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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Peer review and the ice cream effect!



We had a great group of peer reviewers for the Horizon Project including Chrissy (Teaching Sagitarian) from New Zealand. It was great to have a global audience (and honestly, sometimes students listen better to their peers than they do to adults,) but as I've talked to both her and Graham in Australia, I have to wonder about the influence of peer review on the class that is reviewing.

How about the excitement that it brings?

I think that there is a power in peer review and although a middle school student may not have the capability or skill set to produce at the level of Horizon Project students who participated, they definitely have the ability to provide feedback and learn from what they are reading.

In essence, the students of Horizon created a textbook on the future that middle schoolers got very excited about.

What about this as a model for teaching and restructuring what we do in the future. This is not only peer review but peer modeling because it is coming from older, more mature students.

Chrissy posted today about Inquiry Learning, and as she did so, she had a comment at the end of this fascinating post:

We’re keen on looking at various inventions such as medical equipment, communication devices, games, visual display, etc, and the impact of technology on our lifestyle. Can you tell that my students have been heavily influenced by being involved in the Horizon Project?


I have to wonder if peer review has what I call the "ice cream effect" on the reviewers.

The ice cream effect happens when we see another person eat a delicious ice cream -- eventually our mouth is watering and we want an ice cream too!

Does witnessing such interaction with students around the world make these middle schoolers salivate for such an experience themselves?

Does it show them what they can be and how they can take it further?


Do they tell themselves, "I can do that, and better."

(Anyone want to research this with the next project?)

I think that effective peer review at all levels is something that seems to be happening in isolation but could do a lot to connect and excite students. Chrissy is on to something with her observations ... now, to help her with a title for her unit.

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Sources:
She eats Ice Cream in Harajuku - http://www.flickr.com/photos/wili/263951188/
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