Two of my great interests and enthusiasms regarding 21st century learning have, until now, felt a bit divorced from and at odds with each other. Yesterday, however, I learned more about a fascinating bridge developing for them.
The first is high quality, authentic 21st century assessment: if we are going to make new pathways in learning that is more meaningful for students, more preparatory for the futures they are inheriting and more engaging for the people they are today, we need to have tools that allow us to evaluate effectively their learning, both to provide meaningful endorsements of these learning paths for the skeptical and, more importantly, to correct our courses to keep doing so more effectively.
The second is the joyful messiness of open-ended and unstructured project-based learning that is found in Fab labs, design-build studios, design thinking centers, and maker-faire type spaces. These places ought to be free from tight strictures– they should celebrate experimentation, learning by doing, trial and error, fast-failure, and never be stifled by narrow or miserable “testing.”
It might be cruel to introduce assessment to these labs and studios, but I want those teachers and students who want to find a way to build in more structure, such that they can better evaluate their own progress, get external feedback, and meaningfully improve their work to have quality ways to do so.
Clearly I am not the only one to think this (and I never am).
The Innovation Portal was launched in the last year or so, (with strong support from Project-Lead-the Way, itself also a valuable resource),and as you view the site you can see it is still developing and rounding out. It provides a platform for
students to create, maintain and share digital portfolios. The portfolios can be used to meet a class requirement or they can be used to submit the portfolio to a scholarship or open contest. The contest owners – or anyone else invited by the student – can evaluate a student’s portfolio. (more…)