Sunday 20 February 2011

Collaborative searching - Learning with jigsaw

Puzzle piecesphoto © 2008 Liza | more info (via: Wylio)

The issue
A common problem with student assignments is the lack of acknowledgement of image sources used within their documents. I wanted to engage the students "who know all about search" at age 13. This was a successful lesson that begins to address those problems.

  • Familiarisation with Creative Commons, and recognition of the need for attribution
  • Introduce a range of search tools for finding CC images
  • Foster collaborative learning
How do you engage 13 year old boys who know all about search? I decided to use a jigsaw activity to expose students to a range of search tools not previously encountered.
After viewing and discussing the video about Creative Commons, students numbered off from 1 to 4 around the room. Each student then had the task of  investigating  one of the following search tools according to the number they had been given. They were tasked with the expectation that they would be able to teach someone else about that tool, along with the advantages and disadvantages of using it.

  1. Compfight
  2. Flickr CC Advanced
  3. Wikimedia Commons
  4. Morguefile

After about 5 minutes of individual endeavour, each number 1(2,3,4) gathered with his group to share the information they had found. This way any student who missed basic points, learnt from the others and expertise was developed.
The number 1s then paired with a 2, and the 3s with a 4. Each had to teach the other student about the search tool they had used. Then the 1s met with 3s and 2s with 4s, where they now had to explain both the tools they had seen.
This enabled me to help those students less confident and provide some guiding questions to those who needed further assistance; individual attention for those most needing it. Students were well engaged and willingly shared their learning. Movement around the classroom also helps boys' concentration in a 50 min period.
Have you used this jigsaw method? I'll certainly be using it again.
The Jigsaw classroom

Saturday 5 February 2011

Analysing a lesson - Theory of Knowledge

This week I was asked to present some sessions for Year 12 IB classes taking Theory of Knowledge. The teachers needed students to be reminded of how to find a range of sources and generate ideas for their orals and essays. This presentation, given twice, worked very well with one large group and was less successful with a smaller second group. That set me thinking about the success or otherwise of lessons in different circumstances we encounter which are so dependent on a variety of factors.
  • student expectations, background knowledge and learning styles
  • staff expectations
  • my own delivery methods
  • time of day
  • ambient temperature and a dozen other variables.

Revise, update and improve is a common motto for me but in the meantime several students and staff have followed through with further queries.

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