Paper No. 14
Presentation Time: 11:20 AM
POCKET PCS AND THE INDIVIDUAL WEB FOR REAL-TIME ASSESSMENT IN A MINERAL IDENTIFICATION EXERCISE
Traditional mineral identification exercises in introductory Geology courses have always been problematic. Students are overwhelmed with the number of tests, terms, and observations that they must perform to identify minerals for the first time. Students tend to lose sight of learning how to identify minerals and concentrate solely on getting the correct name for each specimen. We have used Pocket PCs in a web-based framework to re-emphasize student learning. After being introduced to physical tests, students interact with a personal website via a Pocket PC to enter their results to tentatively identify a series of specimens. The instructor is immediately aware of their individual progress and mineral identifications via a separate web page that monitors student activity. Issues that require additional instruction to the group as a whole can be identified as they occur and addressed immediately. Online assessment in real-time allows the instructor to modify the exercise as they proceed. The instructor then reconstitutes the students into different groups based upon their initial individual web responses and time to response, with the new groups instructed to identify a new set of specimens. Students are told the breakdown of individual responses from the initial series and that sample A, etc. on each of five tables are of the same mineral regardless of appearance. Each group then must resolve differences in identification based upon definitive physical tests. Analyzing the web-server logs allows evaluation of the effectiveness of each part of the exercise and tracking student performance both as individuals and within their groups. Comparisons with traditional mineral lab exercises indicate this method is more effective in achieving our learning outcomes and enhancing student enjoyment/participation as well.