Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Yesterday, we spent the afternoon discussing the specific look-fors for the DETAILS for the 21st Century. DETAILS (Determining Educational Technology and Instructional Learning Skillsets) consists of five empiriically-validated constructs or categories for professional development. Each participant who completes the DETAILS Questionnaire (alias LoTi Questionnaire) receives a personalized DETAILS profile summarizing their professional development needs in the following categories:

1. Student-centered Instruction
2. Complex Student Projects
3. Technology Proficiencies
4. Dependence on Additional Resources or Assistance
5. Challenges of Classroom Technology Use

The two categories that were the most abstract and subject to numerous interpretations included Student-centered Instruction and Complex Student Projects. Provided below is a clarification of both these constructs.

Student-centered Instruction
instruction that is student or learner-centered emphasizes students generating their own questions aligned to a central theme, defining their own tasks, setting their own instructional goals, and/or self-assessing their own learning progress. Specific "look-fors" associated with student-centered instruction include:

* Students generate the essential questions
* Student dialogue is purposeful and relates to the topic under consideration
* Teacher serves as a facilitator for learning
* Teacher focuses on helping students clarify their own understanding of what they want or desire to learn
* Students engaged in finding answers to their questions
* Students develop their own pathway to find answers, clarify personal misconceptions, or seek solutions
* Culminating product is viewed as relevant and engaging to students

Complex Student Projects
Complex student projects refers to student learning experiences that embed one or more complex thinking strategies in the process by which students complete a final product. Complex thinking skill strategies include problem solving, creative problem solving, decision-making, reasoning, investigation, experimental inquiry, and reflective thinking. These strategies are more specifically defined as follows:

Problem Solving:
Identify the goal and obstacle
Identify/research alternative ways to solve the problem
Select an alternative based on the evaluation criteria
Try out the alternative
Evaluate results

Creative Problem Solving:
Identify the goal and obstacle
Brainstorm alternative ways to solve the problem (invent new ideas or extend known patterns to new situations)
Choose an alternative (using insight from previous activity)
Try out the alternative
Evaluate results

Prioritize outcomes desired
Identify alternative actions
Make decision (choose alternative action based on established criteria)
Carry out decision
Evaluate decision

Inductive Inference - predict a likely conclusion by using important unstated facts or observations
Deductive Inference - predict a likely conclusion by using important principles

Identify the type of investigation (e.g., concept; past event - "how/why", hypothetical event - "what if")
Identify previous knowledge
Determine confusions/contradictions
Research new information
Provide and justify clarifications

Experimental Inquiry:
Observe/measure phenomenon (collect data)
Analyze data
Draw conclusions/develop hypothesis
Text conclusions/hypothesis
Summarize/evaluate outcome in terms of original conclusions or hypothesis

Reflective Thinking:
Identify thinking strategies
Assess strengths and weaknesses of strategies applied in various situations
Select strategies most likely to be helpful in accomplishing purpose
Assess results/appropriateness of strategy selected

I would appreciate your feedback to either the clarified DETAILS constructs or your impressions as to what we accomplished during our afternoon workshop yesterday.