Sunday, February 22, 2009

Teacher Inquiry Groups Narrow their Focus

In the first semester, AMDSB Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) teams established inquiry questions, practiced protocols, and expanded their understanding of the issues and challenges facing teachers in various subject areas. As teacher groups examined student work, themes and patterns began to emerge. Based on their inquiry questions and on the collaborative examination of student writing, teachers aim to improve

  • how students explain and support their thinking in writing;

  • student use of the writing process;

  • students’ summarization skills;

  • student use of subject specific vocabulary/terminology;

  • students’ written responses to questions;

  • student writing of conclusions in science labs;

  • students’ report writing skills;

  • the transfer of student knowledge of writing forms (from one context to another).

In second semester, the work of the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) inquiry teams is more focused as teacher give diagnostic assessments and gather results that will inform their teaching and their selection of instructional strategies. Over the coming weeks, I will post items that relate to the topics, activities and instructional strategies explored by the WAC teams.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

How do we Harness Collective Intelligence?

A video clip of Professor Michael Wesch of Kansas State University inspired me to research the term Collective Intelligence.

When Michael Wesch looks out at his large classes of 400 students, he asks himself, "How can I get all of their intelligence to work together so that we can do something really amazing? If you think about what one person can do, that's interesting, but when you think about what 400 people can do when they all work together, that's really interesting."

Wesch's Question: How do we help student learning by harnessing the collective intelligence of students instead of just lecturing to them?

Watch this short video clip of Mike Wesch talking about what he calls his anti-teaching method.

Collective Intelligence Defined (by Wikipedia)

Collective Intelligence (C.I.) is a group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals. It is important to distinguish Collective Intelligence (C.I.) from shared intelligence. Collective Intelligence is the knowledge available to all members of a community, while shared intelligence is knowledge known by all members of a community. C.I. is not merely a quantitative contribution, but qualitative as well.

MIT's Centre for Collective Intelligence

The Webpage for MIT's Centre for Collective Intelligence says the following:

While people have talked about collective intelligence for decades, new communication technologies—especially the Internet—now allow huge numbers of people all over the planet to work together in new ways. The recent successes of systems like Google and Wikipedia suggest that the time is now ripe for many more such systems, and the goal of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence is to understand how to take advantage of these possibilities.

MIT's Question
: How can people and computers be connected so that—collectively—they act more intelligently than any individuals, groups, or computers have ever done before?'

My Question: How do we harness the collective intelligence of our teachers?

Visit Wesch's blog, Digital Ethnography

Watch The Machine is us/ing us

Watch a Presentation by Wesch, A Portal to Media Literacy

Watch An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube by Michael Wesch