Friday, November 23, 2012

Transparency and Reverse Teaching Project  Summary

Gray - New Gloucester Middle School Tech Ed

How did it go?......
Way back last summer when the living was easy, I proposed that to provide transparency for students I would post on the web the Tech Ed standards and the associated tasks I assign to meet them. I wrote "I have already organized most of the Tech standards into units by grade level and have developed tasks or activities for many of the standards. I would like to present the standards and tasks for each unit in two column charts and post the charts online for students to access."

I used my wikispace to post the standards and tasks - see  My GNGTech Wikispace. The wiki home page shows the grade levels in color coded rectangles with some of the respective units for the grade levels listed beneath. The unit name is a link to the standards.

At first I had the unit name link to all the standards for the unit with the "I cans" ( this is what we call the breakdown of the standard into what a student must be able to do to show proficiency) for each standard listed in one column and the tasks in the next column. This set up was extremely wordy and it was difficult for students to find what they were working on. I changed the set up so the unit name links to a list of the standards for the unit. Each standard links to the list of "I cans" and tasks.

For the reverse teaching part of the project, I created some how-to videos for the tasks so that students would be able to watch the videos when they were ready for that part of the task. 
What worked? 
For the most part, having the videos available anytime for students to access was very helpful. I did not have to give refresher directions and students payed better attention to video than they would have to me giving a demonstration. 
It was helpful to have the lists of tasks in one spot for students to follow through. 

What didn't work?
The text design for the standards and tasks is still too wordy and looks overwhelming. I had to help students find where they were supposed to be. 

If there was a lapse of a few days between when I showed students where they could access the video and when they got around to doing the task, they would not remember that there are videos and would ask me how to do the task. And sometimes it seemed faster to tell them how than to show them how to access the videos.

Sometime students would say that they watched the video and didn't understand it. The quicker students would watch the video and get things done and the students who usually need extra help would be slower about getting things done and get around to the task a few days later. So they would all be asking for help and saying they didn't understand the video at about the same time.

Whats next?  How will you change it? 

Perhaps if I had more work done on the site so it was used consistently, students would get accustomed to the format and be able to find their way around. A lot of the links I have students use are on a portaportal because that was a reliable and district sanctioned venue for links. I am still having students use the portaportal and now have the wiki as well. It will be better when I get the tasks and links organized in one spot.

To reduce the wordy overwhelming look of the standards pages, I plan to continue linking the unit name with the listing of standards but change the standard to a title that sums up what the standard is about. For example "TE.03.TS.01.01 - Explain how Agriculture and Biotechnologies interact with society, sometimes bringing about changes in a society’s economy, politics, and culture and often leading to the creation of new needs and wants." would become something simpler that zeroes in on the topic like "Agriculture Changes Society". Students would be able to find the topic they are working on and click it to go to their tasks.

Of course I have a lot more to do on the site and more videos to create. I think some of the videos could have better quality. I'm still trying to figure out how to get the mike to pick up my voice better and how to get rid of the buzzing sound. The big issue is time because of the number of different things I teach, the number of classes I teach, and the number of things the administration thinks up for us to do.

1 comment:

  1. I found I had to build up a common place for them to go. I bought a domain (easy to remember) to make 1 stop shopping. It does take time to create the culture where the students understand to use the site and info you provide.