Developing a virtual study environment with 8th grade students
Pupil age group
12 to 15 years
Language of the project
Summary (Max. 200 words in English, German, Spanish, French or Italian)
This project ran at Junior High in the 7th grade – science. In the framework of this project, both pupils and teachers developed an online study-unit aimed at self study, focused on an online environment. The units were developed on the subjects of civil studies and division of authorities (civil studies is a major and central subject in the educational line of thought of the school). The target audiences for the project are students at junior high and high school.
During the school year weekly meetings were kept, after school hours, where students who were part of the project, met with teachers that lead the process. In addition, a fruitful discussion was held almost daily at an online forum that was opened especially for this purpose. The students, guided by teachers, collected information, processed it, built a well-designed site, filmed and produced video-clips using a unique technique and created a movie telling the story about the division between authorities. All this happened while the students taught themselves the various techniques they used..
The virtual study environment includes five study units, each unit including the same ingredients: written information on the subject composed by pupils and teachers, explanation on the subject by use of a video-clip made by the pupils, interactive mission-pages aimed at the level and age of the students and a self-test. A special forum was created for each unit, which allows discussion and development of thought on actual problems that were presented there. The environment offers an answer to the different study styles of the students by offering visual, audio as well as textual explanations.
Summary of benefits and transferability (in English, German, Spanish, French or Italian)
When pupils experience the building of a learning environment for other children they implement transfer of learning, which is the capability to implement a principal, idea or strategy that were taught in a certain context into a different and new context thanks to the level of high involvement that was developed in the course of the work /study with the interactive information medium they worked with.
The study environment built by both pupils and students is used as an information and activity center as well as an environment for highly active communication: amongst pupils, amongst teachers, involvement of the hosts and other experts, all this by means of forums, e-mails, websites etc. This way the study becomes an exiting and different experience. This way of studying will help the pupils in the future, when their time comes to use the internet for their studies and other communication information. This way of study emphasizes the idea of higher mental processes, meaning that we encouraged the pupils by means of organized and consistent guidance to develop their skills in decision-making, problem solving, learning new subjects, study and more.
Using this tool we have allowed good and curious pupils to build part of the knowledge by themselves and thus reaching a deeper understanding, significant studying, implementation skills, transfer and dealing with solving new problems.