Friday, October 11, 2013

technological marvels

Technology is changing at light speed and the human ability to change with it is in a race to keep up.  My colleague, Jen Baselice, assigned an innovative project to her students.  She got some interesting results.  I welcome her thoughts as today's guest post. 

So I had this idea to have the 7th graders create "review websites" after our unit on solving one-step equations and inequalities. I had a few reasons for doing this:

1) I needed some time to work during an especially busy week. 
2) I wanted them to use technology for a project.
3) I REALLY wanted them to learn how to find appropriate and helpful study resources online and figure out how to organize these sources to share with someone else.
4) And last but not least...I REALLY REALLY wanted them to grade each other.

So I created this project, gave them the time to work on it, and then gave them the time to evaluate each other's presentation and websites based on a set of criteria. They were so cute! They are so strict with each other!! Some of the comments they made included:
"Add bullet point lists and embed a link in text to make website look more organized"
"Very well rehearsed. One of the best I've seen and they knew what they were taking about"
"Needed a little more rehearsing, but we liked the videos and the layout of the website. Great job!"

They said they really enjoyed this project because they enjoyed trying to create a study resource for other students. They also said they enjoyed grading each other.
They did say grading was the "hardest part.

You can find a link to a couple of these websites here and here.

**Jen and I have had a number of conversations about this project in terms of it's value to our students, whether everything we do in school needs to be graded, and the impact of having students grade each other. 

It is awesome that 7th graders can easily create functioning websites with not a lot of training.  This kind of project was pretty much unimaginable 10 years ago and very difficult even 5 years ago.  The pace of technological growth and student interaction is staggering. 

I would love to hear about other people's innovative projects.

Jen teaches Prealgebra and Algebra II this year, is the Coordinator for Professional Development, and is working on her Specialist Degree in Educational Technology at the University of Florida.  You can contact her at

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