Cycles of Action and Data Collection

This is a six week project, in which the pupils work across each country and meet each week to share what they have found out about their local environmental issue. This data can be gathered via secondary sources (of environmental reports/news items) and primary data gathered through local experts/community members - by asking what the ‘threats and challenges’ are to the local environment. Weekly progress is shared, on the data gathered and how this is to be presented in the final report/presentation - drafts of writing and visual graphics are shown for feedback and suggestions for improvement (peer-to-peer feedback) and also shared with the teachers to give formative feedback to the groups.

Technology enabled data collection for the project - for the UK/Botswana pupils, they can each week, be regularly: 

  • gathering first person narrative accounts of living in the local natural environment of the Okavango delta and their experiences of tourist plastic pollution and understanding the impacts at a local level 
  • same for pupils in England, who discovered not only the effects of plastic pollution on local wildlife (e.g. swans made nests from plastic waste) but also the damage from regional flooding in the winter, as people who lived near the river had their homes flooded. 

The teacher is collecting evidence each week of how the pupils are using the teams/or moodle software (online platform) and exploring which functions are being exploited/used the most productively by each group. For example, do some groups prefer to talk using the ‘meetings’ function, with their cameras and mics on, or do some prefer to use the ‘chat’ facility more; do they work with links to the ‘files’ storage, to record their data. 

At the end of the project, once the pupils have given their presentation and submitted their slides and final report, the teacher can undertake a summative assessment (the teacher evaluating the pupils learning outcomes with respect to curriculum content - notably understanding environmental threats and climate change).

The teacher also wants to undertake research on examining the pupils' learning  experiences and engagement with the technology - did this pedagogical approach of using teams/or moodle for collaboration help the children to be more engaged and motivated, than book-based work on the same subject. Shima wrote a short questionnaire asking the children about each function of the technology and how each aided learning. Shima wrote a set of questions using an online survey (eg survey monkey, the free version, which allows for up to ten questions to be asked. Or, alternatively she then decided to use google forms,  because it had more functionality).

This form of exploratory research or evaluation can be called Action Research and the teacher undertook one cycle, whereby she evaluated it after the six week project finished.