Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Baker's Dozen

We (the Mercy staff) finished the first semester with a twelfth round of professional cluster group  meetings. These PCGs are designed to train teachers in Challenge Based Learning Design and allow for the discussion of topics related to Tony Wagner's 21st "survival skills. In this one I pounded away at a topic near and dear to my heart-- assessment. 

My tech tip pointed to the word cloud application, Wordle.  Ironically, my heart was not particularly in this one because I'd never seen that much use for word clouds.  Fortunately, my peers pointed to a number of uses ranging from ice-breakers to t-shirt creation.  Another site was also noted that I will keep undisclosed so I can use it for a future tech tip, myself!

But the main focus was on this point:  As a school we are trying to cultivate Wagner's "survival skills:

✦ critical thinking/problem solving
✦ collaboration/leading by influence
✦ agility and adaptability
✦ initiative and entrepreneurialism
✦ effective oral and written communication
✦ accessing and analyzing information
✦ curiosity and imagination

How do we measure these?  Do we simply ignore the acquisition of these skills because we are only use to using other instruments like multiple choice tests for measuring knowledge gained?

My intention was to provoke reflection on these questions and tee us up for some practical engagement with this issue next semester as we make more progress with our new cross school learning plans.  I also shared some of my own experiences with assessment through presentation, narrative, rubric, and podcast reflections.  Most groups ended with a consideration of issues related to these different assessment tools.

The photo in the screen capture of my slide is licensed through Creative Commons by tubachuck.

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