Maker Experiment #3

In our final CEP 811 blog post, we were asked to reflect on our learning from the past eight weeks.  Taking into consideration our final readings from this week along with our experiences with the Maker and Design experiments, we were asked to write a blog post addressing the two areas of Professional Assessment and Evaluation and Personal Assessment and Evaluation.

Professional Assessment & Evaluation:

After engaging with Maker Education for the past few weeks, I definitely see myself implementing Squishy Circuits in my classroom.  I am one of two teachers in my elementary school teaching fourth grade this upcoming school year, and I am teaching both classes Science while the other teacher is teaching both Social Studies.  I plan on using my Maker Experiment 1 and 2 in my Science class to teach my students about circuits.  I believe using the Squishy Circuits is a great way to engage students in what they are learning and empower them to think creatively.  To evaluate the Squishy Circuit’s effectiveness, I will observe how my students constructed their circuits.  In order to accomplish this, students must have a firm understanding of how the insulating and conductive dough works.  In addition, they must have an understanding of how a circuit is made in order for electricity to flow properly.  At the end of the lesson, based on the students’ list of key ideas and strategies for constructing their circuits, I feel like I will get a true indication of how effective the Maker lesson was.

In our fourth grade curriculum, we teach a whole unit on energy transfer.  This includes heat, electricity, and magnetism.  So, I believe implementing Squishy Circuits in my classroom will fit perfectly with what students need to know in Science by the end of fourth grade.  The opportunity to use the Play-Doh, along with the insulating and conductive dough, is a huge motivation for kids.  There are so many awesome things you can construct using these materials, and allowing students to think on their own only pushes their creative spirits and allows room for learning to take place.  With the Squishy Circuits, in order to successfully build a working circuit, “trial-and-error” must occur first in order for students to ultimately reach a point where electricity is flowing.  Because of this, authentic learning takes place.  I am greatly looking forward to teaching this unit this upcoming school year!

Personal Assessment & Evaluation:

I feel that my proficiency in the use of technology has increased substantially.  Previous to my MAET experience, I never blogged and rarely used Twitter.  Now, I consider my blog a great resource for me to refer back to during the school year to get lessons and other ideas to teach with.  Additionally, Twitter has proven to be a great resource for me in several ways.  Not only does it give me my news much faster than any local or even national news television channel, it gives me access to new ideas, thoughts, technologies, and other teaching practices that will undoubtedly serve me well in both my teaching profession and personal endeavors.

I believe the evaluation process for this course is fair.  Considering how open-ended and unrestricted the assignments in this course can be, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to grade them.  With that said, the only suggestion I have is to make the rubric for each assignment more detailed and clear.  Especially when being introduced to new technologies and resources, expectations can vary considerably.  After reading the blog by Grant Wiggins, I think it is reasonable to assume the rubrics were left vague to leave room for creativity.  After all, Wiggins says, “This is a worrisome misunderstanding: students are coming to believe that rubrics hamper their creativity rather than encouraging it” (2012).  If the rubrics were more restricted, we would simply “do what was asked” and not dive deep into the assignments.  Overall, I definitely believe the evaluation process for this course to be equitable.

References

Wiggins, G. (2012, February 3).  On assessing for creativity: yes you can, and yes you should [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/on-assessing-for-creativity-yes-you-can-and-yes-you-should/

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