Monday, December 1, 2008

Terminology and Technology MisMatch

How many times have you had a conversation with a teacher who does not really understand what integrating "technology" into an educational setting looks like?

The term technology often gets assigned to any activity that includes a computer. This is simply not adequate anymore. Let me provide you with an example. Kathleen Gregory, who is a celebrated assessment guru, produced a series of mini-clips on YouTube addressing the short-comings of current assessment practices.

Kathleen is an excellent presenter and she has done amazing work in shifting the paradigm around assessment. She has successfully demonstrated the need to increase the amount of authentic assessment FOR learning. I admire her work and strive to model my assessment practices after her work. It is because I hold her opinion in such high regard that this particular mini-clip causes me angst. It is titled "Problems with Technology".

I agree with the gist of what she is professing. Software like Grade Maker does put assessment blinder on teachers who are trying to come up with an "objective" number so that they can assign a letter grade. My issue is the statement that it is the technology that is the problem. Teachers looking to weigh assignments, average assignments, find quantitative data will do it whether they use an excel spreadsheet, a marks book, or a piece of software.

Technology used appropriately can enhance a teachers ability to assess students. Simple examples include blog portfolios of student self-assessments, collaborative wikis that reflect group processes, digital photos used as prompts to help students articulate their thinking and rubistar that allows students and teachers to create assessment rubrics to name a few.

I call on digital educators to model the use of appropriate "technology" when assessing their students. What are you using?


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