How do students show they have learned?
You give them a test, you ask them to write an essay. And more these days, thankfully.
Tests and examinations tend to be about standards and rigour, important parameters for assessing the quality of a program or a school. In the (bad) old days when I was in school, I do remember more than a handful of teachers from the UK, who through no fault of their own brought an idiom to their language which made some questions on their tests impenetrable to me. When I couldn’t answer the question, that indicated to the teacher that I didn’t know the material. We’re better now at assessment than we used to be; when we recognize that students learn differently, we also discover that they have different ways of showing what they have learned.
We believe that educational technology is now becoming not only useful, but essential. When people first got excited about educational technology fifteen or twenty years ago, there existed many fantasies about how technology would transform schools, and a great deal of money was squandered on pieces of software – or, more expensively, on pieces of hardware. What we are seeing now is the usefulness of technology in allowing students to show what they have learned.
Here is an example, from Marina, nine years old, in Grade Four. It speaks for itself. Enjoy.