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 8thgrade 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 allowing for timely revisions according to their needs?
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.
Summary of Cycle 2:
For Cycle 2 I was required to change my content area to Energy because of the need to keep pace with the other 8th grade science classes. Before I began implementing Cycle 2 I started by creating my student’s Schoology accounts. I did this to save time and to also keep track of the passwords and usernames in case students forgot. They then became familiar with the site so they knew what was available to them, what was expected of them, and how to access the resources needed during class. The students viewed a video tutorial I created to walk them through the process of how Schoology works. They personalized their accounts, browsed the features, and completed a pre-engagement survey. I walked around and monitored ensuring only school appropriate content was being used on their profiles.
During the first week of implementation the students logged on to Schoology and completed the pre tests . This test only consisted of 3 questions worth 30 points total testing them on what they knew about Energy. I also had the students complete a rocket activity along with a simulation activity on a website called Explore Learning through Schoology. Throughout the cycle the students also completed KWL (what you know, what you want to know, what you learned) Charts using Google Drawings. They reviewed the Prezi given on Energy (Created by Nick Goranson) and became familiar with their roller coaster projects through a rubric and requirements sheet on Google Documents. Students completed and submitted most projects on Schoology, and took their post test and survey.
I used pre and post surveys, pre and post tests, a rocket assignment, a roller coaster project, post interviews, personal observations, and KWL Charts to collect my data.
In the pre-engagement survey 50% of the students who completed the survey found science to be interesting or “ok”, 10% found it “very interesting”, and the last 40% of the students described their interest as “boring” or “very boring.”
For the post survey 83% of the students found science to be more interesting while 17% of the students described this unit as “alright” or “not that interesting.” Between the pre and post surveys students’ interests in science changed from labs, physics, SMARTboard activities, and working with friends to the rocket and roller coaster projects we did because they were “creating something” or “using their hands to build”. In the pre survey there were 22% of the students who did not feel technology and science fit together or that they “kinda” fit together, however in the post survey only 16% of the students felt technology and science did not fit together. In the pre survey students felt technology and science did not fit together because “technology is fun and science is not,” however in the post survey students saw that technology and science fit together because “science does research and calculations that makes you need technology” or because “science is kinda like technology.”
In the pre test 88% of the students did not answer any of the questions correctly. However 12% of the students answered 1 of the 3 questions correctly. This showed that students have little to no prior knowledge about Energy or Energy related concepts.
In the post test 65% of the students received a grade of an 80% meaning they received between 25 and 30 of the total points possible. Another 35% of the students received a 66% or lower meaning they received only 20 points or less out of the total points possible. The questions almost 100% of the students missed were having to draw examples of the types of energy with labels. The results of my pre and post tests show that students grew from 100% not knowing much about Energy to 65% of the students becoming proficient in the subject area. This shows that students became engaged in their learning so much so the content was learned and applied to real-world situations.
For the roller coaster project 56% of the students received an 80% or better based on the rubric used for grading. This rubric graded the students in 10 categories with each being worth a maximum of 10 points each. Another 16% of the students received a 60% and the final 28% that turned in the assignment received a 0% on it. These results are important because they show that over half of the students were able to utilize what they learned about Energy and apply it to a roller coaster showing types of Energy and ideal heights for maximum speed.
In the K (What I Know) portion 100% of the students put that they knew energy involves moving things and is related to the content area of physics. There were also 50% of the students who discussed types of energy and where energy can be found such as food. In the W (What I Want to Know) portion 100% of the students wanted to know where you can “contain” energy and different ways it can be used. In the L (What I Learned) portion 100% of the students listed at least 3 types of energy and everyday examples that give off energy. This is important because it shows the students learned some part of the desired content. It also shows that they were able to make connections to prior knowledge and created a concrete knowledge of Energy.
My cycle 2 was relevant to my focus statement because it further reviewed student engagement in the classroom and showed how various forms of technology can increase that engagement leading to more connections to the content area. It showed that hands-on, computer based activities helped students learn about Energy a topic 100% of them knew very little about. My first inquiry question was answered in the roller coaster and rocket projects completed by the students. The students used Schoology in both projects creating a more collaborative learning experience for them. They completed and submitted the rocket project to Schoology while the roller coaster project was completed with resources from the site. This was seen in the 56% of students who received a grade of 80% or better on this project. The 46% of the students who did not attain the 80% was due to not following simple requirements or not turning the project in at all. For my second inquiry question students showed more complete connections to prior knowledge as seen in examples of their completed KWL Charts as well as the pre and post survey comparisons. In the learned section, the students referred to the different types of energy in terms of examples they actually encountered demonstrating what they learned and connecting this concept to the world around them. For my third inquiry question I used Schoology to provide prompt feedback and communication to the students regarding their work as shown in the grade book, comments, discussions, and messages between several of the students and I.
One of the largest surprises I experienced was the difficulty of the students to load pictures into Schoology. I did not know that the test settings were not conducive to uploading pictures to a specific question. It was not until later that I found the correct setting to enable that. The students were also more interested in drawing on the computer using paint rather than Google Drawings because of the familiarity. These students were also more independent workers so I had several quick finishers that I did not create enough extra activities for. I was pleasantly surprised with how often I was able to reserve the computer lab. This made working on the assignments easier for the students. I was also extremely surprised with how few of the students completed and/or did well on the roller coaster assignment. They had not only received a hard copy of the rubric, but also had it available to them on Schoology. Some students did not even want to work on the roller coaster project enjoying the socializing instead. I was happy that a few of the students created working coasters and wish more students had taken the time and effort to build a working ride rather than doing the bare minimum. I think had I created my own coaster for them as an example it might have made them see that it was doable or at least something worth trying. The students that completed the projects seemed to be having fun and everyone enjoyed seeing the working coaster in action.
In my next steps I would like to continue with projects and hands-on activities. I would like to use the organization and ADDIE skills gained in completing this AR project to create better plans for the future projects I create. I know that I will also create examples of all projects for the students to show exactly what I would ike them to gain from the assignment. I will continue to utilize Schoology and show my administrators the benefits it has. I believe my Cycle 2 was relevant to the goal in my Action Plan because the students were able to reference and maintain everything they needed for this particular unit. I will incorporate better discussions between the students as well as myself so we increase collaboration.