Sunday, February 18, 2007

WISE - it all started with...The Deformed Frog

WISE: The Web-based Inquiry Science-based Environment

Revisiting the site... While journeying through the pages:

Some observations:

1. The portal allows customisation of projects - in other words, it offers flexibility that allows teachers to adapt the project according to what's deem suitable by the teacher. As brought up during the sharing (learning points) during the section meeting, it was pointed out (by some) that the task tends to be 'converging' - ie. there's already a known answer to the 'hypothesis' and the approach seems to be leading the pupils to go through a carefully planned journey.

Looking from another perspective, I presume the task is put up to give the most conservative structure (as much info & resource as possible) - as I would agree that it's easier to remove than to fill in with more info.

2. As the name of the website implies... it's to do with Science... no wonder, even the 'only' Maths activity (Airbags: Too Fast, Too Furious??) is linked to Science - Physics... Well, isn't it that anything authentic has something to do with Science?

3. The medium used:
In the "Deformed Frog", pictures were put up at the relevant points to 'concretise' what's described in text - to see the 'hard-to-imagine' products. In "Airbags" project, simulation/video is included to aid investigation. Indeed, instructions were there to guide pupils what to look out for... yes, very guided (that reminds me when I conduct the spreadsheet - trying to give hints to lead the participants to look out for what I would like them to see). One advantage on the use of the video clips is that it allows the learner to slower drag the 'display point' so that he is able to do close analysis with the simulation.

Because of the nature of the task - where pupils were to draw observation from a graph, a built-in web-based graphing tool is also available, as part of the investigation package. Like the "Deformed Frog" activity, it also comes with the notes feature where learner can jot down some points, based on the 'questions' displayed. Something new observed: It also comes with an MCQ where puplis were to make a 'decision' at that point of this learning.

4. It is also very obvious that there's no checking mechanism built into the project - but the learner will document his learning along the way. This brings in another concern that normally teachers are concern over classroom learning... making sure that pupils acquire the correct stuff before the problem gets 'accumulated'... it's difficult to undo the misconception. So, when to give the timely intervention/checking? The teacher has to decide...

5. Other form of 'learning support' - key words were hyperlinked to glossary where pictures are included to provide visual and explain what a 'limb' is - this is helpful for the visual learners.

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