Introduction: Assessments and Taxonomies
This Assessment unit is tricky because both the teacher and the students will be assessed: Ms. Virginia will be assessing her students' work; her students, PD peers, and professor will be assessing her classroom engagement work; and they will all be assessing themselves and each other!
Have you ever heard of Bloom's Taxonomy? Well, it's a wonderful system of classifying thinking from the least complex to the most. It goes all the way from Remembering through Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, and Evaluating, and ends up with Creating, the highest-order thinking in the Cognitive Domain of Bloom's Taxonomy (revised). Bloom's has an Affective Domain, too, which we use extensively at WeBelong. It includes: Internalization of Values, Organization, Valuing, Responsiveness to Phenomena, and Receptivity to Phenomena. There is even an online Bloom's taxonomy (below)! For the purposes of assessment, Bloom's Taxonomy is without equal in value for the self-directed learning program we have here at WeBelong. The point is to start with Remembering (remember the old tests?) and build all the way to Creating (such as your e-Portfolio). The world of education is transforming before our very eyes, folks, as our learning transforms us as we transform it.
I think it's very safe to say: when students are Creating, they are at their happiest and most engaged - if they're ready for it. So we start at the beginning with knowledge and Remembering content, and build up the higher-order thinking taxonomy to Evaluating (or Assessing)! Students will be well-versed in the foundation of the taxonomy before they experience mastery and have only to Perform it! The following objectives making up this Unit start with the online taxonomy element of Identify (Remembering) and build up over the Unit to Publish (Creating).
Assessment is Evaluation, way up there in the higher-order thinking continuum. Reflection is a way to "exam"-ine ourselves or our peers so as to Understand our personal connection to our selves, our peers, and our learning. What not include self-assessment in a learner-centered curriculum?
Student-centered assessment methods personalize the learning outcomes by permitting mistakes and allowing students to learn from them. . . . Engagement in learning occurs when students can grapple collaboratively to solve problems and create something new - something that is intriguing, important, beautiful (Erbe, 2015).
Student Engagement is what we're all about here at WeBelong and higher-order thinking has everything to do with being fully engaged! In the face-to-face or online classroom, when students are happy to be learning and learning about what they value in a way they value, they are invariably engaged. And when children and adults are engaged, they're concentrating and being in the moment - and Creating - which has everything to do with emotional healing! And they'll be Performing wonderfully on assessments - because they'll be Creating! The power of emotional engagement with the subject matter in class is tremendous.
'It is hard to make meaning of [an experience that has happened to us before] unless it engages our emotions'. . . reflection is a search for connections . . . we have to
seriously consider the role of emotion if we want to foster deep learning (Zull, 2002, in Reflection4Learning).
CC Mia MacMeekin. Used by permission. An Ethical Island wordpress. Retrieved 4/16/15.
Needleman, M. CreatingLifelongLearners.com.
Chambersburg, PA Area School District, Joanne Hammond, Instructor. Source: http://www.usi.edu/
distance/bloom%20pyramid.jpg. Am contacting for permission: © 2011 - 2015 Chambersburg Area School District > Web 2.0 Tools Based on Bloom's Digital Taxonomy. All Rights Reserved.
435 Stanley Avenue, Chambersburg, PA 17201. Ph: 717/263-9281. Fax: 717/261-3321.
Positive engagement with the content of our lives is an essential part of the process of emotional healing. As we notice what engages students' attention at WeBelong, we are able to emphasize that quality in future learning until it is second nature to be involved and engaged - happily - in school.
At WeBelong, we design curriculum so the student is at the center of her learning, making many choices and decisions about the content, delivery, and assessment of her classes. Assessment is crucial for many reasons, but most especially to ensure that the student is learning, and learning according to a plan. Who sets up that plan is the real power question, isn't it? At WeBelong, we empower students to set up their own plan under the coaching, or facilitation, of a trained teacher. We also exercise the power of self-reflection and deep learning and provide its necessary conditions: "Time and space, a good facilitator, a supportive curricular or institutional environment, and an emotionally supportive environment" (Moon, 1999, in Reflection4Learning).
The following pages will show you four modules of our Student Engagement Unit that Ms. Virginia has chosen to learn about as a PD student while teaching them as an 8th grade facilitator! (Isn't that always the best way? It's Applying on the taxonomy.) The modules are set up with the objectives first. Objectives are like stepping-stones toward the goal of learning. To create Objectives, we work backwards from the question: What do we want our students to know? Then follow the activities and the Web 2.0 tools that support these objectives and the assessments that measure the students' progress with them. The Web 2.0 tools used as assessment follow on their own page as part of the Unit. We also address diversity and plagiarism in these modules and give examples of the work Ms. Virginia or the students are doing.
In our online learning program, assessment is inextricably involved with learning. We employ alternative, or authentic assessment, in our formative (information gathering) and summative (final evaluation) assessments. Performance Assessment means performing our creations, or allowing them to perform for themselves, as with an e-portfolio (Furger, 2005).
These meaningful assessment methods include online games, peer reflection, self-reflection, metacognitive awareness (being aware of how we think and learn), e-portfolios (electronic collections of our online work), and blogs (private and/or public web~logs, depending on the student). "Students often learn as much from each other as from instructors or textbooks, and blogs offer another mechanism for peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and acquisition (Educause, 2005).
Exam-ining our own thinking is self-reflection, a form of assessment that is authentic, distinctly ours, if we are honest
with ourselves. It leads to metacognition, or understanding how we think and learn, which makes us expand our learning geometrically!
And self-honesty is such a powerful thing, a high priority here at WeBelong. After all, we're after emotional healing, aren't we? Emotional intelligence (Goleman, 1995) assessing our work, our happiness level, our feelings, and reflecting on their causes, is what we're all about. We invite you to dive in, the water's fine!
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