Designing and Developing Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

The ISTE Teacher Standard 2 provides four benchmarks for designing, developing, and evaluating authentic learning experiences and assessments, including a component about student mastery of ISTE Standards for Students. My focus is to “develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress” (ISTE 2016).

My Question

How can I use emerging ideas about assessment to design, develop and evaluate authentic learning experiences in Language Arts, maximizing student participation and mastery of ISTE Standards for Students?

My Resolution

I recently read Mark Barnes’ Assessment 3.0In it, Barnes calls for teachers to start a movement to revolutionize learning with “four simple words”: summarize, explain, redirect, resubmit (SE2R; Barnes). A good summary of SE2R can be found in this blog post by Mark Barnes.

In many ways, Barnes is “preaching to the choir”; I have always been disenchanted with number and letter grades. As a Language Arts teacher, doling them out seemed like the educational equivalent to judging ice-skating at the Olympics—everyone but me, the teacher, wondered exactly why any particular grade was given. Rubrics helped, but even my own reasoning would sometimes escape me if I did not encapsulate it in written comments on the assignment. Yet, even those comments were rarely remembered by students who mostly gave a glance to the “final” number or letter and then, if satisfied, moved on to the next assignment. Dismayed by how much importance students put on the number or letter grade instead of being able to articulate and reflect about the skills they have learned, I began omitting the number grade on all assignments. Students were perplexed. I told them that they still could see the number grade in the online gradebook, and that I wanted them to focus on the written feedback, because that would tell them about the skills they mastered and those they needed to improve.

Barnes’ Assessment 3.0 gave me new tools to use, specifically the SE2R model, and the idea of making time for frequent teacher-student conferencing. Although there are a number of technological tools that can be used for this, I have been using Google Classroom, Forms, Docs, and Sheets to make this happen. My students have enjoyed the increased one-to-one conferencing, and are better able to reflect on their learning process. At this time, I don’t require my students to resubmit their work; however, a few have chosen to resubmit and have been pleasantly surprised when it results in a change to their number grade. According to the SAMR model, I am trying to achieve redefinition and transformation through the use of technological tools (Puentedura), specifically, using technology to redefine and transform student involvement in assessing their learning. According to TPACK, this activity represents Technological Pedagogical Knowledge (TPK), specifically, “An understanding of how teaching and learning can change when particular technologies are used in particular ways” (Koehler & Mishra, 2009).

I wonder what support students will need in order to change their way of thinking about assessment – after all, they have not read Assessment 3.0. How much do students need to know about the research behind this process? Can this system easily coexist alongside the traditional assessments that happen in their other classes? In “Personalized vs. Differentiated vs. Individualized Learning,” Dale Basye (2014) writes, “Modern learning is the ultimate collaboration between teacher and student. Much like a doctor, the teacher must assess each individual’s needs, then prescribe the right solution for that person by crafting an appropriate curriculum and delivering it in a way that is meaningful. At the same time, students know on some level what teaching-learning style works best for them, and they must contribute to the creation of their personalized curriculum.” For my part as teacher, I want to develop this type of relationship with my students – one of collaboration and continuous building towards mastery. I also want to develop this type of relationship with the teachers I coach, and to help them to develop this type of relationship with their students. 

In “Personalized Learning Isn’t Enough,” the editors of Digital Promise (2015) describe modern learners as “confident, thoughtful, and proactive” and “really, really good at three parts of the learning process:

  1. They know how to SELECT a challenge to solve.
  2. They know how to CONNECT to people and resources.
  3. They know how to REFLECT and share.”

I will know I have been successful when I am certain that my students and the teachers I coach are self-aware of themselves as modern learners who can select, connect and reflect on their learning.

For another example of how a teacher is using Barnes’ SE2R to revolutionize learning in his classroom, check out this blog post by Matt Weyers.

Works Cited

  1. Barnes, M. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2016, from http://www.brilliant-insane.com/2014/10/assessment-3-0-4-simple-words-that-will-revolutionize-learning.html
  2. Basye, D. (2014, August 5). Personalized vs. differentiated vs. individualized learning. Retrieved April 20, 2016, from https://www.iste.org/explore/articleDetail?articleid=124&category=In-the-classroom&article=Personalized-vs-differentiated-vs-individualized-learning&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=EdTekHub
  3. ISTE. (2016). Standards for Teachers. Retrieved April 20, 2016, from http://www.iste.org/standards/iste-standards/standards-for-teachers
  4. Personalized Learning Isn’t Enough. How Do We Create Learners? (2015, January 26). Retrieved from http://digitalpromise.org/2015/01/26/personalized-learning-isnt-enough-how-do-we-create-learners/

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