Enhancing Educational Effectiveness, Efficiency and Productivity

Yesterday IAAK hosted The Next Generation ActivClassroom at Iolani School for Hawaii Schools of the Future.  Sonny Magana, Head of Global Research for Promethean, shared the latest findings from the Marzano study on the effects of the ActivClassroom on student achievement as well as a lot of interesting, relevant tid bits on learning and its supporting research.  While the first phase of the Marzano study found that by integrating the ActivClassroom in the classroom, students showed a 16 percentile gain as measured by a pre/post-assessment.  The second phase of the study focused on identifying those conditions (coupled with the ActivClassroom) that do or do not make a difference in academic outcomes.  One of the findings – across all subject areas, grade levels, and teacher experience levels students still showed a 16 percentile gain.  Dr. Gene Glass, father of meta-analysis research methods, conducted a peer review of the Marzano research, translating the findings to say that students can experience 12 months of achievement in a nine month school year.  Impressive.  Sonny went on to hypothesize why the ActivClassroom has such a significant impact on student achievement, highlighting two main reasons:

  • The ActivClassroom supports learning that is multi-sensory, which as brain research tells us, leads to enhanced knowledge construction.
  • ActivExpressions or ActiVotes (LRS) allow for immediate, real-time feedback, which translates to a high metacognitive value.  He shared a graph that showed the relationship between the time delay of feedback and metacognitive value.  Summative assessments (high-stakes testing) have a high time delay (sometimes students never learn of their performance on such tests) which correlates to a low metacognitive value.  Some formative assessments such as quizzes and/or assignments, graded and returned the next day, have a lower feedback time delay, and therefore, offer more metacognitive value.  Whereas, the ActivExpressions or ActiVotes provide immediate feedback (no time delay) to students which has a very high metacognitive value.  Makes sense, right?

And, of course, Sonny was presenting on the new ActivBoard 500PRO, with pen and touch capability.  It promotes a natural way of interacting with the technology modeled on real world behaviors and gestures (think iPhone gestures).  It can also accommodate multiple users collaborating on a single task – an essential student skill for the future.  Images can be easily moved, scaled and rotated with finger touch in conjunction with real life “pen” tasks such as writing and drawing across the whole surface, increasing engagement.  Very cool.

Sonny shared lots of interesting and thought-provoking ideas about teaching and learning productivity.  He referenced Mitch Resnick’s Lifelong Kindergarten group at MIT’s Media Lab which I hadn’t thought about in awhile.  Many of you may know Scratch, the programming application, which Resnick’s team developed.  Resnick boils down learning to this sequence:  imagine – play – share – reflect.  So simple and so powerful.