Implementing a Project
Sorting the List
Require team members to agree on the position of each item in the ordered list. This will promote discussion and negotiation about individual preferences.
Have student teams sort the list from different perspectives. For example, ask one team to sort the list the way their grandparents might while another sorts by how their future grandchildren will. In a literature activity, have student teams take on the role of different characters, then sort according to those characters' points of view.
Have different teams sort the list using different criteria. After they have sorted their list they can discuss why their rankings differ.
Using Comment Boxes
- Encourage students to use the comment boxes. Once they understand how to move an item vertically and to drop it into a new place, most students won't need further instruction in using this part of the tool. They will, however, need encouragement and instruction to use the comment box feature. To open a comment box, they double-click (or tap twice) on the item.
- When sorting items objectively, students can use the comment box to enter the "data" that justify their sorting. For example, if students are asked to sort the planets by distance from the sun, they put the distance in miles in the comment box.
- For sorting subjectively ranked items, students enter their "justification" for where they are placing an item. Remind students that their justifications should be based on the sorting criteria.
- Students can use the comment boxes to provide additional information about their sorting decision. For example, in sorting favorite pets, a student might comment: "I like dogs almost as much as cats, so cats should really be just a little higher."
- Give students a reason to compare their lists. Part of the power of the Visual Ranking Tool is that it allows students to make comparisons.
- Have two teams negotiate to get their lists more similar. You could include a requirement that the teams reach at least a "moderate" correlation between their lists.
- Ask teams to reflect on why they think their lists differ from the class average.
- Use the class average as the pooled wisdom of the group. This could lead to a discussion of why taking an average is or is not "fair."
- Have students identify the team whose list is most different (that is, the lowest correlation) from their own. Have the teams review each other's comments to determine whether they are using the same criteria to make decisions about rankings.
Using the Visual Ranking App
- Before students can use the Visual Ranking App, you will be required to set up a new project in the Teacher Workspace using the web-based Visual Ranking Tool.
- Set up team names and passwords in the Teacher Workspace, and then assign teams to the project.
- Student teams will see a Project Listing screen when they download and log in to the Visual Ranking App.
- When students save their rankings and comments within the app, the web-based Visual Ranking Tool is updated to reflect the current changes.
The correlation that is displayed in the Visual Ranking Tool, called the Spearman Correlation coefficient, is a measure that is reserved for looking at data sets that are arranged in rank order. You can turn the correlation indicator on or off on the project setup page.
Any two sets of data (in this case, two ordered lists) can be compared to see to what extent they are related. One measure of the relationship between two lists is the coefficient of correlation. The numerical value of the coefficient tells us to what degree we can predict the position of an item in list B, just by knowing its position in list A. The strength of this correlation varies from 0 (we can't tell at all) to 1 (we are certain). The correlation also has a sign to indicate whether the item in list B will be in a similar position to the item in list A (a positive correlation) or the opposite position (a negative correlation).