Do we even know what we assess when we assess learning?

‘It took me quite some time to get the little girl to let me know what was bothering her,’ said Prof. A. K. Sharma, the former Director of NCERT. The year was 2000 and he was telling me about an incident from a class 2 maths period in the model school in the NCERT campus. The teacher had just completed teaching children subtraction of two-digit numbers with ‘borrowing’, and he had found two children hesitating over the problems they had been given to solve.

The first, a girl, had made a ‘mistake’ as she had failed to borrow from the tens side. Being a grandfatherly and kindly figure, he was able to cajole the girl to speak up. Very softly, looking down and away from him all the while, she said, ‘We learnt in the moral science class that borrowing is bad.’

Reeling from this, he approached the other child, a boy, and discussed why he had not completed his work on the problem. After much exchange, the boy said, ‘But why should I borrow 1? I want to borrow 2.’

Taking part in a recent session on ‘error analysis’, I was reminded of Prof. Sharma’s advice to engage with children to understand their ‘errors’ rather than rely on their work on paper. In numerous assessment experiences since, I’ve seen children who are otherwise very competent falter because of an issue at home or a fight with a friend or because they are being bullied. In open-ended questions in language, teachers are hard put to identify if there really is an ‘error’ or if the child’s view is a valid, logical interpretation. (And asking only close-ended questions is hardly sufficient to understand children’s abilities.) It becomes even more difficult when it comes to children from marginalized backgrounds – as they encounter discrimination and even denigration (of their background, language or culture), they often resist by ‘not-learning’ or do not answer out of fear of being ‘disciplined’.

As the evaluation industry expands in the Indian context with more and more professionals taking in rigorous analysis of children’s responses and analyses of their ‘errors’, the tendency is to interpret these within the framework of the subject for which the test was conducted. But do we know what we really assess when we look closely at children’s responses? What if it’s not a maths or language issue but something else altogether?

Design Thinking for Educators-Unleashing imaginnovation ideas being student Centric

72975712_10158015243753714_5417108247465164800_nBook Title: Design Thinking for Educators

Author Name: D.M. ArvindMallik-

Publisher- Notion Press

ISBN 978-1-64650-692-7

Year of Publication- Oct,2019

Genre- Education

Price- 199

 

  • OVERVIEW

“A teacher is never an ordinary person. Construction and destruction can be produced in his lap.” The above given quotation by Chanakya shows the power of teachers and teaching which considered as a noble profession. Revolution in any idea starts with keeping abreast with following latest trends, understanding cutting edge technology and its impact on our world. It’s imperative that the digital generation of today is affectionately called the millennials and generation Z would learn anything at a faster rate as compared to previous generation and educator finds quite challenging in exceeding their expectations. 

Since every best practices in education were once an innovation by itself which was taught once by educator, teaching for the Future in context of the forth Industrial revolution which has just began will see greater progression in the way we comprehend ourselves as over the next few decades there will be great demand for formal education which must inculcate right employability skills. No wonder, todays educators are getting now more and more intrigued about how innovation in their own teaching can be effectively than glorifying their past accomplishment and faces acute challenges where they have been confronted with real, complex, and varied circumstances and as such, they require new perspectives, new tools, and new approaches for solving these perennial issues. 

The problem is however that education is not promoting Creativity in classrooms and schools where as educator themselves caught up with their own explanation of not allowing the student to experience originality, nor they intend to be communicative nor collaborative in solving any problem creatively and I found D.M.ArvindMallik authored Design Thinking for Educators- Unleashing immaginnovation ideas being student centric in Education, a creative methodology will help in designing meaningful creative solution for defined any issues of that sort which help the educator to reinvent their own teaching smartness. This maiden book of author Consist of two parts and they are- 

  1. Part-A (Chapter 1-4) constitute brief outlying about Innovations and its principles and 
  2. Part-B (Chapter 5-8) explains innovative model which was envisioned by author having 4 stages with 8 sub stages revealing new insights about each stage and this process is iterative in nature and then repeated, producing a new idea for each cycle of the model

  • CHAPTERS INTRODUCTION

Part-A

Chapter-1 identifies and explore a wide range of possibilities of introducing Student-Centric Design Thinking in an education environment which itself is an novel concept for any educator who wishes to apply a creative approach to their teaching practices but aren’t sure how to implement at the classroom  It is a brilliant step initiated by author, Dr.ArvindMallik D.M who himself have applied Design Thinking methodology in his Teaching approach and believes by inculcating confidently that in understanding students mindset any educator can be part of creating a more desirable future, and a process to take action when faced with a difficult challenge and enhances existing skills, behaviors, and techniques. 

Chapter 2 details about understanding on how Creativity and Innovation in any organisation yield successive growth and emphasizes on considerate the basic concept on Managing ideas with innovation. Here author goes one step ahead and expects world to change in some aspect and with change occurring so fast, we humans fail to analyze the intensity of emerging problems and their possible effects. Changing technology leads to change in our connections, thought process and our problem solving skills. Modern issues require modern solutions thus old limits fail and new ones emerge continuously with time. But what next? We want to know how we can make a difference in this changing world and make an impact

Chapter. 3 introduces us about Design Thinking.Like the design itself, design Thinking which according to is a human-centric, a holistic approach to problem-solving that employs empathy, ideation, prototyping, and experimentation to solve real-world issues. Design Thinking is a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems, and find desirable solutions for clients by drawing imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning to explore possibilities of what could be, and to create desired outcomes that benefit the end-user (the customer). This chapter gives us a brief note on how Design Thinking will impact on our learnings and aftermath which us clearly articulated in this book

Chapter 4 focuses on employing Design Thinking Model for Educators in actual terms as in today’s knowledge economy, education becomes even more important for developing next generation of innovators and creative thinkers. 21st Century Teaching and Learning skills are those skills that will be essential for students to possess to thrive in the increasingly complex life and work environments. In this original model developed by Dr. Arvind Mallik D.M, has proposed entirely new demission on how an educator can implement a novel idea which follows systematic methodology on how to develop groundbreaking philosophies and solve problems creatively. The entire process is iterative in nature by making structured development, review it, make design changes and make refinements in the process carried upon until its finished. The new model combines the best of analytical thinking of Left and Right brain with intuitive thinking that instigates imagination, creativity, and innovation. Which can be conceptualized and implemented by any educators who sees innovation in teaching is a transformational tool and make a positive impact on students learning quotient. It has four-stage Seek, Imagine, Prototype and Share 

Part-B

Chapter-5 highlights each step mentioned in the model (4 stages with 8 sub-stages)in detail as this these Phases in the mentioned model is about finding answers to the problems we’ve yet to uncover. The goal here is to generate a wide range of ideas without being hypercritical and how we can influence the needs of the student whom we’re designing a solution. So that we can ultimately arrive at a possible Solution, seamless. Under Seek stage, It has two sub stages, Define and Empathy

Chapter-6, explains about various challenges faced by an educator in every classroom in drawing student’s attention, and conveying ideas effectively to them which itself is atedious task as students learn best when they feel part of any academic community to which they can actively contribute, when their voice also heard. Leaving positive influences on them profoundly, this section looks at the stage at which information is collected to help & generate new insights around Student-centric. Post defining a problem statement and empathizing to a breakthrough in understanding at a deeper level, educators can optimize the available information to search for inner meaning. Under Imagine stage,it has two sub stages, Research and Select

Chapter-7 draws close our attention in testing various chosen ideas which was being selected and will be dictated towards formalizing in prototype stage which is the third stage in the Design Thinking for educators. Prototyping is an integral part of Design Thinking and is a quick and inexpensive way to make your early idea usable, so you can go back to students and get their feedback on those idea being implemented which gives you evidence as good or bad. Author introduces original Two Design Evaluation methods, P-K-V Cycle (Plan- Know- Verify) and PRATTI Model (Predicting Revolutionary Authentic Technique for Testing Ideas). To validate ideas worthy, educator must utilize and apply these 2 methods, without second thought. Under Prototype stage, it has 2 sub stages, Test and Evaluate

Chapter-8 articulates how prototype makes an impact as turning ideas into actual ideas/products/services that are then tested, iterated, refined & evaluated with chosen evaluation methods. Considering all four stages, final stage of the design thinking for educator’s process is Share, is a stage, educator will be upbeat in sharing their chosen idea and knowledge which now turned into a concrete, fully conceived action plan and acknowledges limitations of learning out of idea being talked through by Storytelling, particularly through multimedia, helps to communicated the solution to a diverse set of stakeholders (Students. Faculties, Authorities, Parents, external Service Providers etc ) Internally and externally of the organization. Share stage has 2 sub stages, learn and collaborate

  • EPILOGUE

Author expresses his intention how every educator who wishes to redefine their own teaching method but have become far too attached to their stereotype way of presentation of teaching thoughts and unable to rise up, evolve from old thinking thought process and venture into new perspective of thinking and manage Innovations in teaching effectively is the need of the 21st century, dare to go beyond present.  Design Thinking for Educators is a holistic creative problem- solving approach that focuses on students and their emotional responses with the aid of an educator by introducing breakthrough new teaching methodology. In this book, author reflected on adding value of envisioning on how design thinking philosophy can positively impact on educator’s creative instinct which can be applied to any class level of students, across any verticals/courses/subjects (K-12, Undergraduate, Post Graduate or professional training) for any Educational Institutes/Universities 

To sum it up, once understood, upon reading this book any educator will be able to demonstrate confidently how to set an example over delivering a ground-breaking ideas introducing the best in the world of teaching more effectively by using a structured outline which entails a systematic process in harnessing innovative teaching and learning method ideas for 21st century education. Design Thinking for Educators- Unleashing Imaginovation ideas being student centric, let this book be a guiding force for you to be aware of your own potential and uplift every educator’s inner confidence in leaving their comfort zone and dare not to fear in implementing new thinking by solving any problems creatively and acknowledge innovation in practice as a continuous process which will not only boost your personal growth, be a change maker in education field which leads economic prosperity to my motherland, India

Book Reviewed by 

Dr. AnanthapadhmanabhaAchar

Professor and Dean Corporate Programmes 

Justice K S Hegde Institute of Management 

Nitte,Karkala Taluk

Udupi – 574110 Karnataka

India

Online Privacy for Students in a Digital Age

When I taught Grade 8 English, I always had my students write an autobiography at the beginning of the year to learn more about them. This past year I added a media focus by having students design a digital poster to represent themselves. The software to be used was left wide open – students could use anything from Microsoft Publisher to online digital poster software to simple Paint.

I even gave student the option to publish their work online as visual resume or an About.me page. My intention for this online option was to encourage students to begin building a positive online presence. It was not mandatory, but rather an option and platform for the students to showcase their accomplishments.

See my lesson instructions here:

We spoke as a class about what is and isn’t appropriate to post online.

However, I received mixed reactions from parents and my peers. Was this still too much information for students to post publicly? Should students under a certain age be anonymous on the internet? Should such online behaviours be encouraged by a school?

Where do we draw the line between creating a positive digital footprint and protecting children from the dangers of the internet? 

In a school which introduced a 1:1 laptop program and supports a tech-infused learning community dedicated to the principles of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), these are critical questions to be asked. And it seemed that no one knew the answers.

My classroom project sparked a lively debate among educators at my school concerning what the students should and should not be doing online. On one side, it is important for schools to protect students from the dangers of the internet. On the other side, I think we could all admit that students with their own laptops and a constant wifi connection are visiting whatever sites they wish.

Instead of hiding children from the internet, I feel it’s the role of the school to educate students on safe online behaviours.

We can never teach someone swim from the deck of the pool. We of course shouldn’t push them into the water with no previous guidance, but instead assist them into the water with a suitable knowledge of what to do once in the water and how to react to unfavourable situations.

From my experience, educators often prematurely give students full reign of the internet after deciding technology is a beneficial tool for education. We essentially pushed students into the deep end without the necessary skills needed to stay afloat. Students need to be explicitly taught digital citizenship and have their online actions closely monitored while they are still learning appropriate online behaviour.

See my follow-up lesson on online privacy here:

Please feel free to use any of these resources in your own teaching of online safety.

This Post is Licensed for Noncommercial Reuse..

It is my school’s policy that students and teachers use only copyright-free material. This makes sense hypothetically, but what does it actually mean? Where could this mysterious content be found?

After asking around, it became clear to me that copyright-free material was not understood by many other teachers as well. So how could we possibly teach and model finding such content for our students? Although it was part of my job to ensure students were only using copyright-free material, I knew very little myself about what can and cannot be used nevermind how to monitor this from my students.

However, teaching in a technology-focused school means the students use digital technology to create many of their projects. They take images, video clips, sound bites and more from the internet and to create their own products on a regular basis.

I decided to make it my mission to learn about copyright licensing alongside my students.

First, I compiled a list of websites with copyright-free material. I sent students to my Pinterest board of copyright-free resources.

However, my students thought Pinterest itself was all copyright-free material which could not be further from the truth. I witness numerous students searching for “copyright-free” content using the search bar of Pinterest!

I can see now why the students were confused.
So next, I modeled finding content using the Creative Commons website. This search engine links to various copyright-free sites. But students still struggled with the specific options on the different websites.
Luckily Creative Commons has a great resource to explain what each of the copyright permissions mean:

Blended Learning: Learning Management Systems

This hybrid method of learning combines traditional classroom and online education. Blended learning has emerged with the advancement of new technologies in an effort to reach and teach students more effectively.

While educators may debate the exact meaning of the term, the gist is that online technology is used not just to supplement, but transform and improve the learning process.

The Ontario Ministry of Education explains the tools used to create Blended learning should help students:

  • learn or review key concepts
  • stay organized
  • communicate with others
  • show what they have learned
  • submit assignments
  • track achievement

The website further states, “Blended learning uses the tools of the provincial learning management system (LMS) to teach and support learning in a face-to-face class.” Thus, technology used to support Blended Learning not just technology tools which can be used in the classroom, but online learning platforms meant to support traditional classroom learning.

The goal is to use technology to build an online learning community that transcends the walls of the classroom so students can continue their learning outside the classroom.

Click here for my comparison of various Learning Management Systems (LMS) to Support Blended Learning

 

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The Ontario College of Teachers Standards

The Ontario College of Teachers has professional guidelines and standards for educators to follow.
See below for my visualization of the standards as well as a summation of the Professional Advisory surrounding electronic communication and social media:

21st Century Tools: The Role of the Teache

Once again, I refer to Dr. Matthew J. Koehler’s model of TPACK to conceptualize the interconnected and overlapping realms of teacher knowledge. The question posed is concerning the role of the teacher as it pertains to learning and understanding 21st century tools.

The TPACK model shows a breakdown of the areas of expertise teachers are expected to know, including content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and technological knowledge. According to this model, teachers should strive to reach the middle area where all three realms overlap.

Content Knowledge: this is the information on the subjects we teach.
But I think we can all agree that being an expert in a field does NOT necessarily equate to being a good teacher.

Pedagogical Knowledge: this is ‘the art of teaching’.
It includes such things as taking into consideration learning styles, differentiating instruction, creating a classroom environment and assessment practices. Basically, its your philosophy of education.

Technological Knowledge: this is the tools used to teach.
Today, many people’s immediate thoughts are of modern technologies. However, it can also includes things as simple as a pencil or a calculator.

The overlapping area between content and pedagogy covers the core business of teaching. It is what to teach and the best way to teach it. However, it is often the third realm of technology with its overlapping areas that tends to be the most challenging for teachers.

It’s true, that technology is advancing at exponential rates and there’s no way any one person could keep up with it all.

So how should teachers face the daunting task of learning and teaching with 21st century tools?

First, teachers should remember that technology (including new computer-related software and hardware) are merely tools to use to support student learning. The foundation of teaching still lies in a teacher’s knowledge of the content and their own personal teaching pedagogy. Effective technology integration does not consist of using it as a gimmick or reward for students. Instead, technology should be utilized as a teaching tool for lessons firmly rooted in calculated pedagogy and closely linked to content and curriculum outcomes.

Second, it’s important for teachers to realize that they only need to know enough about new technologies to integrate it into their specific classroom – the same way that we only use teaching practices which fit our pedagogy and content knowledge which relates to our subject. Teachers do not need to be tech experts to effectively use technology in the classroom. Instead, the best 21st century educators know of a tools which fits the context of their teaching, some basic skills of how to use and tool, as well as the courage to try it out!

Third, teachers should remember that a proper education in the 21st century must include teaching and learning with new technology. Educators must equip students with technological skills to be digital citizens and successful in the world. It is the role of the teacher to learn alongside his or her students as technology advances to guide students on their journey and model self-sufficiency when learning about new technologies.

Learning Skills and Work Habits: Tech Tools for Tracking Student Behaviours

The first statement of the Learning Skills section of the Ontario Ministry of Education’s publication Growing Success: Assessment, Evaluation, and Reporting in Ontario Schools states, “The development of learning skills and work habits is an integral part of a student’s learning” (p. 10).

Teachers are expected to report on six categories:
            • Responsibility
            • Organization
            • Independence
            • Collaboration
            • Initiative
            • Self-Regulation
Learning Skills should not be considered in the determination of a student’s grades. Instead, the assessing, evaluating, and reporting on the achievement of curriculum expectations and on the demonstration of learning skills should be done separately.
Though some may identify other skills as being crucial to student success, it is clear that a student’s work habits significantly contribute to their success in school and for life beyond the classroom.
The Definition and Selection of Competencies (DeSeCo) Project, sponsored by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), has underlined the importance of identifying and developing key competencies as follows:

Globalisation and modernisation are creating an increasingly diverse and interconnected world. To make sense of and function well in this world, individuals need, for example, to master changing technologies and to make sense of large amounts of available information. They also face collective challenges as societies – such as balancing economic growth with environmental sustainability, and prosperity with social equity. In these contexts, the competencies that individuals need to meet their goals have become more complex, requiring more than the mastery of certain narrowly defined skills.

(OECD, p. 4)

We are preparing students for an information saturated world where they will need to be self-directed learners with the skills to collaborate with others, are organized, have initiative, and set and monitor personal goals. As educators it is our responsibility to foster and help develop these skills in our students.
When it comes time for report card data entry, our tracking should be consistent and accountable to result in accurate reporting of students’ learning skills and work habits.
The following are three simple tools for tracking students behaviours for the reporting of learning skills:

See the slides here.

Reaching the Visual Learner: Software to Create Digital Posters or Infographics

Ever find yourself drawing incomprehensible doodles as you attempt to explain an idea to a student? I do all the time.

There is no doubt in my mind that I am a visual learner. I see this come out in my teaching, as I break down complicated ideas for my students in the same way I did to make sense of it for myself. Taking large amounts of text and synthesizing those ideas to create an aesthetically pleasing, symbol-saturated visual representation is something I truly enjoy doing.

Source: OnlineCollege.org

See my Pinterest board for resources to make digital posters or infographics as well as editing programs for photo manipulation:

Cris TurpleDigital Posters/InfographicsFollow On

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Flipping the Classroom: Don’t Re-Invent the Wheel, Find Pre-Made Video Resources Online

There has been a lot of talk lately around the theory of ‘flipping the classroom’. Essentially, students preview lesson material and lectures at home to make time to do more hands-on, collaborative activities in class.
Watch the following short video or view this infographic for more details.
Source: Center for Teaching and Learning

However, what teacher has the time to create a high quality video for each lesson?

Allow me to be so bold as to say: no teacher.

Though I have seen success from teachers who simply record themselves teaching a lesson at the front of the class or from an aerial view then posting it in a place students can access such as on YouTube or school LMS. This simple act allows the student to pause or rewind any confusing parts of a lesson which promotes self-regulation in the learner.

Further, I have also seen success from teachers who record their screens during a lesson using tools such as EduCreations or the recording feature on SmartBoards. What’s great about this format is the accompanying online learning community of educators who have posted their own lessons to share. You could further check out places such as OpenEd or Share My Lesson for lesson sharing in a video format.

Flipping the classroom has many benefits: instead of students listening to a transmissive, passive lecture, teachers can utilize the collaborative environment of the classroom by guiding cooperative and exploratory tasks. It also frees up the teacher’s time to provide personalized instant feedback to students and differentiate instruction by pulling small groups of learners to work with.

However, there are many problems to the flipped classroom as well. What if the students don’t do their homework? What if there were technology issues? What if every subject teacher expected a student to learn lesson content the night before (how many hours of homework is that??)

The more prominent downfall I spotted in my sideline analysis of the flipped classroom is that student grew tired of the format. Making an educational video entertaining is a hard feat! Creating even a simple animation or instructional video to accompany or substitute a face-to-face lesson takes much effort and time on the teacher’s part.

What I realized is that I did not have to create the video myself – what it came down to is finding the best resource to fit my teaching needs. Why re-invent the wheel? Luckily there are many free educational video resources available online.

Cris TurpleVideo Resources for LessonsFollow On

I’ve also learned when it comes to the flipped classroom, as with anything, it works best in moderation. I appreciate many educational benefits to ‘flipping the classroom’. But I also am going to teach a lesson in the format which I feel worked best for the topic and my learning goals.

For instance, I chose to flip a lesson during a speeches unit I taught. In this lesson, I had students view Martin Luther King Jr.’s infamous “I Have a Dream” speech at home, identifying literary devices and observing the vocal skills used in the speech. By flipping the lesson, students could view the video as many times as they liked. For the in-class lesson, we discussed the answers in groups and as a class before viewing another video which deconstructs the speech.

I used the extraordinarily user-friendly site Ted Ed Lessons to create this lesson, along with embedded instructions, formative assessment , and discussion forum.

The website sends the lesson creator a link to view what students have started the lesson and to review progress. Other teachers can also customize the lesson to suit their needs.

 

IJR Journal is Multidisciplinary, high impact and indexed journal for research publication. IJR is a monthly journal for research publication.

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