Our web service provider will be doing maintenance work starting at 9PM (PST) and Midnight (EST) on Saturday May 4th for one hour. NoodleTools will be down during this time period. Please plan accordingly.
Noodling The NoodleTools Blog
This week, we’ve expanded the NoodleTools collaborative environment to include Peer Review Mode for students.
In Peer Review Mode, a student can view a partner’s work and provide constructive feedback on citations or notecards. When students receive authentic feedback, it helps them revise and improve their work. Both the peer reviewer and the researcher benefit. We know that some NoodleTools teachers already successfully incorporate a peer review process into writing drafts. Peer Review Mode allows teachers to start or extend the peer review process into the stages of research.
Peer reviewing can improve writing and communication skills but novice peer-reviewers need support to begin. Here are some tips on starting a successful peer-reviewing loop:
Begin with a specific compliment
Students can learn from successful strategies that others are using. Always ask students to write comments about the strengths they see in a student’s work or state what they genuinely like about their peer’s research process so far.
Focus on one component
Don’t expect a student to examine a peer’s entire research project to date. Students will internalize and understand how to improve if they are asked to focus more deeply on a single component, then model and practice giving specific, positive feedback for a particular aspect such as:
- Revising word choice in the “Summary / Paraphrase”
- Adding tags to a notecard
- Brainstorming additional questions for “My Ideas”
- Wondering in order to identify a gap in a student’s information
- Suggesting a type of source that might provide a different perspective or new information
- Evaluating a specific aspect of credibility in a peer’s source list. For example, students might focus on currency, if relevant for the topic, assess an author’s expertise about this subject, or question the publisher’s purpose for providing information.
- Identifying why evidence for a claim in a notecard is weak and suggesting what might make it stronger
Provide structure and language
Provide sentence starters like:
- “This notecard made me wonder (about your topic)…”
- “When I looked at your List Analysis, I noticed…”
- “I see some of the author’s words in your summary. I suggest that you either put quotes around…or change it to say…”
- “I don’t understand (referring to a specific phrase or idea)…”
If you are using a rubric to assess student work already, focus peer review on one of the rubric criteria.
To get started, a student will select the link on their project dashboard to add a collaborator, then select the “Peer-reviewer” radio button as shown here:
We look forward to observing how NoodleTools facilitates your work with students — please let us know how you’re using Peer Review Mode!
NoodleTools will be offline for up to one hour tonight starting at about 9 PM PST (midnight EST). You can check our twitter feed and http://www.noodletools.info/ for progress updates.
As many of you are aware, the NoodleTools site has been down a few times over the last 3 days. As you can imagine, there is NEVER a good time for access issues, but I want to personally assure you that we are doing everything we can to prevent issues going forward. There has been a bit of a “perfect storm” of problems that have resulted in this week’s downtime:
- On Monday and Tuesday, our database went down due to a MySQL bug that the MySQL team is now analyzing. I will update this post as soon as we get more information from them.
- This morning at 5:20 AM PST, our service provider had a power outage that took NoodleTools down for about 20 minutes.
- Later this morning, a bad query locked the database for several minutes and caused further access issues. We’ve fixed that problem already and it won’t happen again.
I will update this post as I have additional information. We will likely need to do further server maintenance Friday and/or Saturday night this week, as we learn more from the MySQL folks.
We’ll be taking the site offline for approximately one hour Friday night starting at about 8 PM PST (11 PM EST). You can check our twitter feed and http://www.noodletools.info/ for progress updates.
Citing photos, images, and artwork can be tricky, so we thought we’d create a simple flowchart to guide you through the options in NoodleTools. Click the image to view a larger, printable version:
Note: To keep things simple for our younger scholars, some of these citation options are not available in Starter and Junior level projects. Remember that if you are working in a subscription account, you can always temporarily switch to Advanced, add a citation you need, then switch back to Starter or Junior to continue your work.
Thousands of subscribed schools are currently using NoodleTools’ class project management system. Drop boxes allow teachers (or groups of teachers doing a cross-disciplinary project) to:
- monitor student work in real time
- provide feedback directly on the students’ citations and notecards
- see how citations were created field by field, to better assess students’ understanding of their sources
- review the status of students’ to-do list items
- look at detailed 30-day activity logs
One of our goals this year is to give teachers the tools they need to make the process of reviewing students’ projects even more efficient. We’ve been listening to all of your suggestions! A few weeks ago, we added the ability to sort the “Projects Shared With Me” lists by other columns, like the date the project was last reviewed or the student’s username. This week, we introduced the Drop Box Navigator, which you’ll see at the top of the screen when you are reviewing a student’s shared project (on the Dashboard, Bibliography, and Notecards screens):
Clicking the “Drop Box Navigator” tab pulls down an overlay window that allows you to navigate easily between the projects that are shared with the drop box you have open.
The Navigator eliminates the need to click back to the Projects screen, find the next project you want to review, and then navigate back to the Bibliography or Notecards screen. You now have one-click access to go from the Bibliography of Student 1 to the Bibliography of Student 2. Since you can sort by the date the projects were last reviewed, you can easily determine which projects you still need to review.
Congratulations to NoodleTools subscriber Nina Levine, Library Media Specialist at Hendrick Hudson High School in New York. Nina has been recognized by The Center for Digital Education as one of the nation’s 50 Top Innovators in Education. Read about Nina and learn about her accomplishments in the 2012 Yearbook: Technology Innovation in Education (page 22).
We asked Nina how NoodleTools supports her vision of a 21st-century learning space:
“The children in our classrooms arrive at the earliest of ages knowing how to download music, text their friends, upload photos to their friends on Facebook, play multi-user and role-playing games. Less certain is their deftness in choosing and using technology purposefully or effectively for academic success. The adage of choosing the right tool for a job applies in school as well as for a carpenter. As a school librarian, I am trained and focused on process: reading and writing across the curriculum, searching for and evaluating information to support their studies, learning how to manage time and resources for projects, creating products to share information gleaned and synthesized. For 21st-century learners, gaining comfort and confidence in these skills is essential to success in school, in college at work… in life.”
“NoodleTools is a core component of my toolkit in working with students. Its design considers students’ natural and organic searching behaviors within a framework that guides them in developing the best of habits of mind and study. NoodleTools sets the focus firmly on students learning how to engage with ideas and information critically as a step towards expressing their own ideas authoritatively.”
Create an engaging research process in your classroom, and learn strategies for decreasing visual, print and Web 2.0 plagiarism.
NoodleTools Co-Founder Debbie Abilock is at the 21st Century Learning Conference in Hong Kong this week, speaking about the research behind plagiarism, student learning, and motivation. http://21clhk.org/friday-extended-sessions/
Decoders, fluent readers and finally expressive readers and writers – these stages apply to visual literacy as well as to reading print. In an image-drenched world, we consider the “rhetorical situation,” examine some signs and symbols, and see how point of view results from the interaction of the reader, the audience and the medium. We consider some emerging issues, such as visual plagiarism, and practice some reading and teaching strategies, such as determine authority and bias using photographs.
More on Teaching Visual Literacy (PDF)
As teachers in a Web 2.0 environment, we face the dilemma of teaching plagiarism in a contributory culture where the norms of rip, remix, create and share are at odds with copyright, intellectual property and academic ethics. Are you playing cat-and-mouse with student plagiarists? Do they resist taking notes (“I can remember this stuff word-for-word”), then print out everything – but still forget to attribute quotes or ideas? If students describe research as “smushing stuff” with a bibliography, why wouldn’t they take short cuts? They’ll tell you that Wikipedia is common knowledge and, besides, you just don’t attribute “mashups” anymore. We take a look at what the research says has the greatest impact on student learning, drives motivation, and builds reading comprehension. Then we examine some student work, and identify curricular designs and teaching strategies that will ring true to your students.
Schools and districts have been using Google Apps for Education accounts with NoodleTools successfully for many years. However, we’ve recently added a new administrative option that allows for the scenario where the Google domain for students is different from the domain used by staff. For example, a school might use “students.myappsdomain.edu” for students and “staff.myappsdomain.edu” for staff.
If your school or district has that type of configuration, log in to the NoodleTools administration area for your subscription, click “NoodleTools Customization,” and look for the new option, as shown here: