Category Archives: Assessment of Learning

I wanted to share the letter I sent to my US Senator.

I have great concerns over Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education and here is what I sent my Senator.

To the Honorable Senator Johnson,

I have been a life long Republican and put my first GOP sign up in 3rd grade. I have lived in Wisconsin for 15 years now and have been proud to vote for you a couple times. I am writing to express my concern over Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. I believe this person has no qualifications to serve in this role. I have worked in Higher Education for more than 20 years and I do see a need for change in both the K12 system and Higher Education. I do believe that placing a person in the role of Secretary of Education with no personal experience with public education is a mistake.

I do support both Charter Schools and Voucher programs, both can be a benefit to a number of students. But I don’t believe these are the solutions to our struggling education systems. Much better examples of educational reform can be found in the ideas presented by Jeb Bush or Sir Ken Robins.

Further, I believe her views on main streaming students with disabilities will hamper the improvement of the public classroom. I say this as a person with dyslexia and having spent a great deal of time in special education classes. Teachers in the classroom already struggle to engage our best students when they are contently trying to help those struggling. Placing more students in a classroom that require even more attention will further hinder those students at the top and wishing to be challenged.

One final thought and I quote Benjamin Franklin “Genius without education is like silver in a mine.” I believe a vote for Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education is a vote squash the potential and the dreams of the genius that exists in our public school systems. Thank you for your excellent representation.

Thank you for your time,
Russel Pearson

Which comes first? Pedagogy or technology?

Miranda picks up on a common point around the combination of technology and pedagogy with this post titled Pedagogy First then Technology. I disagree. If you have to think in simple sequential terms, then I think pedagogy should be the last consideration, not the first. The broader problem though is our tendency to want limit ourselves to the sequential

Here’s why.


Stop Teaching, So Students Can Start Learning

Dr. Mariappan Jawaharlal Professor of Mechanical Engineering California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

I have an issue with the use of the word ‘teaching.’ We often use ‘teaching’ and ‘learning’ synonymously. In reality, learning is distinctly different from teaching: teaching is about teachers, and learning is about students. In traditional education, teaching is like a teacher giving a student a cup of water, and learning is like a student drinking the entire cup. If this were true, however, every student would be an “A” student, as this transfer of knowledge would be full and complete. Unfortunately, learning is not an information-transfer process akin to drinking water from a cup or copying files from a high-speed USB drive.

But why am I hung up on the word ‘teaching’? Why must we make this differentiation between ‘teaching’ and ‘learning’? We often use words to convey messages and express feelings but tend to forget that we also use words to develop understanding and to control our mind. Our belief system controls our actions. If you believe your responsibility is to teach, then you focus on your presentation of the material, your ….

Read It Here

Idea to retire: Technology alone can improve student learning

Ellen Lettvin, Joseph South and Katrina Stevens/Mar 18, 2016

Nearly every aspect of the world is being transformed by digital tools.  Over Thanksgiving weekend in 2015, more people shopped online than braved the aisles of brick and mortar stores fighting for highly discounted items. Globally, there are 2.6 billion active smartphone subscriptions. And self-driving cars have already clocked over 1 million miles on public roads.  There is no doubt that technology is impacting how we educate our children and ourselves as well.  Over 21 million post-secondary students are enrolled in online courses. Computers are in virtually every school in the country and more of those computers are connected to the Internet than ever before.  In fact, the number of students with broadband at school increased by 20 million over just the last two years. Because technology is widely perceived to improve our day-to-day experiences, it is logical to conclude that technology will improve learning outcomes in our nation’s schools by itself.  This is an idea that must die.

Read the rest here

Ken Robinson on Creativity at University

Published on Jul 21, 2015

Internationally influential thinker on education and creativity, Sir Ken Robinson considers how higher education institutions might play a greater role in developing the creative capacities of their students. His RSA Animate ‘Changing Educational Paradigms’ galvanised thinking about the role that creativity plays in schools:…

RSA Spotlights – taking you straight to the heart of the event, highlighting our favourite moments and key talking points.

In this excerpt from the event ‘What’s the Point of Creativity at University’, Sir Ken Robinson discusses the global imperative for creativity and creative thinking.

Colorado colleges will create common ways to accept prior learning

By Yesenia Robles  The Denver Post

Students who get college credit not earned in a college classroom will have an easier time transferring those credits starting next spring.

On Friday, a new policy that will standardize how colleges accept “credit for prior learning” was approved by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, making Colorado one of 12 states to standardize the process.

“It’s part of our push to increase degree attainment,” said Rhonda Epper, chief student success and academic affairs officer for the Colorado Department of Higher Education. “This will make a big difference for students and parents to be able to know what base line they need.”

Currently, students who want college credit for an exam score from an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate class, for example, may find that a score taken at one college is not considered high enough for credit at another college.

The plan approved Friday commits the state’s colleges to set one score per class, or to test to determine if college credit is granted. The accepted scores will be determined by December.

In the months of discussions, which officials on Friday called “complex and at times contentious,” reaching an agreement in part depended on a compromise to allow colleges to set different scores when a student wants to major in the content.


Rethinking Group Work

How many of you have problems in your life that clearly only have one answer. Of course some do, but most of the challenges we face in life can have several solutions and each solution addresses those challenges in different ways and with varying degrees of success. From the business sector we here the calls for more creating people, more collaborative people and those that make better decisions. These are not skills that just appear out of know where. They must be taught, encouraged and refined over time. It also, we as education, is something we must place a higher value on. Many of us frequently do group activities in our classes and our student can produce some amazing things. But it seams to me that there must be a shift from evaluating the outcomes of the group work to evaluating the process the students use during the group work. A larger focus needs to be placed on the team dynamics, the import of all group members, how well communication worked and how decisions were made. Part of the presentation of a group project, must include self-reflections by the students. What worked, what did not work and what they would change. Regardless of the success of the outcome of the group work, many lessons can be learned.