A reflection on diffi-tool considerations for the Survivalcraft experience

It feels like I’m still recovering from Givercraft ending over a week ago!  I was very happy with my diffi-tools and being able to collaborate with others on the diffi-team.  Our twitter session this week BLEW UP with all of the chatter, reflections, feedback, and ideas about the impact of our diffi-tools.  I realized that it can be challenging if you have to create a tool for teachers and/or student but have limited or no access to them.  We need to figure out a way that we can present our tools without overwhelming or confusing teachers and their students.  We started a Google document to submit exit survey questions about each of our Givecraft diffi-tools and to also start sharing our ideas for Survivorcraft diffi-tools.  Some of us wanted to work on diffi-tools for a specific book, either Lord of the Flies or Maze Runner.  In a way, we learned some lessons from our last diffi-tools but with different books and scenarios, it almost feels like we are starting a new project but with valuable experience behind us.  I think we have to stay focused on what we learned – that we need to create effective meaningful tools that can be assessed throughout the experience (an important aspect of our internship).

I think a major obstacle of designing, implementing, and assessing our diffi-tools is that we are not necessarily the ones introducing them to students. Having minimal contact or access to students makes it feel like a guessing game sometimes.  We need to have an understanding of how students (and teachers) go through the experience in the classroom and within the game.   Without this information, it makes it difficult to create a diffi-tool much less assess its impact or effectiveness.  Reading Cindy’s blog this week, got me thinking about how we can incorporate all of our diffi-tools in a more organized way to ensure they are available and used properly by teachers and students.  We can start by getting our tools organized and included in the Survivalcraft unit plan and teacher guides.

But before we get there, we need to critically examine our ideas and ensure that we are meeting the criteria for differentiation and assessment.  We need to ask ourselves, “Is my diffi-tool helping students meet their learning objectives?” and “Can I effectively monitor and assess use of my diffi-tool throughout the Survivalcraft experience”. 

I am planning on using Macdonald’s questions to think about use and assessment of my diffi-tool:

  • Why are we assessing the students?
  • What are we assessing?
  • When are we going to assess?
  • Who is going to carry out the assessment?
  • How are we going to assess?
  • Where will the assessment take place?
  • How are we going to grade/mark?
  • What feedback will students receive?

I spent a lot of time this week working on my data results from my Givercraft research for SEACCR.  I hope that my results and analysis can help our diffi-team understand how students and teachers communicate, collaborate, and interact in the game.  For my peers that have not been able to observe students in the game, I think reviewing my research can give them insight into student’s needs, interests, and learning styles.  There is a community and culture that evolves throughout the game and understanding it is important for us as we create tools for differentiation!

Any thoughts, feelings, opinions, suggestions?

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