Reflective Post – Module 5

This week brought forth the application of what we have learned so far to Bloom’s Taxonomy, which I have worked with extensively in the past.  One thing that I learned was how different alternative assessments using Web 2.0 tools can be used at different levels on Bloom’s Taxonomy to assess different levels of learning and understanding.  A second idea learned this week dealt with the vast number of different alternative online assessments that exist.  It is simply amazing to consider the dozens, if not hundreds, of different types of online assessments that exist and can be applied to different levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.  A third idea this week was the organizational tool of a Bloom’s Taxonomy Assessment Table.  This tool is very organized and provides a great opportunity for educators to not only keep their different student objectives organized, but incorporate both Bloom’s Taxonomy as well as the multitude of different online assessment tools that are available and can be used to assess student understanding of an objective.

Bloom’s Taxonomy has been taught in education for decades, and it is one of the most consistent educational ideas.  While many educational “fads” as many call them come and go, Bloom’s Taxonomy has endured, at least partially due to the supportive research evidence that exists, including brain-based research.  By having student complete activities that are higher-order on Bloom’s Taxonomy students are far more likely to not only understand the material but also retain it.  It is also important to remember that different levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy are not only useful for teaching students higher-order thinking, but are also applicable in different situations with different students and different learning situations.

A question that I still have involves what areas of Bloom’s Taxonomy teachers should strive to teach at.  I have been told in the past that teachers should always strive to teach at the highest ends of Bloom’s Taxonomy, but I think that this is only possible after teaching and assessing at lower levels, building students the scaffolding necessary for higher order thinking.  Is this correct or should I start right at the top, which seems overly challenging for students and possibly setting them up for failure?

Reflective Blog Post Module 4

Action in these online classes has been quite busy lately, and I am feeling the effects of taking 10 graduate credits this summer.  Life has been very busy!  I am going my best to keep on top of everything, and I have learned (or rather re-learned) that group work is far more difficult than individual work as it is difficult to get everybody on the same page with different schedules and different lifestyles.  I have also learned that it is important to remember that not everybody is at the same level technology-wise and some people have more and less experience with technology than others.  Lastly, I have learned about a wide variety of different assessment tools while working on the jigsaw midterm project, and the tool that I researched (Testmoz) is a fascinating and especially easy tool to implement as it is based on simplicity.

Two insights that have become clearer while working in groups are the same as I had listed above.  First, working in a team online is far more difficult than working online as different folks have different schedules and lifestyles and it is often difficult to get everybody on the same page.  Second, different people have different levels of comfort with technology, and it can be difficult to get everybody on the same page with technology at times.

In terms of advice for people working in online teams in the future, I would encourage setting up group chat times (maybe through Google Docs) to create a schedule and maybe a checklist that people could work through as the process is completed.  This will keep everything more organized and sequential.

Link to group project:  https://assessmenttools.wikia.com/wiki/Introductory_Collaboration

Reflective Blog Post 1 – Assessment in E-Learning

Welcome to my blog, which I have aligned with my Word Press site that I use for my classes and the Science Olympiad teams that I coach.  Word Press was initially created as a blog software but users quickly realized that it could be used as an easy tool to create websites, especially useful for those users not comfortable with HTML (including me!)

I will start by by examining three new things I have learned since starting this class.  First, wikis and surveys are excellent tools for formative assessment.  These simple tools can be used to create variety and provide students with additional opportunities to provide data to teachers on their current level of understanding.  Second, a message board can be a strong tool to allow students to post questions to other classmates and/or the instructor.  Third, there are many different uses for assessment, and it is important for the instructor and student to both understand that assessment can be for learning or assessment can be of learning.

Looking forward to two things I hope to learn in this course, the first item would be how to use a LMS like Moodle more effectively.  I have a Moodle server but I have been learning mostly by just reading online and trying different tools within the software but I know I am using only a small portion of the software and I look forward to learning more tools that I can use within Moodle in my classroom.  Second, I am looking forward to additional alternative formative assessment techniques that can be used to get a better picture of current student learning and understanding.  I find student misconceptions to be one of the biggest issues in the high school math/science classroom and often times students think they understand a topic but have one small issue wrong, or students think they could never understand the topic but are actually very close.  Formative assessment can help in both of these areas by giving the instructor a better picture of the current learning environment.

A final question that I have going forward revolves around the future of online education, especially related to public schools.  In Wisconsin online virtual coursework opportunities have been growing steadily over the past few years.  Do you see this growth accelerating, slowing, or staying pretty steady in the next five to ten years?

Andy from Boyceville, WI

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