Peer Review of Digital Research Projects, Spring 2011

We are in the final week of our digital research project that the Media 21 students have been engaged in now for about six weeks as they have investigated issues facing our veterans who have served or who are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We began the first of four days of peer review of the projects yesterday; each day, each collaborative research/inquiry group is assigned a fellow group to evaluate using the form embedded below.  Susan Lester, my co-teacher, and I are looking forward to reading student feedback and then debriefing the results of that feedback with each group (we will keep the individual feedback forms private so that students feel free to provide honest and constructive assessment/evaluation).

Are you incorporating peer review into any aspect of your research projects that you facilitate?  If so, how do you go integrate peer review as an assessment and reflective learning experience?

Creating Conversations for Learning: NoodleBib Assignment Dropbox as Formative Assessment, Part 2

A few weeks ago, I composed a post about the possibilities of using the NoodleBib shared assignment dropbox feature as a formative assessment for evaluating working bibliographies and notecards.  Now that I’ve completed two research project “checkpoints” using the shared assignment dropbox, I am happy to share that this formative assessment has been successful in:

1.  Gaining insight into the selection of information sources by students and to help them identify gaps in sources they may be overlooking that could inform their research.

2.  Helping students identify and understand the mistakes they’ve made in the citation process and working with them to correct the entries.

3.  Seeing what students are doing really well with their notetaking skills and providing positive feedback while identifying areas of weakness and then engaging in a conversation for learning with the student by sharing strategies for tackling those “challenge” areas with notetaking skills.

My roles in facilitating these formative assessments included:

1.  Setting up the shared assignment dropboxes.

2.  Teaching students how to share an assignment and confirming I had received the assignments from each group.

3.  Taking the time to evaluate each group’s bibliographic entries and notecards while providing feedback.

4.  Keeping a spreadsheet of general notes for each group’s work and noting patterns in what students were doing well and common problems I saw in student work.

5.  Sharing my findings and notes with my co-teacher, Susan Lester, and then the two of us working together with groups to address challenges I identified through the formative assessment; in addition, I enlisted the assistance of students who were demonstrating specific skills in an exemplary manner to help peers on an “as needed” basis.

I love how easy it is to evaluate bibliographic individual entries and the accompanying notecards for each source cited in one screen.  All you have to do is log into your account, scroll down to the bottom of your project lists page, and then open a student project (which for these assignments, were collaboratively created lists for group research projects).  You can then click on “Bibliography” to access the bibliographic entries and accompanying notecards on one screen; you can then enter custom comments for each entry, and for the notecards,  you can compose custom comments or use a comment from the pre-existing database of notecard comments.  You can see when each entry and notecard were created as well as time/date of any revisions a student may have made.  Take a look at how easy it is to work with the interface in the screenshots below (please note student names have been removed to protect their privacy).

Figure 1: Bibliographic Entry Comments

Figure 2: Comments on Electronic Notecards

I absolutely love using the shared assignment dropbox for formative assessment of student work and using the feedback with students to initiate or sustain conversations for learning.  Here are a few features I’d suggest to make the shared assignment dropbox in NoodleBib even better:

  • add the ability to message a group or comment on overall project
  • add the ability for teachers and librarians to create their own banks of custom comments to both the notecards as well as bibliographic entries
  • add a spellchecker on the teacher/librarian side to spellcheck comments
  • add the ability for the librarian or teacher to “like” a student bibliographic entry or notecard (a la Facebook style)
  • add the ability to create threaded discussions Facebook or new Google Docs discussions style so that students and the teacher and/or librarian can engage in a virtual discussion about the feedback provided (think ramped-up commenting!)
If you haven’t tried the shared dropbox in NoodleBib, I encourage you to give it a try as a way to embed yourself in the classroom with teachers and students as part of your collaborative partnerships and to participate meaningfully in assessment of student work.  If you have tried the shared assignment dropbox as formative assessment, what features did you like, or what enhancements would you like to see added for 2011-12?

A Conversation for Learning: Media 21 Students Share Their Search Stories and Strategies

Seeing students utilize the information literacy skills you’ve previously taught them in a new context and independently without it being a mandate is probably one of the most joyful experiences as a librarian and teacher.  Take a look at how one of our inquiry groups is growing as budding researchers and demonstrating these skills, dispositions, responsibilities, and self-assessment strategies from the AASL Standards for 21st Century Learners:

  • 1.1.8 Demonstrate mastery of technology tools for accessing information and pursuing inquiry.
  • 1.2.1 Display initiative and engagement by posing questions and investigating the answers beyond the collection of superficial facts.
  • 1.1.9 Collaborate with others to broaden and deepen understanding.
  • 1.2.2 Demonstrate confidence and self-direction by making independent choices in the selection of resources and information.
  • 1.2.7 Display persistence by continuing to pursue information to gain a broad perspective.
  • 1.4.1 Monitor own information-seeking processes for effectiveness and progress, and adapt as necessary.
  • 1.4.2 Use interaction with and feedback from teachers and peers to guide own inquiry process.
  • 3.2.3 Demonstrate teamwork by working productively with others.

NoodleBib Assignment Dropbox for Sharing Student Work and Formative Assessment

If you haven’t tried the electronic dropbox feature in NoodleBib/NoodleTools, check out my tutorial on how you can set up your own teacher/assignment dropbox and enable students to share their Works Cited list, notecards, and a Google Document associated with a project list with you and/or multiple teachers (wonderful for teacher and librarians to BOTH provide feedback!).  I see this feature of NoodleBib as a way to provide specific feedback to students and as a formative assessment tool for learning to use with students.

What would make this feature even better is if students could respond to the teacher feedback and/or have some type of commenting feature similar to what is in Google Docs to track conversations and feedback for learning–perhaps this will be a future enhancement?  While I’ve provided feedback on print copies of Works Cited lists and electronic notecards and assisted with the editing of student papers using the discussions and commenting features in Google Docs, I’ll be undertaking my first effort at collaborative electronic assessment using this feature next week with Susan Lester as our Media 21/Learning 21 students hit their first Works Cited/ notecard checkpoint this Friday, April 1; each group is working on a collaboratively constructed project in NoodleTools (see Chapter 6 in the NoodleBib guide under “student collaboration”), and each member of a collaborative project can see all feedback provided that Susan and I provide.  I’m looking forward to the process and listening to student feedback on how this method of formative assessment works for them once we return from spring break in mid-April!

Written instructions are provided in the NoodleBib Users Guide in Chapter 6 under “Sharing Projects” and “Teacher Instructions”; student instructions are provided in this chapter as well.

Media 21 Students Use Google Docs Discussions for Networked Learning During Presearch

Last Thursday, I showed our Media 21 students the new “discussions” feature in Google Docs since we’ve been using Google Docs extensively for collaborative writing and document sharing since last August.  After I introduced our presearching graphic organizer at the beginning of class today, one of our students decided to use the discussions feature with two of her classmates during presearch time today to share and discuss resources they were finding through the research pathfinder (accessible from our Media 21 Symbaloo webmix that students have pulled into their Symbaloo information dashboards).  Sydney and her two classmates were demonstrating AASL Standard for 21st Century Learners 3.1.2, “Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners” as they not only shared information sources, but also as they also used the discussion feature in their shared Google Document to have a conversation about the information they were finding in their sources.

I was so impressed by how Sydney applied the sharing skill in a new information seeking context that I asked her to share with others how she went about this task, and she graciously agreed to tell us about her brainstorm!