The Lawrence Hall Of Science

Assessment Specialist II

August 2012 – April 2013

At least a dozen new people were hired to help The Lawrence Hall Of Science (LHS) at UC-Berkeley fulfill a design and development contract with Amplify Learning, which was then called Wireless Generation.  Essentially what we were doing was designing core science curricula for tablet-based middle school classroom education.

I was on a small team (I think it was four people?) that worked with curriculum designers to focus on how to effectively assess any intended learning, especially in a way that took advantage of any affordances provided by the newest networked digital tablet technologies.

As a part of this work, I wrote an extensive Learning Performances Design and Development Overview, which is here in PDF form.

Here’s a brief excerpt from the Overview:

As curriculum developers, instructional designers, and assessment developers, we’re working together to chart new territory in learning, teaching, and assessing science and literacy, using both existing and brand new practices and technologies. As we move into a new phase of development, in which we’ll be working in parallel on multiple aspects of multiple units at the same time, our best means of ensuring that we’re creating coherent units is by taking care to agree on and articulate the destination we hope to reach – our goals for students’ learning. Doing this allows us both to plan curriculum intended to support students in moving towards those goals, and to develop a clearer understanding of the landscape of understanding they cross in getting there.

Articulating goals in a way that provides clear and complete targets for both instruction and assessment starting at the outset can be really powerful in focusing a unit and supporting decision-making, but is tricky and iterative, and new to many practitioners. We’ve identified learning performances as a specific and useful tool for coming to agreement on our destination for curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Working to articulate our goals as learning performances provides us with both a process for that articulation, and a specific product to create. This document is an attempt to provide us all with a common understanding of what learning performances look like and how they are developed and revised over time.

As a companion document, I created the Learning Goals Driven Design Model: Development Phase.  This is available in PDF form as well.

Cognitive Labs

Between October 2012 and January 2013, my team conducted six Cognitive Lab sessions with grade-appropriate students (individually) in local classrooms and at our LHS facilities.

Per my suggestion, we used the Notability iOS app to conduct the labs and record audio and tablet interaction data from the sessions with each student.

I designed all the tablet based content used in conducting these six trials. It was mostly using Adobe Illustrator and then importing PDF sequences into Notability, if I remember correctly.

I then took the responsibility of writing up summary reports for the Cog Labs:

2012 10 08 Report

2012 10 26 Report

2012 11 09 + 12 01 Report

2013 01 09 Report

I worked with an assessment team colleague to design protocols to guide Cog Lab activities, and I created this Materials Generation Overview for my teammates to extend our work (also in PDF form).

Advanced Unobtrusive Assessment Concepts

Additionally, based on my expertise in multimedia design and authentic assessment task design, I took it upon myself to flesh out several conceptual designs (using Adobe Illustrator) that never made it past the drawing board.  These were attempts to build advanced interactivity for unobtrusive assessment into the tablet-based experience.  I think, perhaps at the time, the ideas might have been a bit TOO advanced for the LHS team, especially considering the available budget, workforce capabilities, and timeline.

Evo Bio Consultant

Collection of Evo Bio Consultant mockups in PDF format.

Genetic Builder

Collection of Genetic Builder mockups in PDF format.

Human Systems Explorer

I spent less time on this design, since it became clear that these concepts were not going to go any further.

The premise here is that the tablet could be an advanced version of the stacked cellophane transparencies often found in paper encyclopedias.  Each human system could be explored, with data-driven “deep dives” into various system components (organs, etc.).

Interactive Chart Examples

In an attempt to explore “graph sense” and other cognitive factors in data literacy, I began designing a series of interactive graphing templates that could potentially deliver robust data collection on students understanding of statistics, visualization, data, charts, and graphs through interaction with and manipulation of visualized data.

As you may have noticed, some of these designs were implemented as static concepts within the Cog Lab activities tested on students.

I’m happy to discuss the details of these designs as much as possible.

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