The problem in my environment is the low level of student engagement in my classroom. My proposed solution is to use novel, unique, hands-on, and computer based learning activities to grab student attention creating an intrinsic interest in their learning.
- Will using more collaborative technologies such as Schoology with my 8th grade physical science students create more active participation in learning as seen in project grades being no less than an 80%?
- Will using unique, computer based learning and websites with my eighth grade physical science students create better connections to prior knowledge as shown in completed KWL charts showing what they Know, Want to know, and Learned?
- Can I use technology such as Schoology to create immediate feedback to my eighth grade physical science students allowing for timely revisions according to their needs?
For Cycle 1 my target audience was my eighth grade physical science students where 28 students will be participating between the ages of 13 and 14 and half are male and half are female. Of these 28 students 90% are Hispanic, 19.8% Caucasian, and 0.2% African-American. This area was extremely diverse where 55% of my 28 students were economically disadvantaged while the other 45% were middle class. These students were very active with about 50% being athletic and invested in sports.
For Cycle 2 my target audience was my eighth grade physical science students where 20 students participated between the ages of 13 and 14 and 60% were male and 40% were female. Of these 20 students 80% were Hispanic and 20% Caucasian. The area these students came from was extremely diverse where 75% of the 20 students were economically disadvantaged and the other 25% were middle class. These students were very active with about 55% being athletic and invested in sports.
The goal of my Action Research Project is to encourage student engagement in science using Schoology and as a result productive peer collaboration. In using Schoology I hope to give the students a medium to maintain their notes, assignments, quizzes, tests, and projects allowing them to focus on instruction and content being taught. This medium will also allow the students to engage with peers creating more in-depth learning through collaboration.
Each cycle is intended to be three weeks long. My first cycle will begin February 25th and end March 15th. My cycle 1 data will be reviewed and changes created March 16th-31st. My second cycle will begin April 1st and end April 19th.
The technologies my target audience will use will be Schoology, explorelearning.com, Prezi, Quizlet, and Google as part of the capstone project.
The expectation of the participants to use Schoology to submit assignments, take quizzes, work collaboratively on projects, refer to notes, and keep their own resources. This will hopefully allow students to stay focused on content, share and gain knowledge from their peers, and better engage with their learning. Explorelearning.com will also aid the students in becoming more involved in their learning because of the hands-on animated simulations the website utilizes to teach the desired content.
The plan is to first begin the action plan with giving the students the pre-engagement survey and content test. The students will then begin by expressing what they Know and Want to know about Newton’s Laws of Motion. These are the K and W columns of the KWL chart allowing the students’ prior knowledge to be seen. What students have Learned (L) will be shown at the end of the lessons once the content is taught. Once the pre-tests and surveys are completed then the students will review the Prezi created to discuss the information about Newton’s Laws of Motion. This will give the students the notes and information required to proceed with their assignments and will take two to three days. Students will then complete simulation assignments on explorelearning.com uploading their exploration sheets and submitting to Schoology. The students will finally complete the commercial/skit project. We will review examples and requirements using a working rubric created and uploaded to Schoology. Students will then create the project in groups of three to four communicating on Schoology and in class. Once finished students will present to the class then grade themselves using the rubric provided while also giving evidence to support the grade they think they deserve.
Cycle 2 involves students learning about Energy. We will use Schoology and Prezi to review Energy and examples of the types of Energy. Students will then have the requirements to create a roller coaster using a working rubric created and uploaded to Schoology. In creating the roller coaster students will work in groups of three to four communicating on Schoology and in class. Once finished students will present to the class then grade themselves using the rubric provided and giving evidence to support the grade they think they deserve. Once projects are presented students will complete post tests and surveys as well as the L portion of the KWL chart students started at the beginning. The assets needed to implement the project will be two Google forms for the surveys, two Prezis to describe Newton’s Laws of Motion and Energy, two Google drawings for the commercial/skit and roller coaster rubrics, and two Google documents one of which will be where students create the script for their commercial/skit while the other will give requirements of their roller coaster project.
Assessment and Evaluative Tools:
I created a Pre-Engagement Survey and Post-Engagement Survey to asses engagement and whether or not the capstone achieved its goal of creating better student engagement. The pre and post tests created will assess how well the students learned the content taught. These tests were created on Schoology from a website called Quizlet.com as well as collaboratively with my colleagues as designated by my administration. The student needs to complete the post test with an 80% or better to be considered proficient in the content area taught. Two rubrics, one for Newton’s Law and the other for Energy, will help assess how well the students applied the learned content through their group project. To consider these group projects successful the students need to earn 16 out of the 20 points available and 80 out of 100 points available. Students will also complete a KWL Chart pre and post Capstone to again show whether or not they have learned the content required. Interviews would also be used to see how the students feel the activities and projects went.
All qualitative data will include the surveys, interviews, photos, video, and observational notes. These will show how Schoology affected how well the students learned Newton’s Laws of Motion and Energy and how the students felt about their learning through this process. The quantitative data will include the pre and post tests, commercial/skit grades, roller coaster grades, explorelearning.com tests and assignments, and KWL charts. These will give me the numbers and data needed to explain the quality of learning and how well my proposed solution worked. To analyze the surveys all items will be compared to see the differences and progress between pre and post. Student answers will be compared with one another. Also a numbering system will be used for each answer provided. An answer closer to my goal will have a smaller point value. Each student’s survey will be scored and described based on that score.