As a retired math/science teacher, I can see real value in this activity, but it isn't what you had in mind. I often used group problem solving activities with students in both math and science. (These were not tests.) Invariably, there were strong personalities who monopolized the activity and other, shyer (or less capable) students who simply went "along for the ride" and contributed little or nothing. This activity solves the problem nicely by requiring every student to actively contribute to the group in a way that is fun and non-threatening. This has been a problem teachers have long tried to solve. I think you may have inadvertently found the solution!
Caryl Bigenho (OLPC Support Volunteer)
It is nice to hear such encouraging words from you and we hope we live up to your expectations with this activity.
This is a very interesting concept, except why are you focused on tests, when those work at cross-purposes to the collaborative-constructive nature of the XO and the OLPC? When children create and share using the XO, they should be assessed on what they DO - not what they memorize or remember for a multiple choice test.
So maybe the better way to take this is to talk about assessment, not testing - how can we create tools to help teachers assess student learning when they use the XO in their classes.
Douglas M. Harvey Associate Professor - Richard Stockton College firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your feedback. I accept your view point about the need for the collaborative and constructive nature of the XO. This is one of the main reasons for having a demo mode in the toolkit. This will help in facilitating classroom discussion. Please do not misinterpret the toolkit as just being a tool for handing out monotonous objective type questions to the children. Rather, the toolkit is aimed at helping classroom discussion, helping children learn and apply their concepts with flash cards and create and test knowledge using interactive and digital question papers.
I am eager to hear more ideas regarding the assessment tools mentioned in your response.
- This is well put. How can this become a tru educational toolkit, and not simply a quiz generator? More detailed use cases are needed. --Sj talk 16:11, 7 April 2008 (EDT)
I have been thinking about this idea myself
Actually, I am shocked by how similar this is to the idea I had. Since my main work is on Develop right now, I can't really say I was anywhere near actually doing anything about it, though.
Some differences between your ideas (as I understand them) and mine:
- It is important for the app to keep data for teachers, administrators, and researchers to do formative and summative evaluation. This means, at first, keeping all kinds of data - what is asked and what is responded, when, by whom. Later, tools for browsing and/or anonymizing this data - tools which have defaults that are useful for actual teachers, even at the cost of not being elegantly "turing-complete", that is, beautiful to a programmer - would be useful.
- Worthwhile to be able to "keep problems for later", ie, a teacher can pose a question in class, get quick/short responses at the time, and then say "give me a deeper answer as homework".
- Along with your "demo mode", which is really a totally unrelated tool that is simply also useful in a classroom context, goes the "spy mode" where the teacher pulls a screenshot from a student who appears to be off-task. I know that this will rub the more committed constructivists the wrong way, but as an actual classroom teacher I can attest that the mere existence of this kind of possibilities makes them mostly unnecessary. I would also support this function being visible and preventable by the student (as a teacher, you just have a policy on when "privacy mode" is/is not appropriate).
More comments later.
Homunq 22:46, 24 March 2008 (EDT)
This is great and I will invite you to collaborate on this project when you get time off from "Develop". The ResultViewer Module will be helpful in achieving the first feature. The second feature will be implemented later with a global web-service for teachers all around the world. I do not believe the Demo mode is a totally unrelated tool, since, it helps in classroom discussion and is very similar to implement as the other mode. Currently I do not have any plans to implement a spy mode but will be very happy to discuss the idea further with you. Thanks and looking forward to hear from you,
Looks great! I especially like the way you address the whole chain of work including client and server.
I could use some more detail on the client side. What is the activity you envision for the editor? Is it the browse activity?
Do you have a lead school or user for this?
The reason I ask (aside its a great idea) I'm trying to build a simple blog posting tool for kids. http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Educational_Blogger_Project_GSoC
If you build a flexible tool for creating and formating content (especially web pages) then we may want to reuse it...
Gregorio 16:40, 13 April 2008 (EDT)
Thanks. The project will be tested in OLPC Pilot projects after its roll-out to get more feedback from the users(students and teachers). Please check this page in the coming week for more updates.
I think that Educational Blogger is an excellent project and feel that some of the code from the Editor module can be re-used in the first use-case of the project. I will keep in touch with you regarding the same.