Last year I was speculating about the wisdom of having work submitted on paper in this connected age. This year, I’m delighted to see that there is some movement towards an online aspect to pupil assessment.
As an English teacher, I have to see a lot of essays… some are handwritten in jotters, some on A4 paper, many are now word-processed (<rant>…though I really do wish that someone would remove the comic sans font from every computer in the land!</rant>)… but all are produced on paper. Quite apart from the swathes of paper that end up covering my desk, if I have any suspicions about the authenticity of an essay I have to type some offending phrases into Google or Eve2 myself… There’s something wrong with a system that ignores the advances in technology that have happened. Or perhaps ‘ignores‘ is too strong a word to use because ICT is an expected part of every pupils’ learning experience and I am very aware of the resources that are being poured in to schools to provide PCs/Macs, interactive boards, projectors and the rest… and then I need to get a paper copy of the essay(s) for submitting for final assessment. There is a part of me that thinks there is something truly ironic in this… but perhaps we are starting to realise the need for change after all.
DK‘s MediaSnackers latest posting highlights an article from the Guardian about some of the changes that are happening in pupil assessment in England. As of this year the Media Studies course offered by the OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA) exam board now includes an online element worth 30% of the overall mark. It’s about time too!
There are lots of teachers blogging and reflecting, there are lots of great examples of pupil work making their presence known on the WWW, there is even a really fascinating blog where you can read some pretty impressive evaluations of the current state of education form those who have the most to lose or gain from it, the students of Students2.0… but there are still very few instances that I have encountered of the people who really will make the changes possible speaking openly about their role in education. There are, of course, exceptions: Don Ledingham of East Lothian fame, Joe Wilson of the SQA, Laurie O’Donnell of LTS to name a few… but these are the exceptions.
Has the time not come for there to be even more openness and transparency in the education system? We have pupils and teachers and parents asking questions, but the top-down model that has dominated education for so long still blocks most of us from getting answers… Of course, the first step for the administrators and leaders to take is finding out how the rest of us are using the tools… mmm… if only there was some sort of forum where they could see a host of practical examples in an informal and friendly setting… perhaps with the opportunity to speak to some of the practitioners thrown in for good measure as well… Oh wait, there is! TeachMeetPerth08… Consider yourself invited!