Archive for the ‘*Research’ Category

New research to bring assessment into digital age

However, the challenge of designing quality assessment in a digital age can result in uncertainty around processes, practices, quality assurance, and initial and ongoing training for assessors and auditors….

…The research is based on the premise that quality online assessment requires practical information and guidelines around:

  • creating better methods to ensure e-assessment yields evidence that is relevant, valid and authentic
  • expanding learning and assessment options to include self assessment, peer assessment and group/collaborative assessment
  • monitoring and measuring online interactions and contributions between learners and between learners and teachers
  • supporting learners in gathering evidence that demonstrates authentic learner performance on tasks.
New research to bring assessment into digital age | Australian Flexible Learning Framework

 

It’s great that research like this at a national level is being undertaken. It will not only promote quality assured assessment methods, but will also acknowledge the great work already undertaken by teachers and institutes.

To me, the biggest growth areas in online assessment is Skills Recognition, workplace assessment and assessment supported by handheld and ‘bodily’ devices. The research premise outlined in the dot points above seem common sense. Authentic assessment may best be determined by the record of the learner ‘being present’ – one scenario would be that of wearable recording devices to demonstrate the skill being assessed and the learner performing a task in situ.

Extending this scenario whereby such recordings are uploaded or streamed to an e-portfolio make validation and evidence-building a more fluid process. In addition, such recording become reusable resources, adding media elements to online courses, for example.

The second dot point is perhaps the real crux; it is in the approach and design of the assessment that best validates the learning and ensures a transformation has occurred (if you follow Mezirow’s theory of transformative learning (1998), for example). Learning occurs when there is a fundamental change in the learner’s thinking, theoretical standpoint, value-judgement or commitment to a way of acting, living, or working. What is central to Mezirow’s theory is experience, critical reflection and rational discourse [1998, online, para 3].

At a practical level, Mezirow’s theory might look like this:

Learners, first off, aren’t sure what they need to do, so they look at what others do and then practice. They get things wrong, get frustrated (Mezirow’s “disorienting dilemma”), find out a bit, then practice again. As their confidence grows along with their understanding, they become more skilled in their practice, enough then to confidently demonstrate their skills to one who is seen as an ‘expert’ in that field. They validate the learner’s skill by observing, asking questions to enable the learner to voice their understanding, and finally (all gone well) give the learner a positive review.

Framework logo and e-learning innovations ACT logo

CIT, through its 2009 Innovation Projects has done some work on online assessment for Recognition. The plan is to extend these into mainstream CIT as well as build the processes further in the Events Management and Sports Management and volunteering areas.

Stay tuned as these projects are rolled out in 2010!

Reference:
Imel, S. 1998, Transformative Learning in Adulthood. ERIC Digest No. 200.

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I love Google Books!

I’ve been pretty tied up with my two Masters subjects this semester and on reflection one would have been more than enough! However, the end is in sight and I’ve learned a greaat deal along the way – mostly about myself (as seems to be the case) as well as having lots of support in many forms, online and physically speaking.

Google Books

One such help has been access to Google Books. What a fabulous service! I’ve always dipped into Google Books on occassions and then have used either my institute’s library or online databases to grab the actual book or journal article if available. However, as I’ve been studying my Masters by distance (supplemented with online resources and interactions), I’ve had less than ideal access to key texts in many cases. Google books has come to my rescue! I have built up a library of books I’ve been reading over the last few months and have added labels/tags for quick searching when I’ve needed to return to a book or theme, such as ‘critical pedagogy’. The extension tools also look worthwhile; adding your booklist or library to your blog or sharing via an RSS feed, or even posting a review if you feel the urge.

In addition to Google Books, I’ve also been keeping a collection of sites, videos and articles via my delicious account. Here’s an example for my subject, Education for Social Change. Both services have been invaluable not only in collecting information, but in organising and collating information in meaningful ways, through tagging, adding notes (often I include an abstract from the site or article) and combining tags to drill down into the information I’ve collected over time. I use keyword tags together with time/date type of tags to help narrow down information (very helpful as I’ve managed to stretch my Masters out over 3 years!).

Erich Fromm (Wikipedia)
My next and final essay is for the subject, Education for Social Change. I’d like to explore the idea that the rise of social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and other sites has inadvertantly served to further embed us as ‘automaton conformists’ (Erich Fromm). I could look at Chomsky and the role of mass media, as sites like these are often owned by large corporations in many cases, but I’m more curious to explore Fromm’s notion of ‘fear of freedom’ and a phrase my lecturer, Rick, mentioned on a recent discussion thread, that is, ‘group think’. It also calls for a rethink in education about digital literacy and developing the digital citizen for a connected future.

This is close to my heart, with regards to my work, where we often promote social networking tools like blogs and wikis to ‘open up’ a teacher’s approach to teaching, but often we see there is limited uptake, especially by students, and various colleagues around the country seem to be seeing similar results – there are not many exceptions to the rule, highlighting the challenges in seeing Web2.0 as a ‘freeing’ view of the Web, for the people and by the people, and as a legitimate learning medium.

More soon…

bell hooks: politics of difference through popular culture

bells hooks: cultural criticism and transformation

6-minute talk by hooks on the accessibility of popular culture items such as films, to engage people in critical thinking about society and difference.

I’ve been reading a bit of hooks’s work, particularly ‘Teaching to Transgress‘ (1994), as part of my MEd studies this semester, as we undertake an exercise in defining, describing, critiquing and writing about our own educational philosophical stance.

hooks didn’t see herself as a teacher, more a writer – but ended up a teacher writing about her teaching experiences and the (dis)engagement with learning along the way. She refers to Freire as an influence as well as feminist theorists, as well as her own learning experiences, as driving the development of her educational philosophy.

Paulo Freire

Image: Freire on Infed

She writes so that her thoughts are accessible to a continuum of readers or audiences. And, she sees learning as an expression of excitement and engagement for its sheer pleasure! A refreshing view these days. It draws suspicion when one shows an eagerness to learn – I’d add that it also exposes the teacher/facilitator to also rise to the challenge in (enthusiastically) supporting that eager learning (–you expect me to develop curricula on a shrinking resource base and low salary AND you want me to enjoy it too?)! “To enter classroom settings in colleges and universities with the will to share the desire to encourage excitement, was to transgress” (hooks 1994: 7, my emphasis).

hooks also notes the learning ‘struggle’ as a real and necessary part of learning, yet in the context of minority groups, means a highly stressful learning setting – and yet can still be exciting, if the will to learn is strong. As with Freire, hooks sees education as the practice of freedom.

To ask the ‘why’ questions can be confronting and at times show-stopping. How do you encourage your students to ask why?

Christopher D. Sessums :: Beginner's Mind Blogging

Sessums pulls out this little gem which I can see immediately applying to our teachers too!

Here’s a video that sets the stage nicely–a set of fresh eyes, ears, and minds, sharing their reflections on blogging and their “business:”

Or visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/7PIiizu4yVg

Back in 2005, I blogged about the brain of the blogger, posted by the Eide Neurolearning Blog. I’m sure I blogged about my own blog processes too, in fact it was back in 2004 that I did a threepart posting about my blogging process (in my early days of fascination with this medium)! Heh, this is one of the reasons I blog, in fact, to keep track of my own thinking and writing ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve done this recently in preparing for an essay in my Masters course – I found it useful to be able to dedicate some writing and thinking time to drawing out various parts without the sense that I had to work on the ‘whole’. In all I found myself writing freely and with opinion that was not constrained by the structure of an essay, nor by the conventions of a Masters-style essay.

So, blogging for me, is a way in which I can exercise my brain and process my thinking – and I enjoy the writing process too. The content and the process are both emergent.

OK, back to the the brain of the blogger post then. The 5 points the Eides cover include:

  1. Blogs can promote critical and analytical thinking.
  2. Blogging can be a powerful promoter of creative, intuitive, and associational thinking.
  3. Blogs promote analogical thinking.
  4. Blogging is a powerful medium for increasing access and exposure to quality information.
  5. Blogging combines the best of solitary reflection and social interaction.

We’re three years on (and given the half-life of knowledge and information these days that’s about 6 internet years isn’t it?), how do these points hold up? I particularly like the 5th point which suggests the intersection between reflection and social interaction; it is a wonderous tension that can cripple some and spur others on!

So, why do YOU blog? Or, as Christopher himself asks, what makes it your ‘business’ to blog?

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The Game Learner – are you game?

My colleague, Colin, has struck out with a new blog focusing on games based approaches to learning. This from his ‘about’ page:

…my particular interest is computer based games but it includes everything from roleplays to quizzes and puzzles and much much more. Games can motivate learners by engaging their imaginations, giving them control over their experiences, challenging them, enabling them to experience authentic and relevant activities and providing multimedia stimulation. Iโ€™ve been exploring the use of games in learning for a couple of years now in my work with the Flexible Learning team at the Canberra Institute of Technology…

The Game Learner ยป About

[image: margoconnell]

What Colin didn’t mention was the fact that he has been researching games through his Masters study; and this blog is, I think, a useful and necessary addition to the edubloggersphere!

Onya Col – will add to my feeds! ๐Ÿ™‚

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