Sunday, January 30, 2005

Online Jigsaw Class - an alternate use of Fablusi


A jigsaw classroom [is] a cooperative learning technique that reduces racial conflict among school children, promotes better learning, improves student motivation, and increases enjoyment of the learning experience. The jigsaw technique was first developed in the early 1970s by Elliot Aronson and his students at the University of Texas and the University of California. Since then, hundreds of schools have used the jigsaw classroom with great success.

For a detailed description of how it works, please refer to this overview. In acolla parlance, it is how it may work:

  • Learners are divided into groups with equal numbers and each group is assigned a set of tasks. The number of tasks is the same as the number of group numbers. This is called the home group.

  • Each member of the group is assigned a tasks.

  • All members from different groups assigned to the same task form a group, called the expert group.

  • Each home group has its own discussion forum.

  • Each expert group also has its own discussion forum.

  • The member of the home group learn to do all the tasks co-operatively. Help can be seek from the expert group by the "experts" in the home group.

  • Finally, all learners will take a test to assess their learning.

Fablusi, the online role play simulation platform which I developed, has a powerful "interactive Space" (iSpace) with a detailed "right" control system. Each iSpace can also have as many sub-spaces as you desire. The home groups can be modelled using an iSpace with sub-space for each group. The expert groups can be modelled using another iSpace with each topic as a sub-space. Finally, tasks can be set up at intermediate steps as well as the final steps. The assessment task can be linked to the Fablusi task structure as well.

Whether an asynchronous implementation of the Jigsaw technique will lose its affective benefit is a question yet to be investigated. However, the Jigsaw technique as used asynchronously is potentially a good method we should give it a try.


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