Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Power of Real World Scenarios: Application and "Loop-Back"-Part II

In earlier descriptions of real world scenarios, especially their use in assessment, I suggested to you that starting from real world problems and then moving to a novel scenario to test the students' skills and understandings was the way to go. In the scenario I am going to describe to you, I am going to detail the power of the "loop-back" scenario. The described scenario below is meant  for an online course but could be adapted for a "brick and mortar" classroom. The approach here is starting with a collaboration on a real world problem in the future and then looping-back to real world issues that are current.

Planning a Moon Colony

Scenario Description to Students:

" As a team, you have been selected based upon your personal academic skills and aptitudes in the needed skill sets for this mission. Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic and Elon Musk of the Space X Corporation have joined forces to put together a mission that you and your team must complete within a given time frame. You will be constantly made aware of the time frame from the countdown digital clock which will appear on all of your screens. In the first phase of the mission, you have the following objectives which you must complete before we go onto to phase#2. Your teacher will act as the project director but it will be your collaborative skills that will determine the success or failure of this mission. Your work will take place in a 3d lab in which you take on avatar character profiles. You may create your own individual profiles by using You Tube or any other video presentation tool.

 The objectives for this mission are as follows:
  • establish a suitable site for the building of a moon colony. You must be able to defend your choice by explaining your position from a geophysical, mathematical, and planetary physics point of view. You must determine who among your group members is best suited to collect data, interpret the data and make a case from each perspective on the choice of site. Your teacher will introduce variables and direct you to potential sources for online professional mentors and online data sources. You must evaluate the usefulness and validity of the data.
  • Sir Richard Branson and Mr. Elon Musk have decided that the colony is to be composed of domed, self-contained components. You must research the value of domed structures on the moon and be able to defend your choice from a mathematical, technological and engineering perspective. Your teacher will during your collaboration, introduce "what if" style variables to test your adaptability to sudden change. As a collaborative team, your flexibility of reasoning will be one of the outcomes that will be assessed. You must be able to defend the suitability of using domed structures as part of colony infrastructure.
Shackleton Dome Concept--Pat Rawlings
  • you must establish crucial life-support systems in which a source of sustainable power, heat, light and a method of producing a breathable atmosphere within the domed structure must be identified. You must be able to defend your choices from a technological, physiological and physics perspective.
  • develop a medical module for ensuring the physical health of the colonists. Within this module, you will also carry out research involving the use of nanotechnology in medicine.
When you have collaboratively arrived at a solid plan for the establishment of this colony, you must present your plan to a review panel made up of professionals on the leading edge of their disciplines who will have the opportunity to question you about all aspects in regards to this plan. As a team, it is your task to defend your plan using solid , verifiable evidence. If the review panel finds your plan unacceptable, you will be directed back to the identified issues to collaboratively discuss the problems and come up with defensible alternatives.
If your plan is deemed to be a good plan, you will receive a news bulletin that your team is being re-routed to a current new scenario which is a "loop-back" scenario that will require everything that you have learned and the skills that you have developed in the moon colony scenario to apply to the loop-back scenario. Your moon colony development plan will be posted in some professional blogs and news items with all feedback being directed back to you, the authors of the plan.

Next.... the amazing loop back real world scenarios

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