Tag Archives: innovative assessment

Pushing Back

18 May

wordle_may_25th

One of my appraisal goals this year deals with being more patient. I do not like to lose. I just do not like it. Moreover, every time I toss an idea out there that does not stick, I feel as if I have lost. That is something I am working on. This links nicely to my piece this week.

Conversation on the topic of innovation in education can be found at every turn. If you go to twitter it will not take you, long to find a connected educator. If you Google search it right now, you’ll get more than 350 million results. Articles abound (like this one from Edutopia) on the topic of innovation in education, and in seconds, anyone can find videos (like this that features Bill Gates) or Ian Jukes or this brilliant piece by Richard Wells.

There is something contagious and exciting about innovation. The best educators thrive in the search for serving students well, and that shows today more than ever.

Even with all these voices in the conversation promoting innovation, innovation is still a little intimidating for me.

It is not that I do not want to take part in it. I led the charge to change our bell schedule moving into this year to give our teachers opportunities to help students who were tough to catch up with before and after school (probably equal parts “I won’t” and “I can’t” make it in for help outside of school).

In many cases, it is our fear of failure or the unknown that limits our willingness to take those risky first steps toward meaningful change and innovation in our schools.

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Assessment

19 Apr

wordle_may_25th

This term we are looking at curriculum change. This week I attend a workshop run by NZAI. This got me thinking. More on this later. In in developing curricular units of study and the corresponding assessments while talking about the learning skills necessary for students to experience success. I’ve deliberately not used the label “21st Century” in front of “learning skills” as I think we all understand in 2018 that we are in the 21st century. I noted this week our teaching practices to support those skills also need to be different. How we use the evidence gathered from high-quality assessment is a key component to furthering and deepening the work.

Collaboration is an important skill. Collaboration skills may be the “black sheep” of the skills assessment world – until recently there has been very little attention paid to this competency, with very few assessments worth noting. With the rise in importance of collaborative work skills, especially for the productive development of creative work products by work teams, there has been an accompanying rise in attention paid to assessing levels of productive and creative collaboration.

It’s fair to say that we need to deepen the critical thinking skills of our students. It’s also important that we shift to conceptual understanding and away from understanding by an algorithm or rule. Both shifts will require more student agency, collaboration and conversations.

As an offshoot of the advances in technology, it’s been suggested that tamariki today communicate more. While that may be true, I think it’s equally true to claim they talk less. Teachers will need to provide the time to have students explain not only their answers but also their thinking as they developed those answers. Quiet time in class is important, as important for teachers having reflective practice.

Ultimately this will mean less teacher talk time (think of five minutes as your maximum before turning it over to your students) and more collaboration between students. This will require a shift.

Using the evidence gathered from assessments and using the assessments as formative, will result in a shift in the dialogue occurring in classrooms today. It will mean more of the “ working noise” that is evidenced in classrooms where students are highly engaged and deeply involved in their learning, and their teachers are interested in hearing about that learning. It will mean a shift to what was once valued and haled as the most productive classroom—the one where silence was golden and reigned supreme.

Trend Two: Digital Fluency

14 Mar

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Fluency” is broader than “literacy.” Being ‘digitally literate’ means acquiring the skills to make and create meaning, and select technologies to do so. … Digital fluency can also be considered as part of a broader set of competencies related to ’21st century’ learning.

Becoming digitally fluent is for people to be able to act as successful citizens in whatever contexts they choose for themselves. The recent report – Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection (OECD, 2015) – highlights the importance of bridging the digital divide, not leaving the development of digital fluency to chance.

Digital tools are transforming essential elements of the education space. Understanding how they are impacting teaching and learning and consideration of which tools are useful and how to best implement them is even more vital.

For Digital Fluency to truly flourish the following needs to grow.

Increased collaboration: Just as social media has given rise to new definitions of community, digital tools are transforming community and the give-and-take between students and teachers. Platforms for web-based discussion threads and creation of course or class wikis alter the types of student involvements in project-based and writing-specific assignments. A piece of student writing can become a diverse and substantive document when it is the basis for a step-by-step exchange of ideas and questions between teacher, peers, authors, and mentors. When digital tools are integrated in a pedagogically sound fashion they also promote and enhance other essential skills sets such as communication, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, digital literacy, entrepreneurship, global awareness, and digital responsibility/citizenship.

Innovate assessment: NZQA with a emphasis on NCEA has seem room for innovation, I question whether there should be more room for innovation in the primary area as primary teachers are hamstrung by National Standards.  As formats and contexts for assignments evolve, the methods of assessment have had to keep pace. The openness of the online environment and the integration of such things as game attributes, shape all kinds of assessment, especially formative assessment, which measures learning progress (not only endpoints in learning).

Enhanced Student Agency: The type of activities that stimulate real involvement “give pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking, or the intentional noting of connections; learning naturally results”.  The process of choice increases engagement, authenticity, and ultimately more value in the learning process. Unleash the power of digital tools and empower students to take ownership of their learning.

Lots to think about then.

 

 

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