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‘Look Who’s Talking’ December 7, 2013

Posted by IaninSheffield in Teaching Idea.
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This academic year an idea I had was introduced into our Enrichment programme. It’s an additional slot in our Y12 curriculum which provides an opportunity to explore an optional area of interest beyond the formal curriculum and extend your skills and expertise. At the core of my project, students produce podcasts centred on interviews with other people; their peers, other members of the school community, visitors to school and hopefully people from the wider world. There are two sides to this, the intention being that the students will develop technical skills in the creation of the podcasts and the blog posts through which they’re published, and soft skills surrounding the art of interviewing. As we near the end of the first term, we’ve explored different areas and created several podcasts under the name the group chose – ‘Look Who’s Talking‘ (perhaps I should be blogging our progress?). During a recent session however, I turned the microphone around and asked them a few questions.

I was interested in how we measure and record progress and achievement and how individuals publish that to the outside world. At age 16, is a bunch of categoric grades on a limited scale a good enough reflection of what we’re worth? Here are the slides which acted as prompts during the discussion, and here’s what the students thought:

It was my hope that we’d cover areas in which technology can provide a lead like Open Badges and e-portfolios, two areas in which I have an interest, but although we didn’t get that far, we did cover:

  • Critiquing the progress tracking sheet I used to record the activities they’d undertaken.
  • Monitoring sheets which provide a snapshot of current performance, but lack depth
  • Annual reports which provide deeper comment, although they have flaws and still fail to provide a full picture and constructive criticism
  • Audiences beyond school like potential employers, wider family circle, admissions tutors.
  • The three elements which make up the information provided: grades (and how the tests that produce them have limitations), effort and progress.
  • We need to be able to provide evidence of our experiences and skills.
  • Other mechanisms for recognising achievement or capability (in music, sport etc), Which also come with their advantages and disadvantages. Credibility, currency, validity and the capability to discriminate.

I guess where I wanted to go was, would Open Badges be seen as a useful way of credentialing their participation in the Enrichment programme. Would they have value for them in this programme or other areas which have no formal mechanism through which participation and achievements are recorded and published. But in trying to set the scene by talking about the systems we currently have, unfortunately I clearly tried to cover too much ground. So to move us forward, rather than me outlining what these systems might offer, perhaps the team could interview someone else and find out for themselves? Hmmmm….

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