Cognitive Verbs within Digital Technologies

command prompts

I front-load my curriculum, by backwards mapping my summative assessment; starting a unit plan with what I want to summatively assess and then breaking the knowledge and skills required into formative chunks or topics. Each topic is then based on the learning intentions and success criteria of the summative assessment task. Therefore, I put a fair bit of effort into mapping the Cognitive Verbs from the syllabus (ACARA Digital Technologies, in my case). I also concentrate on the assessment prompts and the questions I need to ask.

To make sure that this is both rigorous and effective, I have developed a place-mat that I can quickly refer to:

The first file is a template that can be used for any subject area and is based on Marzano’s Taxonomy. The definitions can be gained from the QCAA Glossary of cognitive verbs. The second is one I developed for Digital Technologies and it has the inclusion of the problem solving process.

I hope you find this useful.

Solving Digital Problems

[“digitalism” by orvalrochefort is licensed under CC BY 2.0]

I have just finished developing a unit of work around solving digital problems. This is targeted at year 10 Digital Technologies and is a foundation to year 11 Digital Solutions, Topic 1: Understanding digital problems.

I am indebted to code.org for their Computer Science Discoveries course for the bulk of the curriculum resources. I have adapted them to align to the Pedagogical Framework that I use when teaching Digital Technologies.

You can access the Scheme of Work here.

 

Explicit Instruction, Problem Solving, The Middle Way and other 21st Century Skills

I have spent the year trying to make inroads into Project-Based Learning and I have decided that it doesn’t fit my needs or context. On top of this, it seems to have dubious efficacy for A-E outcomes and learning by inquiry has a low effect size (0.35). It probably is very good for developing a Growth Mindset and other ‘soft skills’, such as collaboration and social and personal skills, but these are not measured by any standards in any syllabus that I use. So, for next year, I am going to focus on ‘The Middle Way’.

Why Explicit Instruction?

Explicit Instruction is my Pedagogical Framework and common language of instruction. It is important that I maintain this learning culture and support my colleagues by being consistent in my practices.

Hattie’s Effect Size 2016 Update reiterates the significant effect of Direct Instruction and adds collective teacher efficacy as making a big difference.

Why Problem Solving?

Teaching problem solving has a higher effect size than Direct Instruction. In the Technologies learning area, we use the Problem-based learning framework. [Digital Solutions 2019 v1.0 General Senior Syllabus – QCAA]

Why 21st Century Skills

This should be a known factor by now, but some recent articles are:

The New Basics – Foundation for Young Australians

The Commonwealth Bank jobs and skills of the future report.

Australian Curriculum General Capabilities

Read also: Digital Solutions 2019 v1.0 General Senior Syllabus – QCAA

What is the Middle Way

A balance needs to be struck between:

  1. Explicit Instruction and learning by Inquiry
  2. Teacher directed and Student directed
  3. Projects and Project-Based Learning (PBL)

The balance between Explicit Instruction and learning by Inquiry

The majority of research backs the effectiveness of Explicit Instruction; particularly for A-E data. Inquiry-based teaching has an effect size of 0.35 (below 0.4 significance), compared with 0.6 for Direct Instruction.

However, being able to inquire is an important 21st century skill. As part of their place in our contemporary world, students need to be able to define what they need to know and plan a search to find the answer; locate data and information; and select and evaluate the answer. Another important 21st Century behaviour or quality is for students to be self-managing and self-directed.

The Middle Way strikes a balance between the two by modelling and guiding students through the inquiry process. With the gradual release of responsibility, the goal is always to impart these skills so that students can apply them independently.

The balance between Teacher directed and Student directed

It is clear that Teacher led instruction is more effective than purely Student led learning. However, in the Technologies learning area, the problems that we want students to tackle are often complex and don’t benefit from teacher imposed constraints. To account for this, we will head the advice in Digital Solutions 2019 v1.0 General Senior Syllabus – QCAA:

In technologies:

– problem-based learning is an active process of knowledge construction that uses open-ended problems as a stimulus for student learning

– problems that support problem-based learning should challenge and motivate students to engage their interest

– provide opportunities for students to examine the problem from multiple perspectives or disciplines

– provide multiple possible solutions and solution paths

– require students to comprehend and use a breadth and depth of knowledge during problem-solving

– recognise students’ prior knowledge

– recognise students’ stage of cognitive development

– provide opportunities to allow all students to explore innovative open-ended solutions

– relate to the real world

– the learning environment is organised to represent the complex nature of the problems students are required to solve, e.g. the learning area values collaboration using teamwork and brainstorming, as these are strategies used during real-world problem-solving

– the teacher is responsible for scaffolding student learning and cognition during problem- solving as a coach, guide or facilitator to maintain the independence and self-directedness of student learning

– self-directed learning does not mean students are self-taught; instead, teachers balance their participation so that students maintain responsibility for learning, e.g. students make decisions about the knowledge and skills they require to effectively solve a problem, supported by the teacher’s questioning and cueing strategies

– the perception of student self-direction in the learning process is fundamental to problem- based learning.

Problems

Central to problem-based learning is the provision or identification of suitably challenging, subject-specific, context-relevant, real-world problems. Student engagement with these problems facilitates student learning of Digital Solutions subject matter. Problems suitable for Digital Solutions:

– are identified as any human need, want or opportunity that requires a new or re-imagined digital solution

– are identified by teachers, clients and/or students in situations related to unit-specific and subject-relevant technologies elements, components, principles and processes

– promote purposeful analytical activities undertaken in response to an identified real-world related problem that requires a digital solution

– are resolved using the problem-solving process.

The balance between Projects and Project-Based Learning (PBL)

The big difference between “Doing Projects” and PBL is the process. Amy Mayer has compared the two:

[What’s the Difference Between “Doing Projects” and Project Based Learning ?Image attribution flickr user josekevo; The Difference Between Projects And Project-Based Learning; © Amy Mayer, @friEdTechnologyThe Original WOW! Academy,www.friEdTechnology.com]

The main factor that separates the two is rigorous assessment. PBL is excellent for fostering 21st Century and “soft skills”, but these are not ultimately measured and have no standards in syllabus documents. Every year at ABW everyone agrees that they see anecdotal (students are actively engaged in activity) evidence of good learning outcomes; and these are mainly “soft skills”. But when you drill down, the learning is not linked or assessed against any curriculum standards.

The main pillar of PBL is student led inquiry and this has been shown to have a low effect size. In my own attempts at PBL, I ended up scaffolding the process for rigorous assessment so much that it became much closer to Teacher led Explicit Instruction. PBL may be very effective if it is overlayed on a learning culture with a growth mindset, student agency and self-management and students have well developed social and emotional skills.

The middle way strikes a balance between the two and marshals explicit teacher guidance throughout the problem solving cycle, with constant formative assessment, coupled with the gradual release of responsibility for summative assessment. 21st Century and future skills and behaviours are still embedded throughout but they are explicitly modelled and taught. Students need spaced practice and the gradual release of responsibility to formatively master these skills before being released on their own and summatively assessed. Likewise, with the problem solving cycle. Students will need to go through several iterations before they can work independently.

The balance between Explicit Instruction and Blended learning

Blended learning works well when there is a high level of students agency and self-management, coupled with a Growth Mindset. However, if you are not quite there yet, try Not Quite Blended learning.

In the technologies area, there are many online self-paced courses; that even have learning management built in. There are others that have a series of video tutorials to follow and you can easily create a schedule for students to follow. To increase the effectiveness of student learning with these, it is a good idea to leverage both Pair Programming and the Gradual Release of Responsibility within Explicit Instruction. To do this, start off modelling (I do) the process of watching an instructional video or interactive presentation, pausing and reproducing the instructions within the application or development environment. In pair programming, this would be one screen for the instructions and one for the development environment. Then students can follow (We Do) until you are confident that they can keep going independently (You Do). You may need to keep going with this process from lesson to lesson with the below proficiency students, while the above proficiency students may go off ahead; effectively differentiating and personalising learning.

Continue Reading…..

 

How to Create Student Portfolios Using Padlet

Introduction

Student ePortfolios are a great option because students are able to present digital evidence of their learning to a wide (and even global) or restricted audience. Additionally, the artifacts and products of their learning can be multi-modal and produced using technology. If you intend on taking this path, I recommend using the 5-by-5 Model of portfolio development. In particular, reflective portfolios are particularly powerful.

Padlet

Other Technologies

https://web.seesaw.me/ – online system to manage student portfolios

https://www.bulbapp.com/ – another online system to manage student portfolios

https://education.weebly.com/ – free and easy online website creation system.

http://www.wix.com/ – another free and easy online website creation system.

 

 

Digital Content Linked To The Australian Curriculum: Start Using Scootle Today!

Introduction

Scootle (http://www.scootle.edu.au) provides access to more than 20,000 items of digital curriculum content published by Education Services Australia. Most of these link directly from The Australian Curriculum website. For example, when seeking resources for ACSSU113, there is an obvious link to Discover resources at scootle:

Otherwise, by going directly to scootle, teachers can find interactive learning objects, images, audio files and movie clips via browse, search and filter technology. Then they can create personal lists of favourite resources for quick access.

Discovering Learning Content

You can find the content that you need by performing either a Basic or Advanced search. My advice is to consult the Scootle User Guide as this is a skill in itself, but one worth investing some time in. Another place to find help is within the Scootle users demonstrations, Education Services Australia, YouTube playlist. Again, the best way to discover content is to find content by Australian Curriculum. Then your search will yield all digital curriculum resources that fall within the curriculum content and year level that you are seeking.

Learning Paths

Probably the best feature on the scootle site is the ability to create and manage Learning Paths. A learning path includes a sequence of learning content, interwoven with teacher comments and descriptions and delivered to students either online (by use of the student PIN) or offline (by using an exported learning path spreadsheet or PDF). This system stops just short of being a Learning Management System (LMS) such as Blackboard. I would still use it to sequence my learning and link to it via my Virtual Classroom. I can’t emphasize enough what a great system for sequencing learning this is. If you are contemplating using it, I highly recommend consulting the Scootle User Guide and the Scootle users demonstrations, Education Services Australia, YouTube playlist.

Collaborative Activity

Learning in a collaborative or interdependent way provides students with a social and intellectual context for greater levels of critical thinking, motivation, peer review and self-reflection. These opportunities are outlined in the ACARA General Capabilities.

ACARA General Capabilities

Scootle’s has big range of collaborative activities in an environment where students collaborate to build understanding, express their learning and receive  feedback. Some of the features of Scootle’s live workspace that support collaboration are:

• a dynamic environment – Students can add their own text, comments and online resources, and rearrange the workspace to build a structured, collaborative response to a task.
• feedback – Ongoing feedback is available from the teacher at any time for student reflection and meaningful formative assessment.
• online identity – Students choose nicknames and avatars for themselves in the live workspace.
• Scootle chat – Chat in real time, with all discussions recorded and available for feedback and reference for students and teacher.
• file upload and sharing – Students can upload their own files and resources to attach to a learning activity

Assessment resource

Many of the digital content items available are assessment resources. These can be used as a check for understanding as part of a Learning Path. I have also seen them used in a summative way as well. I would use these because they are linked directly to the Learning Goals of my content area of the Australian Curriculum and therefore rigorous. It also means that I don’t have to create an assessment item, print it out and mark it as it is all online and automated.

Start using Scootle today!

 

 

 

Learning Design and Management for Queensland Schools

Linked below is a  guide to Learning Design and Management, using Queensland Standards Elaborations as a starting point for Proficiency Scales and then auditing the learning sequence against the Australian Curriculum General Capabilities.

I have previously created a guide that I would describe as a qualitative approach to Learning Design and Management, because Proficiency Scales, in the guide, are designed to move up a Cognitive Taxonomy. In this guide, Proficiency Scales are adapted from QCAA Standards Elaborations and I would describe this as roughly a quantitative approach.

LearningDesignManagement

 

WALT and WILF the Easy and Rigorous Way

The QCAA has already developed the basis for WALT and WILF within the senior syllabus standards and P-10 Australian Curriculum elaborations; with cognitions and qualities for each standard A-E. Why not use them!

For example:

Cognitions are highlighted in yellow and discriminating qualities are highlighted in blue.

These standards can be used in formative assessment by modifying them to add quantity and content dimensions. In the example below, I have added the quantity of content that I am looking for.

I have students set goals and track their learning by highlighting these scales.

What about Higher Order Thinking Standards?

Analysis

You probably could still add a content/quantity descriptor, for Analysis, as the standards are usually of the form:

Health Education

However, if you do want to provide more rigor, then I suggest aligning the skill of Analysis to Marzano’s Taxonomy. In this case Analysis increases in complexity from Matching at the bottom end to Specifying at the top.

[Adapted from The New Taxonomy (Marzano and Kendall, 2007) and Marzano Taxonomy – Thinking Processes with Design Verbs ]

So, using this, to be proficient with a score of 3 or at standard, students can Match or Classify. To score a 3.5, students could Generalize and Specifying could score a 4. Therefore, a student Proficiency scale for Health Education, becomes:

Evaluation

This is an example Proficiency Scale for the Learning Goal “I can EVALUATE..” Notice how it ‘climbs’ up Bloom’s taxonomy almost exactly.

This assessment criterion for English is not too bad as it too recognised that a poor evaluation is closer to an explanation or analysis. Most just use the qualifier discerning or thorough evaluation.

I would value add to your existing criteria by adding:

2 = explain/identify

3= evaluation

3.5 = justify decisions

4 = make recommendations

Design/Create

This thinking skill tends to be wide and deep and this is reflected in the range of standards across subjects:

English

Ancient History

Biology

So, leave these as is or use simpler language. You can then increase students’ familiarity and understanding of these by unpacking them and providing tangible examples.

How to use them

I develop these at the beginning of a topic and then just point to the place in the criteria sheet that relates to a lesson or learning activity. At the end of a unit, these also become my marking criteria (front-loaded assessment).

I have students set goals and track their learning by highlighting these scales (self feedback). I also use them when conferencing with students (feedback) and students can use them for peer feedback.

This is one I have used recently: WALT-WILF

Explicit Instruction and Not Quite Blended (NQB) Classrooms on the Road to BYOD

“BYOD” by AJ LEON is licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

BYOD So Far….

Federal Government funding in Australia for a 1:1 ratio of devices to students is long gone. This has left most school in the situation of having something like a 1:5 ratio, of school owned devices,  that they can barely sustain. There has been an attempt, by most schools, to address the shortfall with a Bring your Own Device (BYOD) program. This has largely been unsuccessful; a strawpoll of schools around the region suggests a less than 10% uptake. Even in places where students have multiple devices at home, they rarely bring them to school. When asked why they generally respond, “My teacher doesn’t do anything with it.”

Why is it so?

The main problem is the focus on the device and the technology, rather than the pedagogy. As articulated by Michael Fullan, “Pedagogy is the driver, technology is the accelerator.” So, when we were given devices but no training or the development of a culture of growth and reforms to our practice, we did the only thing we knew and substituted this tool for something we were already doing. Internet connected devices certainly are useful for ‘research’ or other online content. For a variety of reasons we did not engaged in practices that let us see how transformational technology can be in the process of learning. Meanwhile, students and their parents have not developed a value for technology as an indispensable device for learning.

 

 

Where to now?

The only way devices are going to make it through your classroom door is by students bringing them. Parents will not provide devices and students will not bring them until they both value them for learning. Therefore, we need to make the first moves and begin to demonstrate the value that technology adds to learning. We can do that by shifting to Blended Learning.

What Will the Shift to Blended Learning Look Like

Blended Learning is a mix of face-to-face and online learning, along a learning path or sequence. Blended Learning is also Personalized, so students have an element of agency over the pace, place and path their learning takes. Before we leap straight into this and because we don’t have devices, we need to start with ‘Not Quite Blended’. This will then be the foundation we need to journey all the way to learning opportunities afforded be Inquiry-Based Learning such as Project-Based Learning.

Not Quite Blended

The major difference with this approach is that it does not have all the systems and processes you need to Personalize learning. This is more of an explicit approach rather than an implicit one, so students are more likely to be consumers of information rather than producers of knew knowledge; you might post content online and guide students through it rather than guide students through an inquiry process. At this stage, technology is used to enhance pedagogy with Substitution and Augmentation (SAMR Model), with some creep into transformation. This may be in the form of starting to use the 4C’s of 21st Century Learning:

  • Communicate – students might blog their learning and receive feedback
  • Collaborate – students may develop shared artifacts of learning with wikis, blogs or other web 2.o technologies such as Padlet.
  • Critical Thinking – this might be made more visible in combination with Communicate and Collaborate strategies
  • Creativity – instead of the product of learning presented as text, other media may be used in creative ways. Students may also synthesize knew knowledge via inquiry learning.

How can I do This with Explicit Instruction?

If you have read this far, then you already know that it’s all about the Pedagogy! The Pedagogical Framework we use is Explicit Instruction (Archer & Hughes 2011) overlayed with the Gradual Release of Responsibility:

Explicit Instruction

Warm-up ideas

  • Play a youtube video as students enter
  • Pose a ‘Socratic’ question
  • Give a short pre-test using Kahoot
  • Have students play a game
  • Project an image at the start of a lesson
  • Demonstrate a physical behaviour such as a chemical reaction and ask ‘why is it so?’
  • Read an interesting quote from a famous person.
  • Analyse a tag cloud of the topic for high frequency words
  • Hold a Seed Discussion online
  • Have students post an Anticipation Guide

WALT/WILF ideas

  • Always have these accessible 24/7 in your Virtual Classroom (Blackboard for senior, Edmodo for Junior).
  • Have students track their learning, either on paper or online.
  • Try using a KWL, either on paper or preferably online (have students post this in their online journals).

I Do ideas

  • Create a Virtual Classroom (Blackboard for senior, Edmodo for Junior)to curate ALL content
  • Reduce cognitive load for students by sourcing multi-modal content
  • Let the content do the “chalk and talk” for you. ie: there is probably a youtube or teacher tube clip out there that will say it better and students can watch it several times until they get it.
  • If you do “chalk and talk”, record it and upload it to provide a bank for review/revision. You can then build on this to ‘flip’ your classroom. ie: have students review the material for homework and then go straight into the ‘we do’ step.
  • There are a heap of online learning activities , around content and input experiences, that you can access.
  • Why not explain a concept with someone else’s animation.
  • Chunk‘ content into digestible bites
  • Identify critical input experiences
  • Manage response rates with Kahoot, Padlet and a host of other technologies.

WE DO ideas

YOU DO ideas

REVIEW & REFLECTION ideas

WHAT IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY FOR ME TO DEVELOP THESE SKILLS?

1. Develop a Growth Mindset

2. Deliberate Practice

In Hattie’s “Teachers Make a Difference What is the research evidence?”, Teachers accounted for 30% of the variance.

The research also tells us that Teacher reflective practice leads to increased pedagogical skill which results in increased student achievement.

Deliberate Practice is about refinement of practice over time:

3. Couple Deliberate Practice with a Collaborative PLC Cycle, for you and your colleagues:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gamify Your Classroom With Kahoot and Other Online Formative Assessment & Response Systems

Why Kahoot?

Kahoot is great for:

  • Introducing new topics
  • Review, Revice & Reinforce
  • Formative Assessment and Checks for Understanding
  • Surveying to initiate discussion and debate

Kahoot is available on desktops and all mobile devices as an app, so one way or another, students have options for access to a device that they can use (BYOD). This is a great stepping stone to inspire students and parents to value technology for learning. Actually, students love this, so don’t be surprised if devices flow into your classroom if you regularly use this as part of your exit routine.

How it Works

Powerful Ways to Use Kahoot

Alternative Online Systems

 

 

5 Ways to Use Padlet In Your Blended Classroom

Why use Padlet?

Even a basic use of Padlet ticks most of the 4C’s for 21st Century Learning: Communicate, Collaborate, Critical Thinking and Creativity. In terms of integrating digital technology in your class, it is at the Transformation end of the SAMR Model. From a pragmatic point of view, it is also a great vehicle to use to inspire students and their parents to value technology for learning and start bringing in their own device (BYOD).

How does Padlet Work?

The best answer to this question is to read the Padlet FAQ. Otherwise, it can be used on desktops, android and apple platforms; so your students should have reasonable access to some kind of device for learning.

How can I use it?

1. Word Wall

Word Walls have multiple uses and pedagogical intents, such as:

When these are just in the physical classroom, then they can only be used in a synchronous way and are usually not sustained beyond the timeframe of a unit of work. There is also limited opportunities to update and refine these as learning progresses. When these are posted online, however, the reverse is true.

View this example

2. Increasing Response Rates

Normally, gaining responses from a class involves the teacher asking questions and recording responses on a whiteboard. This may be effective for you if you pair it with strategies to increase student response rates. With Padlet, you can have a response from all students.

3. Collaborative Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking is usually not a collaborative affair beyond very small groups of students. You could arm expert jigsaws with butchers paper and have them fill in a graphic organizer and then post the finished collaborative artifact of learning on a spare wall. Or, you could use Padlet.

View this compare and contrast example

View this Evaluation example

4. ePortfolios

Folio assessment tasks are great for students to collect evidence of their knowledge and skills, even when they are on paper. However, paper-based folios are difficult to share within and beyond the classroom. This means that students miss out on feedback from peers and others to inform their learning.

ePortfolios improve on this by allowing a public reflection, evaluation and sharing of learning. Students can also Personalize their learning with “voice and choice” because they can determine what they need to learn, how they will learn and present evidence of their learning. This is the main reason that ePortfolios are utilized for Problem-Based, Challenge-Based and Project-Based learning; where students determine what the problem is, decide how they will solve it and then present their solution.

Padlet has upgraded its technology and now you can drag and drop files to organise an ePortfolio.

5. Exit tickets

These are a great formative check for understanding and can be used as part of your feedback for visible learning.

View this example

Padlet Alternatives

Stories From the Field

My colleague, Wendy Coleman, uses Padlet to give her students anywhere, anytime access to learning activities and resources.  Students are then able to interact with learning resources at their own time and pace.

These Padlets are password protected, so she also sends these to parents so that they can support students at home. Further to this, they all have an associated QR code.

Wendy tells me that she likes the visual nature of padlet and the way it is so easy to post a variety of content. As you can see from the snapshot below, Padlet is quite versatile.