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robertogreco : teach   1

Squishy Not Slick - SOLE / Group Research Questions
"It wouldn’t be the holiday break if I didn’t decide to scrap my original plans and try something different when we come back together in a few days.

Here’s what I’m thinking…. any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

I really like a lot about Sugata Mitra’s SOLE idea. You can watch his TED Talk (does that need a TM after it yet?) about it, or you can read the supporting documents that have been put together about it (if you do, are you horrified by the police role that they have students fill?). Here’s the basic formula for SOLE: students are given a question and the internet and then form groups to answer it. That’s about it. It’s pretty brilliant in its simplicity, and we’re going to give it a try.

I’ll have to tweak it a bit for our purposes in a few ways…

• Our pattern will be one day of research (eighty minutes) and then one day of prep and presentations (twenty minutes to get set and then an hour to present, discuss, reflect, and write about it). We’ll see how this format works and what needs to change. I’m assuming that the length of time needed depends a lot on the question, and I’m sure some of the questions will need quite a bit more time.

• I’ll assign groups. I know that one of the big pieces of the SOLE system is the whole “self-organized” thing, but, sadly, my students are fifteen and have spent a decade learning bad habits around motivation for education. Maybe they’d do fine. Maybe the question and the freedom to answer it together as they choose will help them to overcome those just-give-me-what-I-need-for-the-quiz mindsets, but I’m not that hopeful they’re there yet. I have lots of other reasons for this, but I am hopeful that after they get the process down (a few rounds of it), they will be able to make good choices around who they work with. So, hopefully we’ll get to the point of being actually self-organized in the near future.

• I have put together a form to structure some of it and help with the grading part of it. I think that ideally there would be no grades, and it would be all about the love of learning together. But that’s just not the reality of what we’re working with here.


Here are some ideas for questions we might try to answer… many of these relate to the content we’re supposed to be covering:

• Which human has saved the most lives on the planet?
• What does the rise of the selfie tell us about society?
• What will daily life in 2075 be like?
• Are you worth your weight in gold? Is any person? Is every person?
• What is the situation in South Sudan and what options does the US have there? Which option should they pursue and why?
• Who is Edward Snowden and should he get clemency?
• Which place and time on earth has developed the greatest art?
• What was the most important invention of the last 200 years?
• Which historical figure should we bring back to be president in 2016. Why this person?
• How would your life be different if you lived in a totalitarian state? Are you living in a totalitarian state now? • • How do you know one way or the other?
• What are the keys to a successful revolution?
• Standards? I’ve got lots of those figured out. This hits a bunch of them…

What else? What am I forgetting? What should I think about?"
lukeneff  teach  education  classideas  sole  peerassessment  selfassessment  2014 
january 2014 by robertogreco

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