NEXT-TELL Components and Tools

Next-Tell is conceptually separted into six layers, which together reflect an integrated approach to ICT use in the classroom.

The conceptual layers of NEXT-TELL.

The main tools provided on these layers will be:

  1. A graphical  learning activity design and assessment method design tool (ECAAD level); learning activity workflows and embedded assessment workflows can be ‘exported’ to the
  2. Learning environment, which is made up of Moodle,  Google Docs, and OpenSim. (Other interfaces are possible, e.g., to LAMS, but will only be provided if the need arises.) A number of assessement methods are made available by the project, focussing on feedback on essay-type texts, conversational role plays in OpenSim, and student generated data visualisations (e.g., measurement data from chemistry experiments) constructed in Google Spreadsheets.
  3. Information necessary for conducting the embedded assessment as specified in (1) is automatically recorded in the students’ learning environment (Moodle etc.) [Learning Environment, Tracking layer]. Learning relevant products (essays, designs, multimedia objects) can be stored in an e-portfolio. Basic information regarding progress in learning activities is visualized.
  4. An comprehensive open learner model is provided for every student working in a Next-Tell enhanced learning environment.
  5. A number of tools to support teacher-led inquiry into students’ learning (TISL) will be made available, with the most important one a planning tool for analyzing learning data; the output of this tool is an data analysis workflow, documenting all the steps to be undertaken in the course of a innovation project.
  6. The planning of ICT integration in a school gets supported by a balanced score card inspired approach and a corresponding performance support tool.

The ECAAD methodology (ECAAD stands for Evidence-centred Activity and Assessment Design) comprises the planning of ICT-enhanced learning activity sequences, and the design of ICT-supported formative assessment methods that can be integrated into the learning activity sequences. Thus, ECAAD provides three elements for the other NEXT-TELL layers: (a) it provides a ‘script’ for the learning activities and the (mostly embedded) assessment processes that are to be realized in the Learning Environment, (b) it provides information on what aspects of students’ learning activities need to be tracked and which aspects of students’ work need to be stored in the e-portfolio, and (c) it provides information on how to transform data on students’ activities and products into information about students’ competencies that can be rendered in the Open Learner Model. ECAAD uses the Open Models4 approach (Karagiannis et al., 2008) as the methodological basis for modelling assessment processes and learning activities. Teachers get supported in realizing this methodology with two support tools: the Assessment Designer and the Learning Activity Planner.

The Learning Environment is in principle open to include a variety of learning applications. These can range from general applications such as Google Docs to domain specific appli ations, e.g. a modeling shell for science teaching. In order to be integrated into NEXT-TELL, these learning applications must be accessible by the Tracking Layer: minimally, they need to keep all relevant information on a web server; ideally, they are realized as a web service. As a general requirement, a learning application useful for NEXT-TELL must capture the learning activities on a level appropriate for providing to the student and teacher information that can help with the planning of next learning steps. NEXT-TELL will initially provide interfaces to Google Applications, to Moodle/Mahara, and to OpenSim.

The e-Portfolio &  Tracking layer….

Open Learner Model…