Monday, February 16, 2015

A Research Task Template

Last week I attended OETC and presented two sessions.  The first session was about three ways to use technology in high school science classrooms in order to meet the increased demands of Ohio's new learning standards.  I presented the second session with my friend and colleague Tracy Coleman.  We showcased a template we created for teachers to use to make tasks that mirror the types of things students will need to do on the PARCC (math and ELA) and OCBA (science and social studies) tests.

The template is a very simple Google Slides presentation.  The first slide contains the task and links to the other slides on the presentation.  The subsequent slides contain critical components of the task - readings or video or simulations - and are all linked back to the original task slide.  Teachers can drop in a couple of articles and a video to create a research synthesis task.  Here is what the template looks like:

We showed some examples of ways to use the template too.  Tracy created an example where students must read articles and watch a video and write an essay about how we know that Shakespeare authored his works.  She also created an example with opposing viewpoints and asked students to conclude whether or not teachers should be armed.  I created a science example that includes a reading, an atomic structure simulation, and a video about the creation of new elements.  In this example, students answer questions in a Google Form instead of writing an essay. 

We hope that creating the template with an easy and free tool like Google Slides offers few barriers for teachers.  With a little research and a few clicks, teachers can create tasks that they weave into instruction to give students needed practice for these next generation assessments.  Teachers received the template enthusiastically.  Several started creating sample tasks during our session.  What do you think?  Is this something you would use to prepare your students for the upcoming tests?

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