The central goal of the Global Lab activities is to prepare and involve students to learn science in authentic international investigations.

The desired outcome of the GL activities is that students:
- view themselves as able to do science;
- identify investigative questions and apply science process skills to answer them
- understand knowledge as collaboratively constructed;
- make sense of complex phenomena
- develop the ethics of collaborative investigations and science habits of mind
- become more aware of the importance of working together across boundaries of states, nations and cultures.

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The sense of community that builds over the course of Global Lab relies heavily on students working in teams, both within and among classrooms. Many teachers are by now familiar with forming and managing student groups. However, here are a few ideas you may want to consider:

- Heterogeneous groupings that combine a variety of student strengths and weaknesses allow students to learn from one another. They also encourage tolerance for diverse social and academic styles- something that is particularly important for an international project like Global Lab.
- Many teachers assign roles to individual members of the groups, whereas others allow roles to emerge naturally. In either case, students should be clear about the tasks for which they are responsible.
- Do not expect students to be good at group work right away. Stating collaboration as a goal can encourage students to talk explicitly about their group process.
- Working in groups requires taking individual responsibility for the team's success. Again, stating responsibility as a shared value will support students' growth in this area. Randomly selecting students to report on the group's work will also reinforce shared responsibility for the tasks at hand.
- When students work in groups, your role becomes that of facilitator, coach, and consultant. As student groups grow in independence, your role must change accordingly.

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Teacher's Questions: New Roles by Dr. George Collison and Dr. Judith Collison

Traditional classrooms employ a question- response- correction strategy, which strongly limits student interaction with the materials and with each other. Global Lab relies on a pedagogy that places students and their questions at the center of any investigation.  The kinds and purpose of teacher questioning needs a new focus and new methods of questioning that supports dialogue and group reflection rather than rapid affirmation of a correct answer and praise or feedback on a wrong one with encouragement to do something different.

As a leader of discussion in a Global Lab classroom, a teacher may attend introduce some new questioning techniques.   Four useful techniques are:  highlighting, echoing, cueing, and conceptual facilitating.

Highlighting: The purpose of highlighting question is to bring to the attention of the whole class a viewpoint, some work, or some suggestions by an individual or a group that may have gone un- noticed in the normal bustle of classroom give and take.  A simple highlighting question might take this form: "Mary, your group had some discussions about instruments and data collection.  Can you share your group's ideas with the class?"  Highlighting, as a managerial technique, slows down the dialogue to attend to key issues.  It also provides a way for the teacher to focus informally the discussion along more productive lines.  Mary's group may be more shy and tentative about speaking, though their ideas make more sense than other, more vocal ones.  While working with individual groups the teacher identifies key ideas or conflicts that need airing using the highlighting strategy.   Highlighting also strongly supports student ownership of the ideas.

Echoing:  The purpose of echoing is to articulate more clearly a student's or group's ideas for the class as whole.   With an echoing question a teacher repeats or paraphrases some phrases or a sentence from a student's question or comment with the purpose of clarifying use of language or concepts.  The echoing strategy functions as a kind of wait time so that an idea or concept is kept in the group's attention for a few seconds longer.  It lets individuals engage the idea at greater depth.  Echoing may also function to invite proper use of scientific terminology.  An example of echoing is: "George's group reported that the instrument measures temperature on contact with an object but not of the air.  He reports air temperature makes no difference."

Cueing:  Cueing questions invites students to articulate more clearly their assumptions as well as follow through and complete ideas that were partially verbalized. Cueing questions readily reveal potential misunderstandings and possibly student.  A sample cueing questions would be: "Tanisha states that she does not trust the last four reasons because . . . "  The teacher pauses for a few seconds to invite the student or the group to give more supporting evidence and clearly state their reasons.  Cueing values student input publicly.  There is no praise given during cueing or any of the other strategies. Value of the comment derives from student and group assent, not teacher praise.  Cueing also gives students ownership of the discussion as it centers on their ideas, not teacher explanations. Cueing brings to the surface hidden reasoning and associations.  A student may have mastered text definitions of concepts but not accurately integrated their meaning in reasoning or discourse.

Conceptual Facilitation:  Unlike the first three strategies, which focus only on student dialogue or verbal explanation, conceptual facilitation seeks to attend tosimilarities or potential differences between student thinking and explanations in texts or other sources.  With the conceptual facilitation technique, a teacher focuses attention on potential misunderstandings of student dialogue as well as clarifying possible alternative, but possibly still accurate paraphrases or interpretations of scientific language.  Examples of conceptual facilitation are:

"Lillian's group states..." 

"Alex's group reported..."

"The text book gives for a meaning..."  

"Are these the same statements?  Or are they different from each other or from the text?"

The use of these questioning strategies will have a profound impact on student dialogue.  Students in their groups will begin to move away from an evaluative "right/wrong/feedback" model to a style of discourse that supports reflection and valuing of clear statements and clear explanations.

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Assessment is provided in a variety of formats, including embedded assessment and questions using forms for submission of answers to a central web server. 

The curriculum is rich with opportunities for assessing student learning in both group activities and individual tasks. Assessment in Global Lab is ongoing, and is a natural part of the curriculum. Clearly, assessment needs to reflect, and to be guided by, the objectives of each unit. At the early stages of the curriculum, assessment should be focused on providing feedback about the individual strengths and weaknesses of your students, and on their facility in being a productive member of a group. This feedback should enable you to identify areas of greatest need, and to create assessment pieces that allow you to track students' progress in that area. For example, you may find that students need to improve in the Individual Attitude Objective "to be persistent and careful in their work." Requiring students to make repeated observations and to keep careful, accurate records of all these observations and to make regular journal entries about their findings will provide students the chance to acquire this Learning Objective, while at the same time giving you the chance to monitor their progress, and point to appropriate intervention on your part. There are two simple ways of generating a checklist of learning goals.

- One is based on the Learning Objectives stated at the beginning of the investigation.  Choose the most appropriate goals in each category and decide on ways to monitor each student's achievements.
- A second way is to create a checklist of all activities you assign to students, and to design an evaluation instrument for each. Keep in mind the following as you create the instruments and rubrics.

Readings.  Require a journal entry accompanying and following each reading. Students should paraphrase and explain each assigned reading, and summarize class discussion about it. This should be an ongoing requirement.

Questions. For essays, journal reflections, portfolio entries or discussion topic,s be sure to provide questions that promote thinking in depth. Too often students stay in the realm of description and do not attempt an explanation. Awareness of different types of questions can promote in- depth thinking. Ask for relevant information, connections, hypotheses and reasoning. Also ask students to speculate about what is not or can not yet be known.

Portfolios. Some items are natural parts of the students portfolios, for example, hello messages, interviews, reports, posters, and maps should be natural portfolio entries. Identify them as such, and discuss the qualities or criteria that make each piece outstanding. You should also learn to rely on colleagues for assessment ideas and rubrics. Teachers in Global Lab are a community of practitioners. The experience and insights of each can be a source of valuable information or reinforcement to the rest of the colleagues.

Group Assessments.

Because you want to focus on evaluating students' progress at working collaboratively, observing students as they do their regular class work is likely to be an effective method for assessing group work. You may want to create an observation checklist matched to your goals and expectations- to help you focus and track your observations. One method for evaluating the contribution of individual students to the group effort is suggested by Kathleen Hogan in Eco- Inquiry (Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt, 1994)- combine students' self- evaluations with your own observations. For students' self- evaluation of group work, Hogan recommends a system in which students rate first their contribution and then the group's contribution on several defined tasks, such as planning and organizing, sharing information and ideas, taking responsibility for getting the work done, etc. The rating system is three- point: 4+ (a lot), 4 (a fair amount), and 4- (not much). The advantage of having students perform self- evaluations of both individual and group tasks is that it brings to their attention- in a way your evaluation of them cannot- areas in which they need work.

Students will work in teams throughout the curriculum. Indeed, most of their Global Lab work will be done in collaborative situations. This poses some assessment challenges. Following are a few suggestions for assessing student teams as a whole and each individual student's contribution to the group. As with other sorts of assessment, evaluating group work begins with identifying your goals and expectations for student teams. You might, for example, hold a class discussion to agree rules for group behavior and then post the results for reference. Here is a sample list:

-  You explain your ideas.
- You listen to the ideas of others.
-  You help others.
-  You ask me for help when no one else in the group can help you.
-  You are responsible for your own learning.
-  You are responsible for your group's work.

On certain assignments, you can have each group member work on a specific part of the task. For example, in the Your Study Site in Time project in Unit I, students' research and reports can be divided according to particular media- books, Web, interviews, etc. Another strategy is to have each member of the group write an essay about the group's process in carrying out an investigation. You can structure the essays with questions designed to assess particular goals. In their journals, students should describe their own activities and findings and how these fit into the larger picture. This increases their awareness of the collaborative process, contextualizes their work, and reviews the materials. Finally, you can conduct interviews with individual students or pairs of students, or hold conferences with the whole group. Some teachers hold discussion groups and then take notes on the contributions made by each student.
Moon, Jean and Linda Schulman, Finding the Connections (Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1995, p. 83).

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- Designate a pair or several students as the class communicators. In particular, students with special interest or talent with regard to Web page construction can be given plenty of opportunity to use their talents and mentor other students.
- Rotate responsibility for Web and e-mail work. Students will develop Web pages throughout the curriculum to communicate their findings. Student teams can rotate responsibility for building these pages.
- Find outside help. Often there are students, teachers, or others within the school who have a talent in handling Internet technologies. Integrate their assistance on as regular a basis as possible.


No automatic translator does a terrific job. Sometimes paragraphs that are produced just degenerate into nonsense. But when we are lucky, an automatic translator can give us a hint of what the author intended.

A friend reports, "I used one Hungarian translator program. A friend asked me translate a recipe, but I was less than impressed with the quality, though I did have a hearty laugh. ("Beat eggs vigorously" was translated "Defeat the offsprings victoriously". Not quite!"

Often if the original language is unclear, a translator will have a harder time, of course.

Google seems to do a reasonable job with Russian, while Babelfish (Alta Vista) seems to manage Italian, though not consistently. As we test these out, let us know which ones are best suited to your own languages.

A good translator, of course, knows the popular and the literary world of each language, and takes great care with the meaning. They are, unfortunately, very expensive!


GL Activities (English) Index ll Russian/English GL Home

Phrases or the URL into Google translate