DEC Scan Journal : May 2011
Scan Vol 30 No 2 May 2011 32 Comments made on wiki pages by students, teachers and peers There were not a lot of comments made on wiki pages. The class teacher and teacher librarian occasionally wrote an encouraging comment on every page. One student summed it up by saying, It was supportive knowing that someone actually cares about this major research project that you are doing. As well as giving encourage- ment, it is also a useful tool for keeping up the pace when a student is lagging behind. A wiki is very transparent and peer pressure can be a useful tool. Reflect: student achievements After looking at all the evidence, it is clear that the students found this method of research engaging and fulfilling. Most of the above evalua- tions by the students and parents pointed to the positive experience they had during the research process. The class teacher and teacher librarian, however, could see the very real and engaging and supportive situation afforded by using guided inquiry and the ISP for guided research, and the use of wiki as a tool for sharing and supporting the students in this. The presentation of their work was a real celebration, and all students actively encouraged and praised the efforts of their peers. Having watched the growth of each topic, they were genuinely interested to watch the presentations and hear the solutions offered for each issue. Many had surveyed the class or the wider community to gauge opinions and had incorporated these into their conclusions. The whole class produced work of a very high standard. All, without exception, had worked well above what they normally do in terms of creative product. Real knowledge had been created and applied to their issue. All curriculum outcomes had been achieved by all students and by most to a very high level of achievement. The peer reviews carried out by the students on each other s work also indicated that they were all travelling happily together on the same journey. The praise and advice they gave each other was genuine and practical (Figure 21). This was a new experi- ence for them. Some said it was a bit confronting to be receiving advice from peers but that they did find it beneficial. Implications for practice The evidence was overwhelming. It showed that guided inquiry, using the Information search process and a wiki to share learning, encouraged the production of new knowledge. Figure 21 An example of peer review saved to the student s wiki page Figure 20 Examples of comments from parents 1. While your Year 10 student was doing this Research Task did you notice: An increase in interest/engagement in this project work compared to normal project work A higher level of stress about this task compared to other school assessment/research tasks A lower level of stress about this task compared to other school assessment/research tasks 2. Comment: This research task brought out an interest in my son to a level I have not seen before. He took on his project with an "ownership" and pride and above all enjoyed researching and presenting his findings. Sarah had an increased interest in the family's use of electricity and often commented on ways we could save on power. Her stress level increased when she realised the depth of the project but settled with increased research. She felt very pleased when she had completed this extensive work and her ability to complete it well.