The last time I blogged it was to speculate about the results of our use of blogging to assess students work on the game Electrocity. After reading many blog posts from the students and listening to discussions after the blogging time was over, it became apparent that, as with most assessments, some students used the new format to really demonstrate an excellent knowledge of forms of energy and the pros and cons to using those forms, and some students did not put in any extra effort to demonstrate learning. All students did blog, and all students demonstrated at least a basic knowledge and some insights into the wise use of energy in our daily lives so I think, at the very least, what we did was successful. As far as being able to say that everyone did better than other forms of communicating their learning I think that this was not the case.
We have just about wrapped up our unit on Conservation of Energy which, true to our TLLP, revolved mainly around a game called Electrocity. The game proved to be an excellent platform for teaching the students about forms of energy, the pros and cons of using the different sources of energy, and seeing how to balance the need for energy with the wise development of various sources that impact the environment in different ways. After we had been “into” the game we introduced the fact that each of our classes had a teacher code and that the students could register their finished game and then be scored and compared with others in the classes. I noticed that when the competition factor was introduced the emphasis for some of the students went from learning, to getting the highest score. In my opinion, some students didn’t think so much about what they were doing in relation to energy use but to just finding out what created the highest score. This made me consider the question: If winning the game becomes the focus then does the educational value decrease? Yes, we told the students that they are being evaluated on the research they do around their towns and the blogging they did about their game play, but is it possible to encourage the competition and still have the students put the majority of their effort into the educational value of the game? I am now in the process of going through all student posts and results of their research. Stay tuned for my exciting conclusion (maybe) to this question.