Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Revolt Against the Bubble

New Education Sector Report:

A growing number of testing and learning experts argue that technology can dramatically improve assessment—and teaching and learning. Several new research projects are demonstrating how information technology can both deepen and broaden assessment practices in elementary and secondary education, by assessing more comprehensively and by assessing new skills and concepts. All of which can strengthen both national standardized tests like the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and classroom-based tests meant to help teachers improve their instruction.

You know, all things considered, should we really be assessing technology by how it can improve standardized test scores?

...the new research projects have produced assessments that reflect what cognitive research tells us about how people learn, providing an opportunity to greatly strengthen the quality of instruction in the nation's classrooms. Other fields, such as military training and medical education, are already using technology-enabled assessment to enhance teaching and learning.

And with all due respect to military training and med school, but they are both fields where "training" is the operative word. They are fields where mostly you learn HOW to do things more often than you question WHY to do things. And that's fine; after all, I want my doctor to know my appendix from my liver when he sees it.

But that fits into the comfort zone that most people already have with technology in education. That is to say, we know that computers are pretty good at "training" people. But the future is not built on present-day training. We really have no idea what's for store for us in the future. The future of tech in education has less and less to do with training and bubble-tests and more to do with opening up our intellects and the wonders of our communicative and imaginative minds to the unknown.

So let's make it up. Let's create the future.

Abandon standardized tests. Shelve the manuals and open up the poetry. Scrap the courseware and start a blog. Meet the kids where they are and maybe you'll find out something about where you are.

1 comment:

  1. Two things I love about your new post. The title and the last line. The middle isn't bad but those two spoke to me.

    "The Bubble"
    Great dig at testing. Filling in a bubble doesn't mean learning was accomplished. It is the opposite of what I do in my classroom on a daily basis.

    "Meet the kids where they are and maybe your find out something about where you are."
    How can we effectively teach if we don't know about our students. They might not be able to concentrate because they didn't eat breakfast or dinner. Or maybe your teaching something the are already an expert in. You must know your students to be effective.

    Well stated!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.