Today the class had the pleasure of video-conferencing Ian Landy (whose blog I have linked at the bottom of this post), an educator who is an expert on using technology to document and make assessments based on student work. The video conference itself was a unique experience. To be completely honest, I was thoroughly distracted for the first 15 minutes of the class because I could see the mirror image of our class on one of the screens. When Ian changed the screen that was showing the image of the class to his slides, I was finally able to concentrate. The quality of the video conference was quite high, much higher than I am used to when I have used tools such as Skype and FaceTime in the past. The audio cut out a couple of times, but it did not detract from the overall experience.
In terms of content, Ian went above and beyond. I wish we had more time to talk to him because he clearly has a wealth of knowledge to share. I was fascinated by his approach to formative and summative assessment. I was shocked when he said that he hadn’t used letter grades in thirteen years. Are letter grades necessary? I pondered this question throughout his entire lecture and I will most likely ponder it for my whole degree.
I like Ian’s idea of using e-portfolios as a tool to facilitate pedagogical narration. I have paper portfolios from elementary school, filled with art work, math tests, essays, and I absolutely cherish them. Having the opportunity to make an e-portfolio for every student means that the teacher can include videos of the learning process or the final project. This is highly valuable because learning cannot always be easily expressed on paper. This approach also shows that learning is unique to each individual and works exceedingly well with the new inquiry based BC curriculum. I love the idea of giving every student a detailed portfolio that documents their progress, but I do think that it would be a difficult adjustment for me as a teacher. Ian did say that experienced teachers can complete portfolios quicker than they complete report cards, but it is still a rather daunting task.
Ian Landy’s blog: https://technolandy.wordpress.com/