Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Quizzes as a Student Centered technology

I have explored the use of quizzes in the classroom in a previous post through a site called ClassMarker. I found that this was an easy program to use and could be utilised by both teachers and students, however I feel younger children would need quite a lot of support.

Allowing students to create their own quiz on a program such as ClassMarker would provide them with a task that is both challenging and authentic. The Learning Manager could create a file on MediaFire where students could access information relating to their subject area, as research would need to be conducted to ensure their information was correct and reliable. When using this program however, student safety needs to be taken into consideration as I discovered that there is a lot of inappropriate advertising material on this site.

Recently the students from my grade 1 class visited Australia Zoo as part of their unit. Not only did they develop an understanding of the various animals that were there but they also gained an insight into the various roles of people that work at the zoo. These included zoo keepers, hospitality workers, retail employees, veterinarians, even the bus drivers. Investigating in more detail the responsibilities of these people would be a good way to incorporate SOSE into the unit. In groups the students are to create a quiz for their peers, with each group focusing on a different occupation within the zoo. This task would most likely be beyond students in grade 1 so for this example I will focus on a grade 5 class.

Using Dimension 2 of the Dimensions of Learning Teacher's Manual (Marzano, et al., 1997) will help students to acquire and integrate procedural knowledge in the following ways:

Construct Models-Provide or construct with students a written or graphic representation of the skill or process they are learning.
Once the various groups have been formed and occupations assigned, provide a set of written steps that describes the process they need to follow to complete the task/quiz successfully. This could include reliable sources of information, designing effective questions, creating your account, correct spelling and grammar.

Shape-Help students develop the conceptual understanding necessary to use the skill or process.
(a) Describe a variety of situations or contexts in which students can use a specific skill or process.
Provide students with examples of other uses for quizzes other than the task that they are currently doing. Quizzes can be designed around a variety of topics, age levels, they can be multiple choice, short answer, true/false, and even designed at home for their family and friends.

Internalise-Help students understand the importance of internalising procedural knowledge.
Knowing the various steps involved in order to make a successful and reliable quiz requires practice. Allow the groups of students to design short quizzes, perhaps for different classes at the school, in order to practice the new skill and process they are learning.

I believe that the use of programs such as ClassMarker to create quizzes can help students to develop researching skills and enables them to develop strategies to write effective questions. In the Digital Age the use of computers within learning environments is fundamental and provides todays learners with authentic and engaging tasks. In the words of Prensky (2001) 'there is absolutely no going back'.

Marzano, R., Pickering, D., Arrendondo, D., Blackburn, G., Brandt, R., Moffett, C., Paynter, D., Pollock, J., & Whisler, J. (1997). Dimensions of Learning: Teacher's Manual. Aurora, Colorado: McREL.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

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