I read this guardian article recently where a woman asked Tinder for all her personal information. They sent her 800 pages worth of data. Apply this to the world of testing, which is increasingly data rich, and it doesn’t take much to make a pessimistic prediction.
This thought was originally from a town hall discussion at the E-ATP conference, which I had the pleasure of participating in.
We carry around our academic failures like previous convictions.
If pressed, we might even blame something: but I’d never even been to France so it just didn’t make sense…
Whether or not the excuse is fair, we accept what the piece of paper tells us. I’m not very good at that. Sadly, what we really believe is this: I could never be good at that…
I took my 3 kids out of school in order to support the stand against the increased importance placed on SATs, summative tests for primary school children in English state schools, which place a supreme importance on Maths and English, as if those were the only two subjects that matter. Please note, dear reader, I’m a BIG fan of my kid’s school, it’s leadership and it’s teachers.
We spent the day creating things. First on paper, then on devices, and lastly using a makey-makey kit, Lego and Scratch to create our own basic electric piano for the man-shed.
This thinkery was created by my 11yo (who has now sat his SATs). I simply formatted the text around the side of the tree.
Revolution doesn’t happen until the middle-classes are revolting on Minecraft…
This thinkery was conceived of and constructed by my 11yo during our day of striking against the SATS.
Have you ever heard anyone say “I’m no good at maths” ? Do you ever stop to wonder where they picked that up from? An exam? Or an adult’s opinion off the back of an test? We talk about maths as if it’s some sort of binary – either you’re good at it or you’re not. But that’s not the way the world works. Not with maths, art, basketball, or playing the ukulele. Practice, interest, seeing it, tiny advantages on top of advantages…
I’m supporting this campaign to boycott SATs tests in primary schools.
Open Badges seem so simple, don’t they?
But wait – don’t make assumptions – ask questions! They’ve got stuff inside. Data. Authenticated data.
But the big news? – you can take them with you because they’re built on an open standard. They can be connected together to form a learning pathway. The data structure inside the badge can even be extended for a particular purpose.
Curious? There’s loads more information (and pictures) here: OB101
“Dad? What does this spell? F-L-A-P-P-E-R?”
My 5 year old is an engineer in the making. He has a book of how to make a whole array of paper planes. And so he starts his self-crafted apprenticeship.
“Dad? Can you help me with step 10?”
But this is the Expert Section.
“Can you just do it?”
A few weeks later, our house is full of paper planes. He has started to teach other kids. Some of the designs, he has modified to fly better (well, why wouldn’t he?). I just try to help out and follow orders. I can see his reading improving. He reads to decode the steps. I’m certain his maths and spatial intelligence has too. He creates, and enjoys his creation.
This is productive learning. I wish I’d figured this out earlier…
This looks all wrong, doesn’t it? The thing is, it’s not at all easy to change your current world view. In fact, we actively look for things that will confirm our existing world view. This, I now know, is called confirmation bias, which always reminds me of the Simon & Garfunkel line “a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest, hmm hmm hmm…”. I find the world a much more complicated place to live in being open to different world views, for to be open to other ideas we must also be open to our position being a bit wrong too. Feelings of doubt, uncertainty, and not being clever enough…
However inconvenient, this humility surely forms an essential ingredient of learning?