Module 1: School-based Enquiry

This module consisted of a school-based enquiry about an issue or area of education that I wished to investigate. Having begun to use Google Docs regularly with my students during the previous academic year I decided it would be pertinent to investigate and develop/improve the methodologies that I was refining in terms of collaboration and assessment.

The question that I settled on was as follows:

Does the collaborative functionality of Google docs allow educators to better put formative assessment at the heart of their students’ learning?

The results were highly encouraging and while I found this particular assignment a challenge to write up, I believe that it was the most rewarding in that many of the conclusions I had already begun to draw about the potential of Google Docs to enhance assessment for learning practices seemed to be accurate. Moreover, I learned a great deal about what to do, and what not to do in terms of classroom-based research and data collection. As they say it is the journey that matters most!

I also enjoyed working directly with the students in evaluating their use of Google Docs as a learning tool and interviewing Oliver Quinlan who has also completed extensive work into using Google Docs in the classroom.

You can read my assignment here: Does the collaborative functionality of Google Docs allow educators to better put formative assessment at the heart of their students’ learning?

As I worked through the module I read a range of texts. The selected texts below represent the ones that came to shape my thinking and also featured in my assignment. I have added links to the texts that are available online:

  • Barrett, Tom (2008a) Marking work in Google Docs, Retrieved 14th December, 2010 from the World Wide Web: http://tbarrett.edublogs.org/2008/06/29/marking-work-in-google-docs/
  • Barrett, Tom (2008b) Unobtrusive Collaboration in Google Docs, Retrieved 14th December, 2010 from the World Wide Web: http://edte.ch/blog/2008/10/10/unobtrusive-collaboration-in-google-docs/
  • Beebe, R, Vonderwell, S and Boboc, M. (2010) “Emerging Patterns in Transferring Assessment Practices from F2f to Online Environments” Electronic Journal of e-Learning Volume 8 Issue 1 2009, (pp1 – 12), available online at www.ejel.org
  • Black, P. and Wiliam, D. (1998) Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards through Classroom Assessment, London: King’s College.
  • Black, P et al. (2002) Working Inside the Black Box: Assessment for learning in the classroom, London: King’s College
  • Clarke, S. (2005) Formative Assessment in the Secondary Classroom, London: Hodder Murray.
  • Claxton, G. (2006) Expanding the Capacity to Learn: A new end for education?, BERA 2006 Keynote.
  • Cohen, Louis., Manion, Lawrence., Morrison, Keith. (2007) Research Methods in Education, Routledge, 6th Edition.
  • Davies, J and Ecclestone, K. (2008) ‘Straightjacket’ or ‘springboard for sustainable learning’? The implications of formative assessment practices in vocational learning courses, The Curriculum Journal, 19 (2), 71-86
  • Demetriou, H. The Case Study, In Wilson, E (2009) School based research, London, Sage.
  • Hatziapostolou, T and Paraskakis, I. (2010) “Enhancing the Impact of Formative Feedback on Student Learning through an Online Feedback System” Electronic Journal of e-Learning Volume 8 Issue 2 2010, (pp111 – 122), available online at www.ejel.org
  • Heppell, S. (2010) Meta Cognition, Stephen Heppell, Learning and Teaching Scotland: Assessment for Learning, iTunesU, Retrieved 18 January 2011 from the World Wide Web: http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/itunesu/index.asp
  • Kennedy, D. J. (2009) Virtual Learning Environments: Here to stay or on the brink of demise?, The Plymouth Student Educator.
  • Prensky, Marc (2001a) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, On the Horizon, MCB University Press, Vol. 9, No. 5
  • Prensky, Marc (2001b) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, Part II: Do They Really Think Differently?, On the Horizon, MCB University Press, Vol. 9, No. 5
  • Puentedura, Ph.D., Ruben R. (2006) Transformation, Technology, and Education, Retrieved 15th June, 2010 from the World Wide Web: http://hippasus.com/resources/tte/
  • Quinlan, Oliver (2010) Personalising writing lessons with the new Google Docs, Retrieved 14th December 2010 from the World Wide Web: http://www.oliverquinlan.com/blog/2010/04/27/personalising-writing-lessons-with-the-new-google-docs/
  • Quinlan, Oliver (2011) Collaborative assessment with Google Docs, Retrieved April 7th, 2011 from the World Wide Web: http://www.oliverquinlan.com/blog/2011/04/06/collaborative-assessment-with-google-docs/
  • Stenhouse, L. (1985) Research as a basis for teaching: readings from the work of Lawrence Stenhouse, Oxford: Heinmann Educational
  • Thornburg, David D. (2007) Campfires in Cyberspace: Primordial Metaphors for Learning in the 21st Century, Retrieved May 2nd, 2010 from the World Wide Web: http://www.tcpd.org/thornburg/handouts/campfires.pdf
  • Wiliam, D. (2010) Innovation that works. Workshop at SSAT conference, Birmingham, November. Retrieved 28 November 2010 from the World Wide Web: http://web.me.com/dylanwiliam/Dylan_Wiliams_website/Presentations.html
  • Yin, R. (1993) Applications of Case Study Research, Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publishing
  • Yin, R. (1994) Case study research: Design and methods (2nd ed.). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publishing

3 thoughts on “Module 1: School-based Enquiry”

  1. Hi James

    Great proposal – well thought out and organised – like the link to assessment for learning. I’m the e-learning lead teacher at Tahunanui School, in Nelson, New Zealand. My class (Year 3), my e-learning angels (a group of Year 4-6 students) and I have been experimenting with Google Apps this year. Would you be interested in working collaboratively with some of my students and your students?

    Emma Watts

    ewatts@cloud.tahunanui.school.nz

  2. Hi James,

    Very interesting proposal. As I am in an independent school we are perhaps not as up to speed on AfL as the rest of the world however I do feel that Google Docs and collaborative learning are excellent topics to pursue.

    I may be going off the beaten track here but I was thinking about what barriers there are to using collaborative services within the classroom (over reliance on MS Office, need internet connection at home etc) and whether this would have any impact on progressive learning. Just a thought!

    good luck!

    brian

    ps: do you mind if i pinch your subheadings for structuring my CS proposal? I like the way you have laid it out

    1. Thanks Brian

      Access is fortunately not a factor. All Media Studies lessons are taught in ICT suites with internet access and much of the work completed using Google docs takes place during lesson time. There is some use at home and this is not a problem for most of the students. It is a factor that I did consider though and will be included when I am discussing the conditions in which the assessments took place.

      I don’t mind at all if you use those headings. They came from a tool kit I was given by my tutor for the unit on preparing and conducting effective research. I only have a paper copy but don’t mind photocopying it for you and sticking it in the post. Let me know.

      Regards
      James.

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