WISE seems to have been developed as a means to promote lifelong learning, collaboration, and access to science and scientific thinking. A driving force behind it seems grounded in addressing student misunderstandings and how student’s misundertandings are static in nature: once the topic is covered in education, it is often not corrected nor covered again.
In order to develop a WISE project, an author determines the scope of the problem they want to present, along with how much detail and number of details that the project will entail. Then the activities are sequenced in a scaffolded manner, offering the students many options to predict and reflect on what they are studying. Affordances are supposedly provided for collaboration, although I am very unclear on how this is implemented.
Compared to the Jasper series, WISE seems to be very controlling. Although I prefer the Jasper concept, I can see that WISE might actually suit today’s learners better. I believe this is a matter of chance though, and not by design. The reason is that I think today’s youth are used to consuming media in discrete chuncks as opposed a more whole, perhaps more holistic, framework.
At first I anticipated that WISE would share many features or attributes with the Knowledge Forum. However, I very much doubt this after previewing several WISE projects. I simply do not see the interconnectiveness or collaboration in WISE. However, I really appreciate how reflective learning and scaffolding are afforded in WISE, and this should help with meaningful learning.
Overall I am rather sceptical of the claimed success of WISE (Gobert, Snyder, & Houghton, 2002; Linn, Clark, & Slotta, 2003). I didn’t see any comparative data on lessons given using WISE versus those given in a more traditional manner. As well, such research would be very difficult to conduct in an attempt to control for only the WISE variable. I can understand how WISE would be a great alternative to the more relaxed and variable nature of teacher-produced WebQuests, but it is difficult to say is WISE inherently offers a better experience. Perhaps it is the careful design of WISE project that garners success, and note WISE itself.
Gobert, J., Snyder, J., & Houghton, C. (2002). The influence of students’ understanding of models on model-based reasoning. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), New Orleans, Louisiana. Retrieved from http://mtv.concord.org/publications/epistimology_paper.pdf
Linn, M., Clark, D., & Slotta, J. (2003). Wise design for knowledge integration. Science Education, 87(4), 517–538.