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What is TASC?
TASC means Thinking Actively in a Social Context and is a framework that helps develop thinking
and problem-solving skills. With TASC, learners can think through a problem to the best outcome –
and understand why it’s the best outcome.


TASC will guide you through the stages of thinking and problem-solving in an organised way. If you
have a complex or wide-ranging problem you want to tackle, it offers a means of organising and
synthesising a range of ideas.


The significant stages of the thinking process are described in the TASC framework. Use these stages
to classify your thoughts – this will help you understand the stages your brain moves through while
working on a problem.




At each stage of TASC, learners’ thinking and problem-solving skills are developed and fine-tuned, as
they are made aware of their own thinking process.


Remember you can move forwards and backwards through the TASC stages – changing and adding
to your ideas.
e-TASC in practice: Looking at artefacts

Background and objectives
Here is an example of a lesson taught using the e-TASC tool and method. It was intended to be part of
a series of 30–40 minute sessions for gifted and talented Key Stage 2 students, but can be adapted to
many different age groups and timescales.


During the lesson students looked at recent historical artefacts. This fits directly within the History
curriculum (in particular, Britain since 1940), but can also stimulate work in many other subject areas.


Students were presented with pictures and other stimulus material and throughout the lesson
generated creative ideas that they saved to the e-TASC tool.



    Objectives
    ♦   To give students skills to think about artefacts in an historical context.
    ♦   To give students the opportunity and framework for artefact-based research.
    ♦   To allow students to create a portfolio of research, stored online.
    ♦   To enable students to establish and follow a line of enquiry, identifying and using relevant
        information.



Preparation
The teacher had selected a variety of artefacts dating from the Victorian era up to about ten years ago.
These were objects the students would not immediately be able to identify.


The teacher uploaded images of the artefacts to a new e-TASC project so that the students could link
them to other items (see Uploading images in Introduction to e-TASC page 16 for more details).




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The teacher also entered the following questions into the e-TASC (see Uploading questions or text in
Introduction to e-TASC page 13 for more details):
    ♦   What are the artefacts for?
    ♦   Who made them?
    ♦   What are they made of?



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    ♦   What do they remind you of?




The teacher inserted links to the images based upon the students’ ability to use the internet for
research (if needing a lot of guidance, these would lead to sites full of factual evidence). These
students were quite independent, so the links led to sites to challenge their investigative skills.




Having prepared the material, the teacher used ‘Save as template’ to make it available to the students.
Using the Student Registration Tool the teacher could then open an account for each of them.
Students could now work on their own version of the template and store this online for the teacher to
view (students could also access their work at home if online there). (See Help set up students and
classes in Introduction to e-TASC page Error! Bookmark not defined. for information on using the
Student Registration Tool)




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Session 1: Gather, organise and identify
Students looked at the artefacts in the classroom and gathered/organised their thoughts using the e-
TASC tool. The teacher used an interactive whiteboard to show students her own e-TASC project on
historical objects.


Students had already logged into the e-TASC tool and opened the ‘Looking at Artefacts’ project. The
teacher then showed the artefacts to the students and invited them to consider the stimulus questions.
The students typed their responses into ‘Text’ within the Gather/Organise section (see Help set up
students and classes in Introduction to e-TASC page Error! Bookmark not defined. for how students
can do this). Students linked this text to the questions and/or the images of the artefacts. This enabled
them to explicitly connect their thoughts, an important part of the TASC process (see Making links
between items in Introduction to e-TASC page 23 for more details ).




Students found other sites relevant to the artefacts and uploaded these into ‘Links’ within the
Gather/Organise section. They also created more questions in ‘Text’ and connected these to particular
artefacts.




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    So far the students have:
    ♦   examined the artefacts and thought about the ‘meaning’ (purpose, historical context, features)
        of each
    ♦   recorded all they currently know about the artefacts in the e-TASC tool
    ♦   noted the different techniques used to recover or generate information about the artefacts.


The teacher guided the students to copy images from Gather/Organise into Identify. Each student now
had two copies of the images and a fresh screen (Identify) to work in.


Students were asked to identify what further research and creative work they could do relating to the
artefacts. The purpose was to get them to focus on a question or problem they needed to find an
answer to.




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In the final part of the session students considered what more they would like to learn about the
artefacts:


    ♦   I want to find out more about the second artefact, what it was used for and who used it.
    ♦   I want to find out what the third artefact is, and then make a modern version of it.
    ♦   I want to think about how the artefacts would have been advertised.
    ♦   I want to find out what connects these artefacts and the tools we now use in the kitchen.


Students recorded these within ‘Text’ in their individual projects and saved them for the next session.
The teacher encouraged them to think of more than one idea and to order them using ‘Rate’ (see
Rating items in Introduction to e-TASC page 21 for more details). Students also made links to the
images of the artefacts.



Session 2: Generate, Decide and Implement (part one), 30 – 40 minutes
Before the second session the teacher looked at her students’ projects to find out what questions they
were pursuing. Students then decided how they would research their key question and present their
findings.


Students now moved into the Generate section of their projects where the teacher told them they
would create a piece of work based on one or all of the artefacts. She suggested:


    ♦   You could make a poster that explains more about the artefact/s to someone younger.
    ♦   You could write an essay about one or all of the artefacts.
    ♦   You could write a story showing how each of the artefacts would have been used.
    ♦   You could record interviews with people talking about their memories of the artefacts.




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The teacher facilitated a discussion among the students to generate more ideas. Students were
encouraged to record these as ‘Text’ within the Generate section and then to copy them into Decide.
They could then order their ideas using the ‘Rate’ tool.




Here are some of the students’ ideas with their ratings of them:
    ♦   I’ll record a sound file of my parents talking about one of the artefacts and turn it into a
        presentation (            ).
    ♦   I’ll create a poster to advertise one of the artefacts, as if in its own time (    ).
    ♦   I’ll re-design one of the artefacts so that it looks modern and can be used (           ).
    ♦   I’ll make a video of someone in my family using one of the artefacts – once I have discovered
        how it works! (     )



    So far students have learned:
    ♦   to go through a logical process to what they decide is a valuable outcome
    ♦   to think creatively about ways to use an artefact as stimulus for further exploration
    ♦   to combine growing knowledge with their own strengths to enhance the outcome.


All students copied the image of the artefact(s) they were looking at into Implement. Those who had
chosen an outcome they could produce via a computer and/or on paper began work at once.


Students saved and closed their projects so the teacher could view their work via the Student
Management Tool.




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Session 3: Implement (part two) and Evaluate (30 – 40 mins)
Between sessions, those students who could worked at home. In this session students finished their
creative work and uploaded it to ‘Audio’, ‘Video’, ‘Text’ or ‘Images’.




Before this session, the teacher had added some questions to Evaluate:
    ♦   Did I achieve what I set out to do?
    ♦   Did I use the best methods?
    ♦   Did I use my strongest skills or develop new ones?
    ♦   Did I find answers to all my important questions (those I’d rated highly)?




Students entered their answers to these questions into ‘Text’ within Evaluate. They then chose key
items from Implement and copied these across to Communicate. From here they could present them
to the whole class using an interactive whiteboard.




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    So far students have learned:
    ♦   to record all aspects of their idea
    ♦   to evaluate how effective their earlier choices were
    ♦   to decide if they need more material before presenting their outcomes.



Session 4: Communicate and Learn from Experience
In this final session, students presented all the content copied into Communicate – images, text, links,
audio and video – to other students via an interactive whiteboard.




Afterwards, students considered what they had learned both from the presentations and from the
TASC process itself. These findings were typed into the Learn from Experience section.



    Overall, students had learned:
    ♦   to record their thinking processes so others could share them
    ♦   to review previous stages and critically examine earlier decisions
    ♦   about the historical and social context of an artefact, learning they can extend to other objects
        and subject areas.



Assessing a TASC lesson

Teacher assessment
If you have a complex problem to solve, TASC will take you through clear and logical stages so you
can be confident you’ve reached a sound solution. Some questions are straightforward – ‘Who is the
Prime Minister?’ Others are much more complex – ‘Is it possible to live on Mars?’ These more
complex questions ask you to explore different kinds of knowledge to find convincing answers.


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When assessing your learners’ work and progress for a series of TASC lessons, you can use the
criteria below.


Use the criteria in an ongoing way rather than only at the end of the whole process. You might find it
helpful to make a grid with each of the criteria down one side and the users’ names across the top.
You’ll then have a map of how your learners’ thinking skills are developing. Here are particular areas
to assess in each section of TASC:
    ♦   Does the learner have… ?
    ♦   Is the learner able to… ?
    ♦   Is there evidence of… ?



    Gather and Organise:
    ♦   Wide knowledge of topic.
    ♦   Recall of extended information.
    ♦   Understanding of advanced concepts.
    ♦   Can organise knowledge in complex groups.



    Identify:
    ♦   Full understanding of tasks set.
    ♦   Able to articulate task clearly.
    ♦   Able to work to complex objectives.
    ♦   Able to see what is missing.



    Generate:
    ♦   Suggest alternative methods.
    ♦   Collect a variety of evidence.
    ♦   See different perspectives.
    ♦   Find a new way.



    Decide:
    ♦   See the consequences.
    ♦   Use evidence effectively.
    ♦   Select key ideas.
    ♦   Plan efficiently.




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    Implement:
    ♦   Carry through a plan.
    ♦   Monitor progress.
    ♦   Change direction.
    ♦   See the next steps.



    Evaluate:
    ♦   Evaluate against criteria.
    ♦   See ways to improve.
    ♦   Carry out improvements.
    ♦   Reflect on the task.



    Communicate:
    ♦   Explain to others.
    ♦   Share what is known.
    ♦   Select relevant information.
    ♦   Present in different modes.



    Learn from experience:
    ♦   Reflect on performance.
    ♦   Transfer skills.
    ♦   Retain new knowledge.
    ♦   Articulate new skills.



Learners’ self-assessment
The TASC method promotes learners’ own understanding and assessment of their progress. You can
download and print the Assessing my project page for your learners to assess skills they have used
and improved during a series of TASC lessons.


Self-assessment could be continuous, scheduled at the end of each session or be done at the very
end of a TASC lesson.




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Getting started
The e-TASC tool is designed to help you deliver lessons based on the TASC method.


You can:
    ♦   collect stimulus material within each of the eight parts of the wheel
    ♦   share stimulus material via templates
    ♦   deliver materials to your learners to work on individually
    ♦   save your learners’ work to assess online
    ♦   have your most able learners work independently if they have internet access at home.


To get started you will need to create a username and password. If you want your users to log in and
work on your templates, you must set them up with their own accounts too.



Uploading content
To share your lesson using the e-TASC tool you will need to store some content in your template.
Simply upload images, audio, video or text from your computer into one of the sections.
First you need to have content on your computer. When you have your project opened in the e-TASC
tool, simply choose which type of content you want to upload.



Uploading questions or text
    ♦   Click the ‘Add’ button under ‘Questions’ or ‘Text’.




    ♦   Key the title and content into the text boxes (or right click in the boxes to paste text from the
        clipboard).




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    ♦   Click ‘Add +’ and your question or text will be saved. The next time you click on your question,
        it will appear in the preview screen on the right-hand side.




Uploading links
    ♦   First click ‘Add’ under the ‘Links’ heading.




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    ♦   Next, insert a title for your link and the address of the page you are linking to.




    ♦   Click ‘Add +’ to save your link. Next time you click on your link, it will be displayed in the
        preview screen, and you can launch the linked page in a new window.




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Uploading images
    ♦   Click on ‘Add’ under the ‘Images’ heading.




    ♦   Next, give your image a title.




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    ♦   Click ‘Browse’ on the right to find the image file you are going to upload. Image types allowed
        are .jpg, .jpeg, .gif and .png.
    ♦   Use the ‘Select file to upload’ dialogue box to find your file, highlight it then click ‘Open’.




    ♦   If your file has uploaded successfully you will see a preview of it.




Once your file is uploaded click ‘Add+’ to store it on the e-TASC server, ready to share with others. To
see an image file, click on its title and it will appear in the preview window on the right.




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In the final part of the session students considered what more they would like to learn about the
artefacts:



Uploading audio or video
    ♦   Click ‘Add’ under the ‘Audio’ or ‘Video’ heading.




    ♦   Next, give your audio or video clip a title.




    ♦   Click on ‘Browse’ on the right to find the audio file you want to upload. For audio, the best
        format is MP3, as this can be played easily in the TASC site. For other kinds of files you will


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        need the right player on your computer. For video, the best format is .avi, or .mov as most
        computers can play these.
    ♦   Use the ‘Select file to upload’ dialogue box to find your file, then click ‘Open’.




    ♦   It may take a little time for your file to upload. You can watch its progress on the e-TASC tool.




    ♦   Once your file is uploaded click ‘Add+’ to store it on the e-TASC server, ready to share with
        others. To hear an audio file or see a video file you have uploaded, click on its title and
        instructions on how to play will appear in the preview window on the right. If you have
        uploaded an MP3 audio file, you will see this picture, which means you can play it within the e-
        TASC tool.




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    ♦     If you have uploaded a video file or another kind of audio file, you will see instructions in the
          preview window to click and launch the player for the type of file you have uploaded.


You can upload content in any section of the TASC wheel. Some might belong in Gather and
Organise other in Evaluate. It’s up to you!



Making a template
When you have all your content uploaded and are ready to share it with learners, you will need to
make a template.


You can then send a copy of your project out to each learner and they can add or edit content in their
own version (just like creating a template for a worksheet then making photocopies for all learners).


To make your completed lesson into a template, simply use ‘Save as template’ at the top of the
screen.




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    ♦   Choose a name for your template and click ‘Save’.




    ♦   The project will then be added to your templates for you to share with learners.
    ♦   See below for how to give users e-TASC accounts so they can use your template to create
        their own projects.



Rating items
To remind learners that some content is particularly important, you can give it a visual rating. Rating
works the same for all content, whether text, images, audio or video.


To rate an item, click on the ‘edit’ button.




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Move your mouse over the five rating stars. Select the number of stars you want, then click the ‘Edit+’
button to save and show your rating on screen.




Moving or copying an item
When you upload an item it will appear in the section you uploaded it to (e.g. Gather/Organise). But
you’ll probably find you want some of the same items in another section such as Identify.


You can either move an item or make an extra copy of it in another part of the wheel.


To copy an item, click on the ‘Move/copy’ button.




Select which part of the wheel you would like to copy the item to.


Or you can select ‘Move’. This will delete the item in its current location and put a copy in the new
section you select.




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You can move objects between sections as many times as you like: you can have an item in each part
of the wheel if you wish.



Making links between items
If you want to show that two items of content are related you can make a link between them. Click on
the small handle on the edge of the item...




...then drag the cursor to the item you want to link to.




Finally, click to make the link. Once the link is made, you can move items around and they will always
show it. If you want to remove a link, hover over the linking line and click to delete it.




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Making notes
If you want to make notes that relate to the whole project (rather than texts which just relate to one
segment of the wheel), use the Project Notes window on the right of the screen. Make notes here that
you want available wherever you are.


To add a note, click ‘Add+’ in the Project Notes window.




Type in a title and the text you want.




Click ‘Add+’ to put text into the Project Notes window for use across the project.




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Help set up students and classes
To share your work with your students use the User Management Tool.


First, set up a class. If you teach more than one class, set them up separately.


Once you have created your first class, it appears on the menu on the left. Click on the class name (or
on ‘View’) to start adding your students.


When you click through to your class, you can start adding students one by one...


To add students click ‘Add new students to this class’.


Once you have added their details, click ‘Create student’.


The student is added below, and you can now create another student. Each time you create a student,
a new account in the e-TASC tool is set up. Once you have added all your students, click ‘Back’ to
return to the main page for your class.




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When you have added all the students you want to work with your templates, return to the main
screen by clicking on ‘Back’.


Finally, you will need the usernames and passwords for each of your students. Click on ‘View full
details of all students’ to see the full list of students able to log into the e-TASC tool. You can pass on
the usernames and passwords to your students when you are ready for them to access your template.
Once they have seen your template they will be able to create their own version of it (they won’t be
able to change the original).




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