Sunday, November 6, 2011

811 Evaluation of Learning Material in MERLOT

For my MERLOT evaluation, I chose counting coins (StAIR) lesson by Sarah Boutwell . The MERLOT description stated:
"This Stand Alone Informational Resource was created for first grade students in the area of math. More specifically, students will practice identifying and adding coins (penny, nickel, dime, and quarter)... The beginning of the resource provides a basic overview of coins, assuming that a previous lesson has been taught on coins and their values." 
Quality of Content 
This lesson was very well organized and the content was appropriate for the grade level. The lesson presented the material in an engaging way. All content information was correct. Coins were represented by graphics which resembled actual coins. The graphic for coins and coin amounts were both presented giving the students additional reinforcement if they had mastered one way of understanding coins and not the other.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching-Learning Tool
This StAIR lesson provided a variety of learning activities. It incorporated reviewing, practicing, and applying the knowledge of coins presented in the lesson. The lesson began by introducing the students to the "green rectangle" which was the "answer" button. The next few slides detailed the materials the students would need as well as provided an overview of the 4 basic coins. After the coin overview, the lesson took the students through several activities where students were expected to count/add various sets of coins. When an incorrect answer was chosen, the students were directed to a teaching/review slide. When the answer was correct, the students were rewarded with applause. At the conclusion of the lesson, the students are directed to a website to continue to reinforce the coin counting skills. This website takes the lesson a step further incorporating the concept of purchasing items and the abstractness of the coins which are more cartoon looking than the coins from the presentation. The use of the website helped bridge the gap between drill and practice to application. Once the students complete the activities, the activities would transfer into the task of counting coins in the school store.

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to reinforce skills and allow the students to work at his/her own pace. This lesson could be easily integrated into any early elementary classroom studying money. This lesson would not be effective as an introductory or teaching lesson on coins as the tasks are more in line with students who have developed some coins identification and coin counting skills. The learning objects for this lesson were not clearly stated for the students which could make it difficult for the students to understand what they are expected to do within the lesson.

Ease of Use 
The visual setup of the lesson was appropriate for the grade level. Buttons and text were placed in consistent spots. The use of the large, green triangle on the second slide was a great way to introduce the "answer" or "go" button to this age group. The user was also given ample feedback on whether the answer was correct or incorrect; however, I thought the incorrect response slide was presented with too much text. I could easily see a student not taking the time to read/hear what is said. I was able to navigate and answer all the questions without any hang-ups. There were two areas that did NOT work for me. I was unable to get the text read to me when I pressed the speaker icon on the pages. This was the case for all the pages that gave the options of having the text read to the user. Secondly, I was not able to have the song play from slide 26. I am unsure of how to resolve these technical difficulties on the user's end.
With some modifications, this lesson would be a perfect addition to a math lesson on counting coins. It offers the review and practice components as well as the extension activities of the website and school store making it meaningful for the students.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this thorough review of the material. It sounds like overall the resource would be valuable for students who need practice with coin identification and counting concepts, but has a few technical glitches.