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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Center for improved engineering and science education CIESE

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.8 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 4.6 stars
Ease of Use: 4.8 stars
Reviewed: Jul 24, 2005 by Teacher Education
Overview:

CIESE and partners are developing and provide access to a variety of
instructional materials including both curriculum and technology-rich support
tools for STEM (science and math) education. There is a wealth of information available regarding
various programs and collaborative activities between the center and other
educational institutions.

Learning Goals:
  1. To provide a source of professional development for teachers regarding the
    use of technology to create quality math and science instructional strategies.
  2. To inform users of programs, grants, and web sites that provide guidance in
    using technology for math and science instruction. Collaborative projects are funded by large grants and are ongoing and these include projects supported by a Federal PT3 Grant Program
    (Preparing Tomorrows Teachers to Use Technology), which encourages the
    discovery and implementation of alternative teacher development paths and
    improved teaching through use of technology.
  3. To improve all grade levels math and science education by incorporating
    computer technology into instructional strategies.
  4. To provide a clearinghouse of technology related educational tools.
  5. To promote constructivism and inquiry based learning in the classroom by
    linking learning experiences to technology based strategies.
  6. Create collaborative efforts to enhance understanding and use of technology
    in math and science classrooms.
Target Student Population:

The information,
guidance, and skill development is targeted to k-12 and higher education
faculty. The goal is for teachers to change and enhance classroom instruction
through collaborative efforts. The
grade levels vary from K-12 science and math, science and math teacher education (including community
college preparation) and undergraduate education but are identified for each resource.

Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: A general understanding of computers, word processing, the internet and web
searches are advisable. There are, however, several tutorials offered that
instruct individuals in the use of technology including discussion board and web page production.
Type of Material:

Information such as real world learning objects (RWLOs) and support tools appropriate for science
education community building and professional development, internet connections to other related
information.

Recommended Uses:

These materials are highly recommended for technology-rich teacher
education experiences in math and science. It is targeted for the instructor
rather than the student. Some of the collaborative projects and funded programs
provide materials a teacher can use to design activities that students can explore with the teacher's
guidance.

Technical Requirements: A computer with Internet capabilities and for the tutorial sound capabilities.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: An excellent collection of information and links to very useful instruction. Since k -12 schools are now being fitted with technology infrastructure, it is important to help science
teachers become aware of how technology can transform the science and
math education learning environment. These materials provide strong examples of
a radically different approach to science education with math incorporated.
Many useful classroom projects are available. Some of these use live data while
others can be incorporated into any curriculum. All projects incorporate
national standards into their objectives. There is something here for any teacher and any grade
level. Several downloads are also available through links to appropriate
sites. The k -12 collaborative projects and real-time data projects should be included as
an experience for every teacher in a professional development program.


   
Concerns:

The projects provide a unique approach to science and math content through the
processes of investigation. Because each project is independent in function
it remains up to faculty to integrate the projects into an over-all coherent
flow of instruction within a context of clearly defined long-range goals. Some of the ongoing funded projects are limited to specific regions and
organizations. Although much of the information can be used by any individual,
the specifics are focused on the targeted groups.


Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.6 stars
Strengths:

The collaborative approach to science education matches the expectations for our
modern workforce. Many of the projects offer instructional techniques that
incorporate the learning cycle, inquiry and constructivist techniques. The
techniques learned through professional development and online courses assist
the teacher in the installation of learning strategies and activities that could be expected to
promote auth entic and meaningful learning by the student. Many of the collaborative
projects use real time data that provides experience for the student in analysis
and decision-making. Each project links objectives to
national standards and provides clear concise expectations for the experiential learning.
For the average classroom instructor, there are numerous opportunities to
enhance an already existing knowledge base as well as guided instruction for the
novice. Through guided instruction offered in the instructional programs the
collaborative programs can be introduced into any existing curriculum.

Concerns:

Because the material is collaborative, individual accountability might be a
problem. In most cases, it remains up to faculty to decide what specific
outcomes should be assessed and how. For example, engagement in academic
discussions about data is clearly important, but it is not clear how a teacher
would let individual students know how they are doing and how to improve. The instructor must create the opportunity to
incorporate the strategies, although plenty of guidance is available for that
purpose. Less guidance is provided for the assessment component.


Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.8 stars
Strengths:

The site is well designed with easy to read and use menus. Links are explained
in easy to read format. The site is kept current and the
links are all functional. Many embedded links provide multiple opportunities to
enhance content knowledge.   The scheduling of collaborative project runs with start and end dates that fall
within a semester and range from 1-3 months in duration - a timing that can fit within the quarter or semester
schedule of colleges where teachers are educated. Tutorials that
illustrate how a teacher can set up and run a public discussion and handle shared files are clear and
quite easy to use.

Concerns:

The navigation structure and variety of components to this collection are quite
complex, but the links are very well constructed and user friendly - as long as one remembers to bookmark the material of interest.


Other Issues and Comments:

Educators are fortunate to have this opportunity to gain valuable information
regarding coordination of technology and inquiry based instruction. We have watched as material is added and CIESE continues to develop over the
years. Faculty who educate the next generation of teachers appreciate that such
cutting edge developments are made public. Thank you for the
many links to excellent instructional techniques, primary data, collaborative environments, and reference material.