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"Improving Learning" = Higher test scores
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Trekkie_Aspie Offline
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Post: #31
RE: "Improving Learning" = Higher test scores

Yes... those are the kind of questions that don't help an awful lot, huh, Soul?

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stupid article
05-26-2013 10:09 AM
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Potato Offline
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Post: #32
"Improving Learning" = Higher test scores

to just summarize my opinion on tests: "tests" can be understood to mean a lot of things- practice (self-assessment) tests, multiple choice tests, essays, projects. basically, any "assessment" is a "test" in that sense. but I use the word in a more specific way to mean a weightier-than-normal assessment in the form of a large collection of questions with invariable, singular answers. and i think they're more preferable than anything else we have for basically two reasons

1.by demanding nothing more other than the giving (or choosing) of correct answers to questions which require knowledge of the subject (unlike busy-work, which may ask you to make a power point- in a class that has nothing to do with learning power point, or to write a song- in a class that has nothing to do with writing songs), tests simply save time and exclude the boredom factor as much as possible, producing an accurate score as efficiently as possible.

2.the benefit to being based on questions that are answered correctly with invariable singular answers is that it doesn't leave any room for bias int he grading process.

so i challenge anyone to describe an alternative method that- provide an assessment of knowledge, involve no unnecessary work, does not allow for bias, and is somehow better than what i described
05-26-2013 01:18 PM
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Post: #33
RE: "Improving Learning" = Higher test scores

I can't. We don't have anything better at the moment. However, I want to develop something. I guess, I more want to alter the tests than anything. I want to see tests that measure a deeper knowledge, not just x question = y answer. Anyone can memorise that "in 1800 and 42, Colombus sailed the ocean blue." It introduces two figures, one in the historical sense, one in the maths sense but that doesn't mean I know anything about columbus.

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05-26-2013 09:19 PM
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brainiac3397 Offline
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Post: #34
RE: "Improving Learning" = Higher test scores

Tests will exist but must they affect one throuh grading? Id find it more appropriate that teachers look at tests to show the taker what theyre lacking in rather than something used to figure out if you have been memorizing the dates. Isnt the point of a test to see what you can and cant do? Then why shoulf a student who doesnt know be severly punished in the form of a low grade, which some schools even require parental signature. This creates stress and I find it to be harmful as it will more likely push the student away (screw this, Im going to fail anyway).

And why study for a test? or be told the material to study for? As I said, a test should judge what ypu learned, not what you memorized the day before the test via index cards then forget the moment after you finish the test.

I dont see any alternative to testing but what I do see is a need to redefine what a test is meant to be in schools and stop grading them based on questions wrong or right. This form of grading doesnt really tell you with accuracy if the student really knows or has memorized, or really doesnt know or simply made a slight mistake(thanks to the vague and confusing wording of some questions in tests).

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(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

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05-27-2013 04:47 AM
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Potato Offline
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Post: #35
RE: "Improving Learning" = Higher test scores

Quote:Tests will exist but must they affect one throuh grading? Id find it more appropriate that teachers look at tests to show the taker what theyre lacking in rather than something used to figure out if you have been memorizing the dates. Isnt the point of a test to see what you can and cant do? Then why shoulf a student who doesnt know be severly punished in the form of a low grade, which some schools even require parental signature. This creates stress and I find it to be harmful as it will more likely push the student away (screw this, Im going to fail anyway).

this paragraph makes so little sense, i almost suspect that you're just trolling again

"Tests will exist but must they affect one throuh grading?" well yeah that's what i've been arguing for this whole time... if there has to be grades, nothing is more suited to determine it than tests ("tests" in the sense i described).

"Then why shoulf a student who doesnt know be severly punished in the form of a low grade" a low grade is a "measurement," a person who can't spot enough correct answers to test questions are "punished" by a low grade in the same way you'd say a short person is "punished" by a low height measurement.

"which some schools even require parental signature." the school's requirement of parent signatures is not a component of tests, and does not aid your objection to tests.

Quote:And why study for a test? or be told the material to study for? As I said, a test should judge what ypu learned, not what you memorized the day before the test via index cards then forget the moment after you finish the test.

"And why study for a test? or be told the material to study for?" to obtain a validation that you've learned math and physics and shit to present to ppl who care and are too lazy to make their own tests- some colleges and employers.

"As I said, a test should judge what ypu learned, not what you memorized the day before the test via index cards then forget the moment after you finish the test."

there is no way to really predict how much of a set of a person's knowledge will be remembered in the future, so you're complaining about a currently unsolvable problem. but i think one thing that helps is to make tests less frequent but larger, so that the amount of knowledge required cannot be easily fitted into some short term memory stash for use in the next day, for example ppl can't just study for the SAT on the day before.
(i put this in bold because i consider this the only half-decent point you've made)

Quote:I dont see any alternative to testing but what I do see is a need to redefine what a test is meant to be in schools and stop grading them based on questions wrong or right. This form of grading doesnt really tell you with accuracy if the student really knows or has memorized, or really doesnt know or simply made a slight mistake(thanks to the vague and confusing wording of some questions in tests).

"I dont see any alternative to testing" of course you don't

"but what I do see is a need to redefine what a test is meant to be in schools and stop grading them based on questions wrong or right. This form of grading doesnt really tell you with accuracy if the student really knows or has memorized, or really doesnt know or simply made a slight mistake(thanks to the vague and confusing wording of some questions in tests)." ok so basically you see a need for improvement...

.

the main point i want to make:

people are assigned grades for reference for colleges and employers, these grades are taken as measurements of the students' knowledge of various subjects, they are based on assignments that can be divided into two categories: those which make it as easy as possible for student's to demonstrate knowledge without allowing bias in the grading process (tests), and those that either make it unnecessarily difficult for students to demonstrate knowledge by mixing in irrelevant tasks (such as making power points or writing poems and shit) or allow for bias in the grading process (busy-work/essays).

one of these categories (tests) is clearly more suited for its purpose (measuring knowledge) than the other (busy-work/essays).

SO, when you whine about tests, be aware of what might take its place (more busy-work/essays)

(and if you prefer busy-work and essays over tests, then you're either too stupid to know what's good for you, or is looking for a way to pass classes by completing daily busy-work without having to demonstrate that you've actually learned something in the end.)
05-27-2013 07:17 AM
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brainiac3397 Offline
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Post: #36
RE: "Improving Learning" = Higher test scores

What I mean for studying for a test is the act of memorizing the material for the purpose of passing the test. That isnt learning, unless you see simple memorization as a form of learning.

How that validates anything,except the fact you decided to stay up all night the day before the test knowing exactly what type of questions would be asked(since students are usually told what lesson/chapter theyll be tested on), is beyond me.

You dont plan for a test, you have to be already ready for it. Knowing you will be tested forces ypu to study and it shouldnt. Surprise testing will be unpredictable but in addition the test should never to limited to any specific portion of a lesson(so at first it will be easy but grow harder as more is covered).

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(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

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05-27-2013 12:51 PM
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Potato Offline
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Post: #37
"Improving Learning" = Higher test scores

Quote:What I mean for studying for a test is the act of memorizing the material for the purpose of passing the test. That isnt learning, unless you see simple memorization as a form of learning.

"learning- The acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, practice, or study, or by being taught." and you forget that math problems can take a long time to solve.

Quote:How that validates anything,except the fact you decided to stay up all night the day before the test knowing exactly what type of questions would be asked(since students are usually told what lesson/chapter theyll be tested on), is beyond me.

i said tests which can be thoroughly prepared for in a night are inferior to larger, less frequent tests, (ACT, SAT, grade finals) which cannot be prepared for in a night and will require ppl to use their long-term memories.

Quote:You dont plan for a test, you have to be already ready for it. Knowing you will be tested forces ypu to study and it shouldnt. Surprise testing will be unpredictable but in addition the test should never to limited to any specific portion of a lesson(so at first it will be easy but grow harder as more is covered).

that might work
(This post was last modified: 05-27-2013 01:43 PM by Potato.)
05-27-2013 01:42 PM
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xcriteria Offline
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Post: #38
"Improving Learning" = Higher test scores

tl,dr: Reading comprehension and the ability to write more than a single paragraph are important skills, relevant to employers and real life. If you've sunk your teeth into this thread already, just read the post. There might be a test at the end. Smile

(05-27-2013 07:17 AM)Potato Wrote:  the main point i want to make:

people are assigned grades for reference for colleges and employers, these grades are taken as measurements of the students' knowledge of various subjects, they are based on assignments that can be divided into two categories: those which make it as easy as possible for student's to demonstrate knowledge without allowing bias in the grading process (tests), and those that either make it unnecessarily difficult for students to demonstrate knowledge by mixing in irrelevant tasks (such as making power points or writing poems and shit) or allow for bias in the grading process (busy-work/essays).

one of these categories (tests) is clearly more suited for its purpose (measuring knowledge) than the other (busy-work/essays).

Demonstrating ability or work-ethic to employers and colleges are two important purposes to reference. Grades don't necessarily do a great job of this in general, but that's something to discuss. Grades do also serve other purposes, like signaling compliance and obedience to parents. Or, in a positive sense, they (and tests) could provide meaningful feedback to the learner that wants to use that feedback as a means of learning and improving.

Personally, I disagree with putting "tests" in the narrow sense into the category of "good" and pushing any creative writing, non-fiction essays, personal autobiography into the same category as generalized busy-work. Writing, as well as creativity in general, can be a good skill to build up, and being able to demonstrate it can mean a lot to some employers, clients, and people who might fund your further education (scholarships, grants, etc.) Writing and creativity can also be useful in other practical ways in life, like posting online, interacting with friends, romantic partners, or business associates, and so on.

Also, being able to craft effective presentations can be a very useful skill. "Making powerpoints" might not be the most effective form of presentation, but thinking more broadly many presentations, speeches, and so on are useful and aren't just busywork. This links back to the discussion in the Why doesn't school teach us anything useful? thread on public speaking. Being able to present effectively, to give a speech, even just to a few people or one person, can be a useful skill.

Here's a 6 minute video from Robert McKee, answering a question about weaving story into powerpoints.
McKee expresses extreme dislike for powerpoints, but makes a strong case for well-told stories as a means of persuasion in business.



Watch on YouTube

McKee implies that creative, writing, and speaking ability aren't just "subjective BS" or "busywork" but something that can be useful in everyday life. On the flipside, learning to discern truth from fabrications, and simply make sense of what people are saying and its subtext, is an arguably an important skill.

Here's an article that hits on this problem:

What do employers really want from college grads?
http://www.marketplace.org/topics/econom...lege-grads

Here's an excerpt:

Quote:Boyes sounds like a lot of the employers who responded to our survey. More than half of them said they have trouble finding qualified people for job openings. They said recent grads too often don’t know how to communicate effectively. And they have trouble adapting, problem solving and making decisions – things employers say they should have learned in college.

That’s why everyone Boyes hires goes through a year-long training program. “The company puts probably about a quarter of a million dollars into every single new hire,” Boyes says. “But that’s the kind of value that we get out of it.”

The training covers basics – like how to write an effective business document – and throws in some philosophy and history

It might be hard to "objectively measure" understanding of how to communicate, write more than a paragraph, or analyze history, but these are in fact important skills that employers care about. Colleges tend to be locked into the world of grades in a way the real world isn't, but why not dissect how college works, as well?

Omitting the dissection of college for now, even college admissions departments tend to care about your ability to write an essay. Personally, I think they pay too much attention to grades and even test scores. I think the whole way grades work needs to be transformed, both as feedback to the student and teacher, and as a signaling mechanism to parents, employers, and future educational situations.

(05-27-2013 07:17 AM)Potato Wrote:  SO, when you whine about tests, be aware of what might take its place (more busy-work/essays)

(and if you prefer busy-work and essays over tests, then you're either too stupid to know what's good for you, or is looking for a way to pass classes by completing daily busy-work without having to demonstrate that you've actually learned something in the end.)

Certainly, blanket protest about one problem to a grand authority might result in a replacement as least as bad. That's why we need a learning revolution, a complete reflection on how learning, feedback, and assessment works. This has to happen at the personal level, in each of our lives, not just as a debate about what the grand authority will dictate.

Of course, busy-work is senseless by definition. But even tests can function as busy-work, just as a good speech, essay, poem, or presentation isn't necessarily busy-work. Those types of output can even transcend the black box of school, and be applicable to the world at large. They can go in portfolios and learning journals, and they can get more meaningful feedback than single teacher assigning a percentage score on a spreadsheet.

But tests can serve a useful purpose

Writing all of that, I started thinking about how much attention anyone would pay to what I wrote. This led me to think, "I should make a test to assess the points I made." This is a great example of how testing can actually help all around. It can motivate people to pay just a little bit more attention. It can assess whether a point sticks in memory (which can matter a lot for applying those memorized points to a thought process.) And it can help the person trying to convey ideas in the first place understand they're efforts to explain fell on deaf ears or not.

So, to circle back to the broader theme of this thread: what makes for improved learning? How can testing be utilized where appropriate, without imaging that test scores are the be-all and end-all of assessment and signaling important knowledge and skills?

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Post: #39
RE: "Improving Learning" = Higher test scores

Yes, how can we do that? I don't say it's easy. I say it's important. Education will change at some point. The question is whether we go along or fight it every step of the way. It's too late for me to improve the schooling-education for myself. But it isn't too late for me to improve it for the generation that comes after me.

But how do we do it? The truth is, it doesn't matter. Flipped classrooms, MOOCS and all of that are just how. We need to find the why - once we have that, it doesn't matter - anyhow will work.

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stupid article
06-02-2013 09:58 PM
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Lime Offline
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Post: #40
"Improving Learning" = Higher test scores

I'm rather annoyed when I score low on a test while I quite clearly understand the subject. It's not looking for whether you can do the problem, it's checking to see whether you can do several without randomly screwing up because we're human. One such example screwed over my chances of getting a perfect GPA in Math, and considering I worked for and kept it up all year, this just pisses me off.
(This post was last modified: 06-03-2013 05:19 AM by Lime.)
06-03-2013 05:18 AM
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"Improving Learning" = Higher test scores

Yeah, why is an important question. And... it's a big discussion!

As for how, all of the online content is great, there's still the question of how to actually make use of it. I even find myself asking the question of how to go about discussing the why.

Different notions of 'why'

Certainly, different people have different ideas about what needs to change in education.

This post (and related ones it links to) by Justin Schwamm is worth reading to get a sense of some of the "why" question from different viewpoints:

The Pain Test, 4: Inverting the School, Part 3

This paragraph from that post explains how some people view the problem with schools:

Quote:What causes the pain problem? If you ask the folks at KIPP and Green Dot and YES, the school day is too short, discipline isn’t enforced, students don’t learn how to show that they’re paying attention, expectations are too low … in short, schooling is poorly implemented, but the model of school is just fine. Properly implemented, it should work even where schools have been “failing” (by 20th-century metrics) for decades. No Excuses schools still look and feel like schools; in fact, they look and feel like strict, well-run schools from 50 years ago. That’s one reason for their popularity, and it’s also a reason for the angry criticism they receive. Doing things better can work pretty well, especially if you measure success by standardized test scores, college placement rates, and other 20th-century metrics.

And that goes right back to how to measure success -- higher test scores, or something else.

So, what can we do? Build a different way of doing learning. Even MOOCs can end up being used just like traditional school. Take courses dictated by an instructor, do the assignments, and get your certificate. That can be a good way to learn, but I think what's often missing in that model is initiative and active choice on the part of students.

Motivation: goals, motives, and interests

One way to think about "why" is in terms of motivation. If you think about good stories, characters are driven by various desires and needs. If it's an action story, these motivations are usually pretty clear -- escape the dangerous situation, find the MacGuffin -- but in real life and in more complex stories, motivation is more complex.

Traditional school -- when it works -- provides students a motivational context. So does a video game. They have some kind of rules, goals, and feedback, and students are expected to adapt to it, not question and re-define it (except in more sandbox-style games.)

So, what about building a learning experience that gets people thinking about how the experience should be defined in the first place? I think starting with the "who are you and who are you not?" questions could be a useful part of that. Same with, what do you want to learn -- and why?

Maybe another angle to weave in is this: ask people to reflect on and recount where they've come from... their journey, their story, whatever term makes sense. Usually people have had learning experiences that they've forgotten about. Just remembering and doing something with those can be learning experiences in themselves.

That's part of the strategy Steve Hargadon used in a series of learning workshops called the Hack Your Education Tour. Maybe we could incorporate some ideas from that into an online model.

http://www.hackyoureducation.com/bootcamp-20.html

Quote:We'll walk through building a personal learning network, creating your online personal learning environment, managing your digital profile, and cultivating your personal passions and life purposes. If the goal of education is learning how to learn, then students and adults alike face similar challenges and unique opportunities, and this is a chance to define your own independent learning environment and your personal educational or career resources.

In doing this tour, Steve found that people's recollection of meaningful learning experiences often centered around relationships, people, trust, and challenges, as he explains 6 minutes into this Google Hangout.

Asking the right questions

Justin's post about pain that I linked to above, and in fact that whole blog, is a response to assignments in a MOOC called Ed Startup 101. Instead of being lecture-heavy, it was built around a series of challenges to get people thinking about how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to changing education. The assignments give some good ideas for thinking about problems ("pain") in education, and potential solutions:

The Pain Test
The Solution Test
The Risk Test

(All "tests", but tests built out of real-world questions, and answered in a way that can't be captured by a standardized test!)

Trekkie_Aspie Wrote:It's too late for me to improve the schooling-education for myself. But it isn't too late for me to improve it for the generation that comes after me.

I'd think of it a different way. You can't change the past, but it's not too late to go about improving your learning process going forward. In fact, I think that's the best way to improve things for people who are younger. Lots of people of different ages share the planet, and in many ways are all learning side by side as these new technologies and increased connectivity are helping make change possible.

So, what to do? This talk by Simon Sinek, about "why" fits in well here.



Watch on YouTube

So, what's your why? (Or what are your whys?) ...and that circles back to the who are you theme...

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06-03-2013 05:30 AM
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RE: "Improving Learning" = Higher test scores

Oh, I'll improve my learning-process going forward any way. I'm teaching seniors and seniorishs computer skills but after a certain point, I will be mostly facilitating their learning, anyway. That sorts me out and the generation or two above me. However, something needs to be done for the generation still in school and my intergenerational peers.

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06-03-2013 07:57 AM
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RE: "Improving Learning" = Higher test scores

(06-03-2013 05:18 AM)Lime Wrote:  I'm rather annoyed when I score low on a test while I quite clearly understand the subject. It's not looking for whether you can do the problem, it's checking to see whether you can do several without randomly screwing up because we're human. One such example screwed over my chances of getting a perfect GPA in Math, and considering I worked for and kept it up all year, this just pisses me off.

you didn't understand the subject as well as the ppl who screwed up less and scored better than you, that's the empirical truth you arrogant fool
06-03-2013 11:30 AM
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"Improving Learning" = Higher test scores

Well whatever, but the point is that school in general doesn't test to see if you truly know something-they just slap a paper down with a bunch of questions and say "Do this". Doesn't matter if you get 999,999,999 addition problems out of 1,000,000,000 correct and they're all more or less the same, that one question is still counted wrong even though you quite clearly knew what you were doing. People make accidental mistakes, and the school system leaves no room for error.

People also work at different paces. I don't recall making anything less than a one hundred this school year when I had extra time.
(This post was last modified: 06-03-2013 01:15 PM by Lime.)
06-03-2013 01:11 PM
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Potato Offline
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"Improving Learning" = Higher test scores

Quote:but the point is that school in general doesn't test to see if you truly know something-they just slap a paper down with a bunch of questions and say "Do this". Doesn't matter if you get 999,999,999 addition problems out of 1,000,000,000 correct and they're all more or less the same, that one question is still counted wrong even though you quite clearly knew what you were doing. People make accidental mistakes, and the school system leaves no room for error.

People also work at different paces. I don't recall making anything less than a one hundred this school year when I had extra time.

damn right people work at different paces, that is the point, anybody can learn to solve any math problem given enough time, tests measure how proficient a person is at something at a specific time compared to other people.
06-03-2013 02:53 PM
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Post: #46
"Improving Learning" = Higher test scores

Quote:anybody can learn to solve any math problem given enough time
If you don't know about it already, it will take an awful long amount of it. Theoretically a monkey could type a story given infinite time and a computer, but not in any practical span.
06-04-2013 07:39 AM
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Trekkie_Aspie Offline
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Post: #47
RE: "Improving Learning" = Higher test scores

So how do we encourage people to build portfolios that reflect on meaningful learning?

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stupid article
06-08-2013 04:42 AM
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xcriteria Offline
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Post: #48
"Improving Learning" = Higher test scores

(06-08-2013 04:42 AM)Trekkie_Aspie Wrote:  So how do we encourage people to build portfolios that reflect on meaningful learning?

Good question. Maybe we could set up a class or similar group, build some rough structure and tutorials, and award a certificate or some such thing.

I've found it useful to reflect back on things I've already learned or content I've watched, or interactions I've had and build them into visual layouts that show connections between items. I've also been recording video journals where I talk through what I've learned and my ongoing decisions on what to do next. I think of it like an ongoing story I'm living and building. And really we all are with all of the new ways to learn and do things, unprecedented in history.

Sometimes I go back and look at past records, or even link them into new ones. I think it really helps to integrate the material in my mind, as I look to connect the dots between things.

Building portfolios like this, or through some means, is one way people can begin to gain legitimacy and break out of the factory model paradigm of grades and transcripts. So that's reason enough! Smile


Anyone else interested in doing this? There's a bunch of related material at Howard Rheingold's Peeragogy Handbook (free at that link.)

(<1 minute videos)



Watch on YouTube



Watch on YouTube

We could use some of the ideas there and our own ideas to build something to help our learning processes. And... maybe build our own certification process and credentialing system. Ambitious, but why not give it a shot? It could be a good learning experience in itself.

The discussion in this thread is a good starting point for discussing how to measure and demonstrate learning and mastery.

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(This post was last modified: 06-09-2013 02:20 PM by xcriteria.)
06-09-2013 02:19 PM
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Post: #49
RE: "Improving Learning" = Higher test scores

Sure, I'm interested. I know pretty much no code though, just you know, fair warning.

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stupid article
06-09-2013 08:20 PM
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Post: #50
RE: "Improving Learning" = Higher test scores

Hmm ... maybe it's not so much tests as high-stakes tests... I dunno.

If I seem rude to you, please call me on it gently.
One thing (among many others) school couldn't teach you.

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stupid article
10-08-2013 08:06 PM
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