Friday, October 3, 2008
Making the GRADE
Though I very much wanted to allot time to share digital stories the students created during last week’s class, I felt that there was not enough class time available with giving the first unit test this week. After answering a few last minute questions, I distributed the exam and gave the students forty minutes to complete it. While some students finished in about a half hour, most of the students utilized all of the forty minutes.

I then felt it necessary to clarify how to write the criteria portion of instructional objectives, as I had noticed many students did not quite have the hang of it as evidenced in the objectives they wrote on their lecture worksheets. I provided some examples of criteria and suggested ways that their objectives could be improved. I assured them that their struggle with this concept was not unusual, as I have observed many of the students in previous semesters struggling with this also.

We then focused on the first workout for this week, applying the GRADE process to a lesson plan in their area of interest. As I selected a lesson plan from the DiscoverySchool lesson plan library for demonstration, I noticed another opportunity to discuss writing good objectives. I asked the students to look at the objectives on the sample lesson and identify the components that were missing. They found that the objectives did not include criteria or conditions. I also pointed out that the verbs used in the objectives, like “learn,” made it difficult to be able to determine when the students have met the objectives.

I got the students started in Google Docs, showing them out to create a new document, change the document title, add text, and share it. They then deconstructed their chosen lesson plans using the GRADE process and posted their notes on the documents. I think this workout really helped the students better understand the process. Many of the students were confused about the difference between the resources identified in the Requirement section and those that should be in the Availability section. I told them to put the materials identified in their lesson plans in the resources area. I then encouraged them to brainstorm about other tools and materials that could be used to teach the concepts in their lessons. These additional tools and materials, many of which included Internet-based resources, would then go in the Availability section. That seemed to make sense to the students.

I had posted specific feedback on their professional development plan drafts, and the students used the last few minutes of class to review my comments and work on revising their plans.
I think the exam format worked well, and I think it was helpful to the students to go through each step of the GRADE process with a lesson plan in order to better understand how to use it to make decisions about the appropriateness of selected resources. There is one student who was absent due to illness, and so I will have to work to arrange for her to make up the exam next week, if she is better by then. I am thinking that I might try to have her take it when I am working in the lab next Thursday afternoon.

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posted by SG @ 9:29 PM  
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I am attempting to develop practical instructional applications of developing technologies and provide educators with tools to implementing instructional technologies effectively.
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MUVEs, Web 2.0, assistive technologies, digital video

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