Horizon Project Peer Review: Best Practices

Simulpost with TechLearning

The Horizon project has been fascinating, not only because of the project itself but also because of the intentional involvement of students as young as ten in the peer review process.

Thank you to our 5 peer reviewer classrooms from 5 countries!
Sharon Peters did a GREAT job with high school review and having it mid-project really gave the students excellent feedback and fuel to move ahead!

Chrissy Hellyer (Teaching Saggitarian – 7th grade – New Zealand), Kim Coifino (8th grade – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Read Kim's student reviews.) and Lisa Durff with her 7th grade USA class are also involved in the process, and Brandt Schneider's Web Design Class (Read Brandt's assignment and reviews.)

Several peer reviewers have tackled middle school. Graham Wegner from Australia – (who does such great job over at his Teaching Generation Z blog) has been working to formulate his thoughts on the best practices of peer review of this sort of project with middle schoolers.

Graham's Methodology for Horizon Project Peer Review

His blog post yesterday is GREAT! I particularly like his summary:

So, after reviewing four videos on Friday afternoon, I formulated an easy format for gathering the feedback. A common format for getting kids thinking about concepts is P,M,I (plus, minus, interesting). By using that today as the starting point, one student was chosen as the feedback agent for the particular video to be viewed. We watched, and the feedback agent wrote down a point or two for each P,M or I, then recorded the class’s general feedback into their PMI sheet. If every child does that over the space of this week, then each child can type up a paragraph or so of peer review comment that can be pasted into the wiki comments for the video creators. The process seemed to work fine today but it won’t happen in a day because of the need to find time for the video viewing without carving out huge chunks from the rest of the school curriculum. But writing reviews is an important English skill, so doing so for a real and purposeful venture like the Horizon Project is an ideal situation and as I keep telling the students, a real privilege as well.

What this means, even more than the students having a rich environment, that now, Sharon, Chrissy, Kim, Lisa, Graham can now “meet” to discuss the peer review process. What works and what doesn't and the most effective method to conduct such peer review. It was a bit cumbersome and we had to work out the details, but my, just looking at the PMI sheet that Graham has developed will be so very useful!!

To add more excitement, Elluminate has extended the Horizon project's time in the virtual room and we can have some “meetings” over the summer to discuss and plan the methods we will use for the project we will conduct in October/ November. So, when we conclude with the awards next week, we will begin the assessment of our ourselves.

The self-assessment and peer assessment from you is perhaps the most difficult for me because we are still learning and have done our very best but if we are going to improve not just as individual teachers, but improve as an educational community, we need to ask hard questions about how to make such a project replicable in other classrooms.

How can we make it manageable? Besides the time zone issues, how can we remove obstacles. Can we run side by side projects with other teachers (perhaps two sets of students on two wikis — several classes each?) What courses besides ICT / Computer Science should do such projects?

So many questions. But right now, I'm just exhausted! It is hard to consider such deep questions without putting my head down on my desk! OK, back to grading!

Great job peer reviewers!
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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Durff May 27, 2007 - 12:49 am

Those are Brandt Schneider’s links to his assignment and blog. He has done an outstanding job of peer review on very short notice. Thank you Brandt! (That is his daughter pictured on his blog)

Sharon Peters May 28, 2007 - 4:10 pm

Vicki, I know that my students’ participation in both HP and the “From Jerusalem to Montreal” wiki projects as peer reviewers have forced them to develop solid critical thinking and evaluation skills. Evaluation and Analysis are high order thinking skills on Bloom’s Taxonomy and they have been challenged – in an authentic and fun process – to develop these skills.

We were discussing our participation today in class and I was amused that my students didn’t really see their participation as a big deal. They really had a hard time understanding what they did (so well) that earned awards and international recognition. The students are now aware that a good evaluation encompasses more than just the token “good job” or “looks great!”. They are already accustomed to participating in global conversations and accepted it as part of their overall education. WOW! How far we have come since September! When I think of how many classes have NOT had that opportunity, what a shame….

Yes, we need to make our projects replicable. I would also like to see these projects not just come out of ICT courses (which don’t exist at my school, we have integrated all of our IT skills int o the curriculum – not entirely wise, imho). I teach English Language Arts and this is a natural fit for these kinds of projects. However, optimally, these projects lend themselves best to integrated projects which can draw upon such courses as ethics, history, geography and science as well as language arts.

Let’s keep the conversation going and keep up the challenge to share best practices in an open and transparent manner!

Great job, again, on Horizon Project! An Authentic learning situation with collaborating partners is certainly one of the very best approaches to education in the 21st century.

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