According to UNESCO monitoring, over 100 countries have implemented nationwide closures, impacting over half of world’s student population. Several other countries have implemented localized school closures and, should these closures become nationwide, millions of additional learners will experience education disruption. We need to ask ourselves, what is happening to our students learning now? Source: UNESCO
Schoolsareclosed,andteachersandstudentshavebeenworkingfromhomeforaweek in Norway. More and more countries and states are following suit, this seems to be the new norm. It is in that context I would like so share some of our experiences so far. Duringthisfirstweek,amassiveinitiative hasbeenlaunched where 50 000 teachers sharedigitalresources andgetanswerstotheirmanyquestions.Ithasbeenagreatsourceofinspirationandhelpformany even, if it for some, can be a bit overwhelming, at least for me.
Afterweekone,experiencesfrommyschool,Sandvikahigh school,arethe following; theteachersareready,thestudentsareready, but the workload is perhaps too much for both groups.Teachersadjustasbesttheycanaccordingtothese new conditions,andtrytobalance the required work. In other words, manyteachersmayhavebeenalittleoverzealous when handing out assignments, butthisisgoingto work out, we only need a slight adjustment,I’msure of that.
In this post, I would like to address another issue. WenowfaceagreaterchallengeasIseeit; assessment.Manyhavealreadyreflectedonhowschool has changed radicallyin as little as a week. Most likely this will foreverchangeteaching and learning asweknowit,evenwheneverythingreturnstonormal. After only one week my experience is that teachers have a good grip on the digitalcontentandhaveseenthebenefitof using ittoo.(finally!)
Thechallengeat this stage is how to assess student work when everything is open and available and students can communicate with each other when being tested. Inotherwords,weneedtochangeourmindsetfromonlinecollaboration seen ascheating,to accept that this is the new norm. We need new ways of assessing our students in an environment and make sure they have the chance to reflect,argueanddemonstratetheircompetence,aloneandwith the help of others.And this transformation makes perfect sense. In order to make reliable decisions about actual student achievement, our assessments must be of high quality. We cannot prove that students are learning in our online classes without valid, reliable assessments. Thisisnot a new challenge, but in light of what is going on in the world today, it is a different challenge. Whatisanadvantagefor us in this difficult situationisthatteachinghas already slowlyshiftedfromteacher-ledteaching to student-led learning. Where studentsaremoreactivelyresponsiblefortheirowndevelopment.(Black&Wiliam,2009;Hattie&Timperley,2007).Thesearetrendsthatfitwellintothecurrentsituation.Thestudentasanactive,responsibleparticipantinhisownlearningprocessisclearlyaprerequisiteforsuccesstoday.Andresearchalsoshowsthatpeerassessmentandself-assessmentaretoolsrecommendedpromotingamoreactivestudentrole(Wiliam&Thompson,2007). I wrote about peer assessment here.
In order for this experiment of homeschooling on a global scale to succeed, we need active students. If you have time the video with Dr. Wilam is still valid in these conditions. We need students who know what is expected of them, what they are required to do to pass the courses and how to do it. Weneedtoensurethat students have opportunities to collaborate and that teachers work together in learning communities in their schools to help and support each other. Inotherwords,we need to develop ourprofessionallearningcommunities to focusonhow to provideassessments thatpromotestudents’learning.At my school, teachers have started to sharetheirexperiences. We have to ask ourselves, Howdowe best assess our students?How do we check for understanding?
Someexamplesof how assessment can look today:
Videomeetingsforassessments using Microsoft Teams. Students send videopresentations to their teachers, recorded conversationsbetweenstudents, foreign language learning – discuss the use oflanguage insteadofproducing it since students now have access to Google translate,make PowerPoint presentation withaudio, have clear guidelines on structure and content and use of sources,(plagiarismcontrol) peer-assessment as a way to practice before being tested.
Reach out if you need any help in working like this.