Sunday, January 10, 2010

Transport vs Transform


I recently attended a Ross Todd seminar where he helped attendees understand the complexities of Guided Inquiry, one of the phrases he used was Students need to go beyond transporting information from one format to another - they need to transform it.

Transporting information is the low level stuff : fact finding, stockpiling the facts - sorting, organising and regrouping it to fulfilling the limited requirements of the assigned project or inquiry'. It requires limited engagement with the information, and certainly does not lead to meaningful learning. Nothing changes.

Transforming information on the other hand is interpreting the data, establishing a personal conclusion and reflections on what it all means, transferring it to a more meaningful context thus, taking ownership and leading to deeper learning. The information is changed according to the needs, understandings and prior knowledge of the student.

The ability for students to do this boils down to the task or curriculum set by the teacher.

Something I have been involved with in the last week was collaborating and co teaching with the PE Health department on an assignment they have set for health. The teachers were exposed to Glogster through an inservice I conducted and were quite impressed. They wanted to implement this into making their assignments more interesting for the students.

So, now we currently have 65 year 9 students working on their own Glogs through http://glogster.edu and they are really motivated with the idea of transforming their understanding into a visual / multi media representation rather than a written one. They are also engaged and encouraged to do well as they can view each others Glogs,and the teachers can see the progress of their work as the week passes.

Interestingly, but not surprising, those who usually struggle with getting assignments in on time, and have difficulty expressing themselves with the written word are really pulling ahead of the rest of the students in terms of the creativity and understanding the capacity of Glogster, and getting the job done. It is great to see this tool being used in such a way, and, hopefully when all is finished, we will be able to share the exemplars with you publicly.

The PE department are the first in the school to adopt Glogster as a tool for assessing learning, and I think that other departments, once they see what is being produced, will take it on board as another tool to put in their box!

So, they too are transformers!

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