Best practices: Using database and Wiki to leverage Science courses
As a teacher I promoted high–level thinking by placing students in situations where they needed to solve problems within the context of projects research investigations laboratory experimentation etc.
Within Moodle™ I encountered activities that could foster project-based learning allowing me to leverage these inquiry-based projects in my classroom by stimulating critical thinking developing communication skills and promoting classroom engagement. Students could plan projects display products use the tools to properly discourse their findings and receive feedback from their peers and mentors.
In this blog entry I want to highlight two of the Moodle™ activities I used to assist in the implementation of inquiry-based learning while teaching High School Science.
This activity provides a tool for collaborative development of a database within a course. It allows the instructor and/or students to build display and search a bank of record entries about any conceivable topic. The format and structure of these entries can be almost unlimited including among other things images files URLs numbers and text.
By using Database Science teachers create an environment for students to manage their scientific projects store empirical data collaborate compare results and share comments about their findings. It allows for the creation of templates defining the form in which students enter and see the information in the system. For example a teacher can develop a lab report template creating a structure that students will have to follow. Creating a functional Database requires some planning and perhaps even manipulation of user permissions. Click here to find tutorials that will guide you through the creation of a Database activity.
A Wiki activity is a collection of collaboratively authored web documents. Basically a wiki page is a web page everyone in your class can create together right in the browser without needing to know HTML. A wiki starts with one front page. Each author can then add other pages to the Wiki by simply creating a link to a page that doesn't exist yet. Wikis are particularly helpful for group work because the instructor can monitor who is contributing to the overall document. The act of building a Wiki is by itself a great exercise to foster science thinking skills because students have to work together to observe communicate classify and operate the pages within the activity.
Students can use Wiki to create a series of HTML pages that can host all the documentation regarding a scientific project or they can use the wiki pages to create a web-enhanced presentation of their finding data and conclusions. If properly set up student can navigate through the Wikis made by other groups as well commenting on what they observed. It gives you tons of possibilities and it allows students to showcase their creativity in multiple ways. Click here to find a tutorial that explains how to create a Wiki activity in Moodle™.
These are just two examples of the many types of uses for Database and Wiki. Enroll in our Best Practices in e-Learning online course to learn more creative ways to implement Moodle™ activities in your courses.