Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Assessment & Evaluation: Konrad Glogowski

It's hard to follow all these sessions and still work. That is the beauty of the K12 Online Conference. I can stay at this conference for many weeks or even months and learn at my pace. I'm sitting and listening / watching Konrad Glogowski's presentation on Assessment and Evaluation in an Age of Networked Learning. He talks about how traditional assessment blogs the flow of learning by stopping conversations - implying the end of the task. "grades tend to divide learning into chunks that once completed seem unrelated in the minds of students to other tasks...." In blogging classrooms, it is more about a continuation of learning with conversation - assessment should encourage further engagement. He discusses Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's notion of flow - when a person is fully immersed in what s/he is doing.

In a blogging classroom, Glogowski focuses on 3 of the characteristics of Flow - Goals are Clear, Feedback is Immediate, A Balance between Opportunity and Capacity. Goals all along the way should be clear. Feedback from others and self should be continuous. Complexity will keep people involved. Glogowski talks about the need to set goals, both longterm and short term (how to get to the long term goals). Blogging is a journey. not about finishing an assignment but about engaging with ideas. to produce a body of work

How to grow a blog.
Top - name long term goals for their blog - for their own success in grade 8
What do I want to accomplish?
What do I want my blog to represent at the end of the year

Bottom - habitat
Think about steps they need to take to create the right environment for their blog
How do I sustain?
What resources do I need to tap into to nurture myself as a thinker and writer.
What will make my blog grow?
Predict commitment and habits necessary to reach goals

This helps long term planning but also the little steps to take that will get them their.
He shared some good examples of how students wrote about their goals, habits and habitat they will need to find to help them reach these goals.
How the community they grow around them will support them? How will they support others? This is a social environment.

Feedback - in blogging classroom, feedback is often immediate via comments.
He also gives an example of a feedback sheet for "How to Grow a Blog" The feedback is anecdotal - with simple images to indicate progress. Comments is on progress (work already done) and work that needs to be done. He uses 21 Classes as his blogging platform. Comments by peers and teachers are separate. He feels this feature encourages conversation.

Constant challenge is needed to create flow provided the increase in complexity is not too big a leap so as to produce anxiety. Glogowski feels that stopping for self assessment helps the students stay in flow - to visualize their progress, their level of engagement and sense of ownership. Promotes reflection and conversation between teacher and student, provides opportunities to examine the quality of what has been done and the quality of what will be done.
- skills and challenges are in balance.
Self assessment leads to thought about all aspects of blogging. Who are they as bloggers? Where are they on their journey towards their goals?
Teachers need to ensure that students have ownership for their work.
I recommend listening to Glogowski's presentation. It may not have the pizazz of some of the others, but it is full of things to think about, to reflect on and to challenge. And as Glogowski suggests that it is conversations that guide and empower, we as educators should engage in conversations to support and develop our own learning.
If you want to read more - go to Glogowsi's blog.

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