Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Larry's Queries

Just in case, I seem to have grown to cocky while away from my students, I want to lay out some issues that are simmering away over the summer, unresolved. I’m hoping that my readership may have some ideas about my assorted challenges. Feel free to comment publicly or correspond privately.

Trickle Down Wikinomics

I teach an elective Advanced Placement U.S. Government to seniors and a required America Government class to sophomores. The former is a college political science class and the latter is more comparable to basic civics.

I usually require some kind of project from the AP class during the first semester. This time, I was thinking of assigning some wiki projects around different portions of the Constitution. I would like to give the seniors the aim of building a helpful resource for the sophomores. I’m comfortable assigning the wiki project. I’ve done that before with other classes. But I am not sure how to utilize this kind of resource with the younger students. Any ideas?

Blog Squad

I am very excited about the impending launch of the Blog Squad. The general aim would be to provide a way for students to help students when teachers launched tech projects. This will be a pilot involving a small circle The participating adults (six or seven) have helped me identify thirty prospective student participants. I have decided to try a Ning for facilitating this project. I am relatively inexperienced with Nings. Any suggestions?

Group Work

As I move forward into challenge based learning I still remain puzzled about achieving accountability with the groups. I can reflect on a number of great things that came out of the wiki projects I tried last year, but complaints about group members not following through dogged these enterprises. Any input will be welcomed.


Pat Caputo said...

What's a "ning"?

Larry Baker said...

Great question, Book. Nings are "free" online platforms for creating social networks. They can be huge, like "Linked In" which exists for job networking or very small like the Blog Squad I set up.

If I were still coaching girls hoops, maybe I would start one for class "A" metro Detroit coaches. We could have discussion threads on different topics and it would be cool to have a place to find scrimmage opponents (always challenging). You can share links and other goodies. I just came back from a week with Apple Educators and joined three nings I heard about. But of course if the small ones don't have lots of activity they die.

You can get one started in five minutes at http://ning.com/

Book, if you weren't so busy with Twitter you and I could start a ning celebrating the accomplishments of Eddie Miles, "The Man with the Golden Arm."

Alison K-K said...

Just as a start (I'll ponder further on other points), I found it helpful with my wiki project to have rubrics for individuals, rather than groups, even though students were working in groups on the same topic, their individual grade was based on their contribution to the project. It's not perfect, but I found this to be helpful. It's still a work in progress, though, and there's a lot more I'd like to do with it...

Larry Baker said...

Thanks, Alison. Could you post or privately share a sample rubric?

Anonymous said...

Peer assessment in groups is one of the tools I use. It covers quality of ideas and contributions as well as quantity. The last part is one long bar where the student would mark off the %contribution of the each team member. I give them the peer assessment at the beginning of the project to look over so everyone knows what is involved.

I also try to meet with every group regularly. Sometimes I am able to do this each week. The structure is a report on what occurred during the week and then they share their task list for the next week. If you have too many groups for this, perhaps the group could blog this bit for you.

I am a newbie to the blogging space. Enjoying the experience. Sorry this comment is so long after your post.

Larry Baker said...

Thanks, Helen. Great suggestions.

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