Day 1 of EduTech 2015 is here. The opening keynote is none other than Eric Mazur. He’s a professor over at Harvard University and is currently looking at new ways of learning (or actually the stuff that we know but have difficulty implementing… thanks Education ministers). @eric_mazur
Some of the major takeaways here are that our current assessment strategies are aimed primarily at ranking students, rather than helping students learn, or even really assessing the implications of what they know and how they’d use it in real situations. Authentic assessment really is driven by situations that would apply in the world around us. He shows how assessment in the states is all about isolation (apparently they’re not even allowed to take watches in because they could be smart watches). When we work in the world outside the classroom (note: not the real world… what is real? That’s a topic for another post), there’s no-one there telling him he cant refer to other experts in the field, that he has had to know it all before hand, when he’s working on his nano-stuff.
In fact some of the aims the system is claiming it’s working towards are actually penalised – exams promote cramming, which has negligible knowledge retention comparatively.
So what now?
Let’s mimic real life (his words) – let’s mimic what happens in most industries outside of the artificial walls of hte school.
Collaborative learning? How about collaborative examinations. He drew attention to one of his university phyusics classes, where he uses an individual round of testing, followed by a team round. We could plainly see that there was quite a lot of demonstration of understanding, and little stress. It could be assumed that those students who have less knowledge learn even more while assessing. Is this a bad thing? After all, what are school actually for?
4. Resolve Coach/Judge conflict
Use external evaluators. Keeps you from being the executioner, allows you to remain as a mentor/coach.
Calibrated Peer Review.
We Must Rethink Assessment. If we keep doing what we’ve always done, we’ll get the same results. We’ll have great leaders for yesterday, rather than for the future.