A Student’s Take on Peer Review

In this summative assignment in a freshmen Honors English Composition class, students were asked to review their papers and assignments from the course, and determine 1-3 specific areas of growth or improvement, as well as specific classroom activities, assignments, etc. that contributed to the improvement. Students were then asked to demonstrate this in a creative work in any format/mode, and present the project to the class. A goal of the project was to reflect on one’s learning in a creative style which reflects both the learning itself and the personality or talents of the student.

Emily Tran created this awesome reflective video on her experiences with peer review.

Visible Thinking

Visible Thinking is a research-based approach to making learning visible so that it can be reflected on and built on. It emphasizes three core practices: thinking routines, the documentation of student thinking and reflective professional practice. It is the difference between teaching skills and teaching students to think creatively and critically. The use of thinking routines encourages the development of habits of observing and analyzing situations and problems. Project Zero developed thinking routines as simple structures that help students work through complex information to make it accessible and then to reflect back on what they have learned.

View the video below for an introduction to Thinking Routines. Then review the tools to find one to begin using in your classes now.
 

12 Days of Learning: Digital Storytelling

Atomic Learning has created the 12 Days of Learning, a series of articles designed to kick off resolutions to keep learning in the new year. We thought this was a great idea and have decided borrow (shamelessly steal) it and do our own. It’s Day 9 of our series and that means it’s time for digital storytelling.

Digital Storytelling is a way for students to create short stories using digital tools. These stories may include audio, video, images, and/or text. It is a way for students to demonstrate their knowledge about a subject in way other than writing a paper. The process of creating digital stories is often interdisciplinary requiring the use of research, analysis, planning, writing, media and technical skills to convey a story or content knowledge.

Getting started with digital storytelling in your classroom can seem intimidating. Fortunately, there are a lot of resources out there to help. The image below from the University of Houston’s digital storytelling site breaks the process down into steps. Visit their site for all the information on each step and check out the other resources linked below.

Digital Storytelling Resources: 
University of Houston Digital Storytelling
How to Design a Digital Media Assignment
Engage – University of Wisconsin, Madison
Media Commons – Penn State

 

Teaching Body Movement Online with Kaltura Video

Nancy Beardall teaches Body/Movement Observation and Assessment for the Expressive Therapies program. This September, she taught the course in a fully online format for the first time. Initially, Nancy couldn’t imagine how she could successfully support students learning body, effort, space, and shape at a distance. Enter Kaltura, a video recording and sharing software that is integrated directly into myLesley.

Nancy’s students were required to observe and practice the fundamentals of body movement, but they were only going to be on campus for a few weeks during their summer residency. Nancy’s solution was to record her on campus students performing the body fundamental exercises and then uploaded these videos to her online course using the Kaltura Media Gallery. The online students could then review the videos as often as they needed, comment on what they observed in their assignments and discussions, and then practice the movements on their own. If students had questions, Nancy could refer them to the videos and even reference specific moments or clips within the movies.

body fundamentals video screenshot

The Kaltura videos worked so well that Nancy’s on campus students wanted to use it as well. The videos provided them with an easy way to review and practice their observation skills outside of class. They also uploaded selected dance project videos to Kaltura to share with their classmates for feedback.

Nancy has nothing but good things to say about Kaltura. She refers to it now as a “lifesaver” for her online course. She and her students also found it much more accessible and less cumbersome than previous software tools they had used to share video. Considering that Nancy didn’t get access to Kaltura until three days before the start of her course, and needed to get both herself and her students comfortable with the tool, this is high praise for its ease of use.

So what are you waiting for? Contact eLIS and start using Kaltura Video in your online or face-to-face courses today.

The Journey to Expert Performance: Authentic eLearning Assignments

How can we best support learners in their ability to apply knowledge and skills to complex situations? Moving away from abstract, decontextualized learning that leads to inert knowledge is difficult to transfer to problem-solving situations. A key element that can move learners to a higher level of expertise is a cognitively authentic task. Collaboratively working on complex, authentic tasks can be a key to students’ successful transfer of knowledge and skills to real world contexts.

Cognitive Apprenticeship

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Collins, Brown and Newman (1989) suggested an extension of the traditional apprenticeship model of learning through what they termed the “Cognitive Apprenticeship”. They claimed that traditional apprenticeships have three elements cognitively important for a model of learning:

  1. Leaners have access to models of expertise-in-use against which to refine their understanding of complex skills.
  2. Apprentices often have several masters and have access to a variety of models of expertise leading to an understanding that there may be different ways to carry out a task, and that no one individual embodies all knowledge and expertise.
  3. Learners have the opportunity to observe other learners with varying degrees of skill (p.456)

Authentic e-Learning

authentic task visual

More recently, Herrington, Reeves, and Oliver (2010) have developed a framework based on the idea of cognitive apprenticeship. The elements of the framework can be used as a set of criteria for designing learning experiences:

  1. Provide authentic contexts that reflect the way the knowledge will be used in real life
  2. Provide authentic tasks
  3. Provide access to expert performances and the modeling of processes
  4. Provide multiple roles and perspectives
  5. Support collaborative construction of knowledge
  6. Promote reflection to enable abstractions to be formed
  7. Promote articulation to enable tacit knowledge to be made explicit
  8. Provide coaching and scaffolding by the teacher at critical times
  9. Provide for authentic assessment of learning within the tasks

Authentic learning is very well suited to online learning, but while students may be familiar with technologies of participatory culture, they need guidance in working on collaborative online teams and coaching at critical times during problem-solving.

If you are interested in creating an authentic online or blended task for your online, hybrid or face-to-face teaching, please feel free to contact elis@lesley.edu. Our design staff has expertise in the creation of collaborative online learning and have presented at national conferences on the topic.