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If you’re interested in Digital Pedagogy and the discussion around it you need not look further than the work of Jessie Stommel. He’s perhaps my favourite writer and provocateur on the subject. Always clear concise and thought provoking Jesse has an amazing way of bringing together the practices of teaching, the systems of education and the ways we merge these with technology and learning.

This slidedeck seems to be more of a visually supported essay (one who’s format I’m going to take note of) and delves into the word of Assessment. Assessment is very much at the heart of todays education system whether we like it or not and it impacts K-12 all the way through to Higher Ed. The system we’ve created to “measure learning” (because I am sceptical that it actually does this) is predicated on placing a numerical value on learning - an abstraction of a proxy of a complex, multi-temporal, biological function. I find it incredible that we seek to simplify this function rather than embrace it’s beauty and complexity.

Jesse’s article is incredibly insightful:

We’ve built an impenetrable phalanx of clarity, certainty, and defensibility. There is no space for student agency in a system of incessant grading, ranking, and scoring. The grade takes the complexity of human interaction within a learning environment and makes it machine-readable: [A/A-] [A-/B+] [F+] [97%] [59%] [18/20] [10/20]

While I’m not opposed to a grading system - in the sense of a standardised system that facilitates transactions and transparency - what we have now is very much a bastardised version of that. Where the aim of learning is the grade, rather than it acting as a compass.

Can we work to design a new approach to assessment within digital systems that focuses on formative rather than summative assessment, intrinsic rather than extrinsic motivation, relationships rather than ranking, emergence rather than predetermined outcomes?

Jesse goes on to argue the case for greater student agency, for students to be part of the actual process of “learning” rather than the recipients of “it”.

Source: Learning is Not a Mechanism: Assessment, Student Agency, and Digital Spaces

Image: Voice and Data by Chris Campbell shared BY-NC

Category: presentation

Tags: students,, agency,, assessment,, mechanism

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Tim Klapdor




Captured breath from the Digital World

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