same time.
Falling in between informal and formal learning, this two-part learning activity would be considered a non-formal learning exercise. As Eshach (2007) recounts, “non-formal learning occurs in a planned but highly adaptable manner in institutions, organizations, and situations beyond the spheres of formal or informal education. It shares the characteristic of being mediated with formal education, but the motivation for learning may be wholly intrinsic to the learner” (p. 173). The main goal with this exercise is to turn the classroom from a teacher-centered to student-centered one. Students should take responsibility for their learning. This way, the work they put in and the results they get out will mean more to them. As Pascarella and Terenzini asserted, “the greater the student’s involvement or engagement in academic work or in the academic experience of college, the greater his or her level of knowledge acquisition and general cognitive development” (as cited in Garrett, 2011, p. 4).
Bloom’s Taxonomy & Technology
Bloom’s Taxonomy refers to a classification of levels of intellectual behavior important for learning. The classification can be pictured as a pyramid or rectangle, where the lower-order thinking skills (LOTS) are on the bottom, and the higher-order thinking skills (HOTS) are on the top. From LOTS to HOTS it reads, Remembering -> Understanding -> Applying -> Analyzing -> Evaluating -> Creating. In other words, a learner cannot understand something unless they can remember it. Next, a learner cannot apply something unless they have remembered and understood it, and so on. Incorporating technology into this pyramid is where digital taxonomy comes into play. Digital (or technological) components can be incorporated into each level of learning to aid learners with mastering that level. According to Revere and Kovach (2011), “technology, appropriately integrated with course content, furthers education by promoting a learner-centered environment through engaging activities” (p. 113). Integrating technology appropriately into a well-thought out curriculum can engage students, facilitate collaboration, lead to social communication, and help them to become more comfortable using technology in future classes or research projects.
At the lowest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy – “Remembering” – technology is integrated into this learning activity by having them use the Internet and research material on their chosen topic. They can Google their topic and a list of webpages for them to visit will appear. They can then make a list of which sites to visit and bookmark where to visit if they have to return to them at a later date. The “Understanding” level would be were students would begin to paraphrase or put material they find online about their topic into their own words. They would need to classify and organize material into files and folders to help them organize all of the material they are collecting. They may use Facebook to connect with their group members at this stage. They are beginning the process of collaboration. Moving to the “Evaluating” stage, students have now chosen their oral presentation material and should know what part they play in creating the group’s visual project. Group members should be working together to see how all of the individual pieces that they are working on will fit together into a whole. They could each post material online into Google Docs and share their work so all group members can see what each other has done. They should be critiquing and commenting on each other’s work either in person, or through email, Facebook, or texting exchanges. The last step – “Creating” – is where students should be working on their visual project – a PowerPoint, Prezi, video, or mashup – using technology to help them complete this task, as well as compiling what they will say in their 2-minute oral presentations. They must communicate and collaborate with each other all along the way to get things done efficiently and on time to complete both projects. Technology will help them do all of those things quickly and efficiently.
Assessment & Evaluation
Assessment is the process of gathering data about instructors’ teaching and students’ learning. The data gathered can be used to evaluate student performance. Decisions can then be made to modify or improve curricula or activities for teachers and students. Three types of assessment will be used in this learning activity – informal, formative, and summative.
Informal assessment consists of assessing students on a one-time basis in order to get instant feedback for the teacher or student. The Peer Assessment Form is a type of informal assessment, since this will only be filled out one time – when the presenter gives their 2-minute oral presentation and explains their contribution to the visual project. These will be handed to the presenter after he/she is finished talking. In addition, each student will be given a Post-Learning Activity Questionnaire at the completion of the learning activity. This will allow the teacher and student to get some feedback on whether this activity was worthwhile and beneficial to both. If not, changes could be made to the activity so that next time the activity is run, it may work more smoothly and the instructor and students will end up with more beneficial results.
Formative assessment is where the learning process is measured before and during instruction to provide feedback on successes and failures for both teacher and students. Each of the following four learning objectives will be assessed in detail throughout the length of the research process using formative assessment: collaboration skills; time management skills; communication skills; and technology use skills. Each student will be given a Formative Assessment Rubric (see below) before the start of the learning activity which he/she can use as a guide as to how the teacher will evaluate them later on in each of these criteria. Typically, formative assessments are not evaluated using a graded system, but are used for feedback. However, in this activity, group members will be assessed and evaluated on having done various tasks. One of these tasks is to meet with the professor during and after the research process. By meeting with the professor both during and at the end of the research process, students can discuss their progress with the teacher on the items in the rubric to see how they are doing to accomplish each of these tasks. If improvement needs to made, it should be done so after the first meeting but before the second one (which would take place before the actual presentations occurred). With the completion of the second visit and presentation of the oral and visual projects, the Formative Assessment Rubric would be filled out for evaluation for each student. Another type of formative assessment is the Peer Assessment Rubric (see below) used during the research process. Each student will assess each student in their group (except themselves) using this rubric. The rubrics will be copied and passed out for each student to look at. This rubric is meant is a feedback form for each student to assess their own progress over the research process. However, the rubrics will be handed into the teacher for a grade toward the learning activity.
Summative assessment is used to assess achievement at the end of a course of instruction. The summative (performance) assessment used in this learning activity will have students presenting a 2-minute oral talk, and constructing and discussing a visual project related to a mathematics topic of their choice. Using the Summative Assessment Rubric (see below), students will be assessed and evaluated on various tasks and behaviors exhibited. Students will also be shown this rubric in advance so that they can see what will constitute a perfect possible score. A Summative Assessment Rubric will be filled out for each student and scored appropriately.
Peer Assessment Rubric (during research process)
Eshach, H. (2007). Bridging in-school and out-of-school learning: Formal, non-formal, and informal education. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 16(2), 171-190. doi:10.1007/s10956-006-9027-1
Garrett, C. (2011). Defining, detecting, and promoting student engagement in college learning environments. Transforming Dialogues: Teaching & Learning Journal, (5)2, 1-12.
Liem, G. D., Walker, R., & McInerney, D. M. (2011). Sociocultural theories of learning and motivation: Looking back. looking forward. Retreived from http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/eds/ebookviewer/ebook/bmxlYmtfXzQ3MDI0MV9fQU41?sid=310a2652-b307-4f1e-9102-8689da4de9c2@sessionmgr115&vid=11&format=EB&rid=3
Revere, L., & Kovach, J. (2011). Online technologies for engaged learning: A meaningful synthesis for educators. The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 12(2), 113-124.