Project Overview

1) What was the instructional problem?

This is the first semester that AP European History is being offered at SWD. Not only is the instructor trying to identify motivating lessons for difficult material, but he found that students had trouble with their first round of Document Based Questions (DBQ's). DBQ's are a series of documents with a question that requires an essay that links all of the documents together.
2) How/why was technology used to help solve the instructional
Technology, in this case a wiki, allows the teacher to scaffold the student responses. This time around, the students will be able to use the wiki to collaboratively generate and edit their essay. In addition, they gave each other feedback to further improve the quality of the work. The instructor will remove some supports in later versions: eliminate collaboration and feedback, and limit the large amount of time the wiki afforded the students this time around.
3) Brief overview of project I chose, installed, and administered wiki software on my domain. The collaborating teacher supplied the class with several DBQ's from the French Revolution and Napoleonic Era. In groups, the students collaboratively generated and edited one DBQ each. Each individual student then provided feedback on the three other DBQ's. Groups were then allowed a second round of editing to improve quality. The wiki allowed the teacher and the students to create and edit web pages quickly, without learning HTML or trying to figure out how to use FTP.
4) What was the impact on student learning? The students were much more motivated to complete the wiki DBQ's, and quality was higher than the DBQ's that were performed prior to this project. Students were exposed to the other side of wikis as well; most knew about wikipedia, for example, but did not realize that they had the authority to edit entries.
5) Largest challenge

For me, the largest challenge was technical in nature. The wiki did not work for most of the students the first day; I had to quickly analyze the problem and report it to the wiki mailing list. By that night, I had the problem solved, and the next day went smoothly.

For my collaborative teacher, his challenge was that he had to trust me that all of the technical aspects would work well enough for his students to be successful. He had about 15 weeks to cover 500 years of European history and he did not have time to waste while I worked out technical issues.

6) Largest success There were successes for all three stakeholders: myself, the teacher, and the students. The largest success had to be for the collaborative teacher. Not only did he learn the technology and have his lesson ready for the students but the students enjoyed the lesson and wanted to do another one right away. Overnight, he had increased their motivation for writing essays. Engaging students in learning is a key factor in student success.
7) Level of Integration (LOTI level)

Using technology, the students were collaboratively engaged in constructing their own responses to a difficult question. The collaborative portion of the lesson would have been difficult to perform without technology. The LOTI level is rated a level 4A.