#nubelymath project: Challenge + Engagement = Progress. Metacognition is powerfully engaging.

Challenge + Engagement = Progress.

The starting point in the planning of this project is establishing what the challenge will be. The last post detailed that the aim of the project is to show how game-based teaching and tailored, self-directed learning can lead to accelerated progress and steep achievement trends. The chosen means of proving this is to show how embedded the learning of 7–9 year-old participants’ is of a concept normally presented to 10–11 year-old students.

I firmly believe that one of the most natural EdTech cross-curricular links is with mathematics. The explanation and reasoning that is expected in mathematics to demonstrate understanding can be effectively facilitated with the key use of EdTech applications. Due to this, the selected upper-keystage 2 concept that the lower-keytage 2 pupils will master in taking part in the #nubelymath project will be square and cube numbers.

For challenges to be taken on without fear, independently, a certain culture needs to be established. A culture that is built around the premise that we all learn from our mistakes. Convincing children that mistakes are the richest learning opportunities is key.

A ‘game-show’ teaching approach will be adopted to help facilitate the learning and lessen the threat of the challenge. When children fully enjoy what they are taking part in, with a little friendly competition against each other, do they question or fully analyse what it is they are learning? Do they focus wholly on the misconception or on the fact that they are only one correct question from winning the quiz?

Whether they self-rectify their misconception or not is quasi-irrelevant. The teacher can subtly analyse the data acquired whilst the child enjoys taking part in a quiz. This will help the teacher tailor their teaching to each of the project’s participants. The teacher, the facilitator, focuses their teaching acutely on the misconceptions that each child actually has, rather than covering all the misconceptions that the group could have en masse.

The vehicle that will ask the questions that form the quiz, help gather this data and inject fun is Kahoot! (getkahoot.com) A super cloud-based, game-based teaching and learning tool. Planning key points for when and how to effectively use it is a necessary future step in the planning of the #nubelymath project.

A missing piece in the word equation that started this post is support. It is not integral for progress to occur, but it might be necessary for certain children when they need it. One covert way of establishing a support structure, that the children can refer to whenever they need or want to is inspired from the Swedish model of assessing children’s learning.

The following excerpt that explains the Swedish model of assessment is quoted from european-agency.org.

The most common tools and methods of innovative assessment in Sweden are:
  • Individual development programme-IEP
  • The pupil’s portfolio
  • Log-books, reflection-books
  • Dialogue with the teachers
  • Self-assessment, peer-assessment
Many schools use the portfolio. In the portfolio there are all kind of documents concerning the pupil, examples of writing, pictures, video film from different situations in the school, photos etc. The aim of this method is to show and assess the pupil’s development and to make it possible for the pupils to reflect upon the learning process. Pupils learn in varying ways and the aim for reflection is to develop good strategies for learning.
One school describes their work with the portfolio model in pre-school, school and leisure-time centres from the pupils, teachers and the parent’s perspective .
The aim for the children and pupils are to:
  • take responsibility and to have influence in their own learning,
  • see their own possibilities,
  • set up targets,
  • plan the daily work,
  • use the portfolio in communication with parents, and teachers, and when moving school.
The aim for teachers is to:
  • set up targets for teaching so that every pupil will learn
  • assess each pupils’ individual learning process,
  • use the portfolio in communication with parents.
The aim for parents is to:
  • clarify their child’s cognitive and social development,
  • support the parents participation in school,
  • “support the parents to support their child”.

The key possessor is ‘child’. It is the child who completes their portfolio and uses it as a tool to reflect upon their learning; analysing the peaks where they fully understood elements of a concept and the inevitable troughs where they did not understand other elements. A portfolio for the #nubelymath project has also been created and can be viewed by clicking here.

Getting children to frequently refer to this portfolio, using it to naturally reflect upon their learning and establish their own next steps will be key for the desired accelerated learning to happen.

Getting children to be metacognitive (awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes) is powerfully engaging!