Our educational system have been focusing on the outcome. That’s why we are spending close to ⅓ of class time to standardized testing and measuring student performance using hardware clickers and mobile devices. However, in 21st century, it’s not enough to know the answers to the questions that teachers ask. Our economy are demanding more and more workers with creative skills, but traditional schooling are not keeping up with the need to be creative. We are seeing a dramatic decline in creativity among students from recent findings. We believed that learning how to make creative contributions should be as important as learning math or business.
With Unitclass, students who mastered a topic can create original, relevant, contextualized questions that would become valuable to future learners of the same topic. While students are engaged to spend more time and effort on school materials, they would inherently develop test taking strategies for standardized testing without using extra time in the classroom.
Unitclass integrates student question creation and peer feedback to provide instructors with a system that can use social motivation to encourage students to think deeply about the course material. The following reviews some of education research that justifies each part of the Unitclass system.
Student question creation activities have been tested in classes as young as 6th grade to university level courses (Yu et al, 2005; Fellenz, 2004; Denny et al, 2008). In contrast to answering multiple choice questions that mostly involves understanding and applying the material, creating a question is an activity that moves up Bloom’s taxonomy (Bloom, 1956) to the highest level of evaluating and creating. Moreover, the process gets the student to consider the learning goals relevant enough to warrant a question, as well as the common misconceptions to come up with good distractors. In all cases, student report improved learning and increased engagement with the course material. In terms of the quality of the questions, Denny et al. (2008) reported that the question quality is good enough that students subsequently voluntarily use the created question bank extensively for exam reviews.
Peer feedback, a form of cooperative learning, has been shown to be very beneficial for student learning (Graf and Bekele, 2006). Furthermore, peer feedback provides more meaningful individualize feedback from multiple sources without overburdening the instructor (Kappell et al., 2006). For the student providing the feedback Liu and Carless (2006) conclude that student also benefit from practicing critical reflection while providing the feedback. Therefore, if properly organized, peer feedback can provide great benefits to the feedback provider and the feedback recipient at minimal cost to the instructor.