I talked about Sugata Mitra's Hole In The Wall Project a while ago, I really like this way of learning as it is self motivated and child led. He has since set up The School In The Cloud, which really is for children to use the SOLE principles, where 4 kids work together to answer the big question.
We haven't managed to get together with anyone else to do it with yet so Ebi-kun has been doing SOLE solo! I wanted to show you how easy it is to use, I didn't help Ebi-kun at all, just set it up initially then let him loose with it!
You need to set up an account and then you can start a new session…
You can use your own BIG question or one that they suggest, choose how long the session will last, we usually do it for 60 minutes as 30 minutes wasn't long enough. Also put in how many kids and how many in each group - I think this is for when you are teaching a large class.
You have a couple of pages to click through, one has a presentation on how SOLE works but you can skip that the next time round. This is where the kids take over. They have a search engine, one for images and one for video and it uses safe search so hopefully nothing frightful will pop up! The last box is for the presentation.
The children can clip things to their scrapbook as they go along…
They can put the main question into the search box or another question might come along as they are doing their research, this is where it gets interesting because each group will end up looking at different things, depending on the questions that arise as they work through.
Once they find something they want to use, they can simply highlight the text and C&P it onto the scrapbook..
All the things that they collect are kept in little boxes, this can include images too…
Hover over the image and a little scissors icon appears, click that to add the image to the scrap book.
We found that with some of the more difficult topics, watching videos made it easier than reading articles. Instead of watching the whole thing in one go, watch a small section, stop the video and add a note to the scrap book.
As we did 60 minutes, at the 40 minute mark, research stops and he then puts together his presentation. Simply add each note from the scrapbook to the slide show. This part we need to work on, what makes a good presentation and the order the information needs to be presented in, but he is getting better.
Once everything is done, they can present their findings. This is where you can see how much they have really understood from how they can explain it to you.
As the parent/teacher, you can go in and rate the presentation and then it can be accessed again so they can do the presentation for daddy!
I am itching to do this with a group of kids to see how it works and have considered setting it up virtually but I'm not sure they can all log into the same project at the same time. Maybe I will investigate more in the holidays!
Anyway, we give it the thumbs up, Ebi-kun said it is easier to find stuff that just sitting down with Google - Google is great but can be overwhelming and even with the parental controls set up, you never know what might turn up in a search!