Implementing SOLE for the First Time

Yesterday, it was my first day on a new Year 6 class. Thus, as is my usual modus operandi, I decided to try something new. I decided to combine two newly discovered learning tools; Google Advanced Power Search and SOLE.

Google Advanced Power Search is difficult to find for a reason; it’s built so that people can’t google answers within the site. Developed by Google, it’s a research course that helps participants think laterally when searching for information as well as check sources. Participants are provided with a video which asks them to research several questions that are not easily ‘googlable’.

I wanted to use this tool to enhance collaboration and help my students to think outside the box. You can find the example question, strategies for research, the example solution and further questions here.

The other learning tool that I was keen to try was SOLE. SOLE is an “unprotocol” developed by Sugatra Mitra from his ‘Hole in the Wall’ experiment. Basically, students get together in groups of 3 or 4 around one screen in order to research about a curious question. Each group then presents their findings to the whole group.

I decided to combine the two tools together. I grouped students randomly into groups of 4 ensuring a mix of gender. I assigned a group leader and encouraged the leader to assign roles to their members. I also told the students that they would be evaluating their group at the end.

I used the diagram below for timings which I found here.


Recommended SOLE Timings.
Recommended SOLE Timings.

The groups worked well together other than a few moments of off-task working… perhaps to be expected on the first day back from holidays. The hardest part was for the students to persevere through the task without calling upon me for assistance… and for me not to help them.

After groups presented their findings, I asked students to evaluate their group’s cooperative skills using cards that I downloaded fromĀ Plickers.

I now plan to conduct one of these style sessions each week. I’ll let you know the results.