ECI 833 – “How do you know what you Know?”

This is an age-old question that the education world and most societies have sought to discover an answer to. How do we objectively assess learning, and what one knows in an effective, efficient way that can be reliable and valid over time. Spoiler Alert –> It does feel like a tough task to have a sufficient solution to this question. Perhaps, simply understanding that assessment is a very complex process that can take many different formats is a start to conceptualizing what a solution might look like to that question. I have really liked Hattie’s (2004) work that focuses on student learning as a “Rope” analogy that single strands all connected together provide strength through overlapping and it’s important to recognize these strands in each of our students when we assess their learning.

“Assessment is not a spreadsheet, it’s a conversation.”

I love that quote above, and I feel like it captures an authentic view of how learning can occur and the simplistic nature of this process. However, I realize that it is very challenging to attach a grade or percent to a conversation, and the subjectivity that can cloud this process. Reading the article listed here, I can understand why education has made changes in assessment and judgment in the 20th century from only one individual evaluating someone to a more objective format of multiple-choice assessments. And, these changes were to create more objective and consistent means for evaluating knowledge. Still, it does appear we created a model that values efficiency over effectiveness for assessing knowledge. And, these notions of efficiency can still be felt in modern classrooms. However, I do think there needs to be a balanced approach in this process, but it is tricky to find a method that will cohesively fit into this format.

Another tricky facet of this assessment process surrounds the definition of what we as educators deem “good” citizens and the assessments that teachers create to mold and cultivate this outcome. This is an age-old debate about what it means to define a “good” student, and how we as teachers foster that process and effectively assess that definition. These definitions are deeply connected to our philosophical worldviews, and the various theories of learning that guide our practice. It is important to be cognizant of the context of these worldviews and theories that impact our understanding of assessment because that forms a framework that can be consistently reflected, and adjusted against best practices from year to year.

It is so valuable that we as educators continually reflect on the technology assessments we introduce in the classroom. If we randomly start using new assessment tools for the sake of flashy new things to increase engagement, then when is the purpose of this technology. I would hope that based on the paragraph above, teachers carefully select assessment technology and trial it for its use that meets higher levels of thinking. However, I understand and empathize with how exhausting it is to test out each tool. And, the time and energy needed in this process and is not afforded in a typical workday. So, it is difficult to break out of the mold of relying on dated assessments to produce the same data. And, the time consumed to scan new assessment technologies that connect with the same learning theories as before seems pointless. I can see why it is so appealing for educators to find the most efficient method for assessment technologies that do not value higher levels of learning compared to discovering an effective one that could do both.

However, I still think there is hope that this can change as more people spend time furthering their education about assessment technologies, but it is not an equitable option for all teachers. So, we can continue to hope that small changes can domino into bigger shifts in assessment policy and philosophies.

Please let me know what you think is a possible solution to the above dilemma, or an assessment technology that you find really makes your day as a teacher so much easier.

EC&I 833 – Web Evolution

The evolution of the web from 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 is quite a fascinating process that was presented to our class through our peers, Brianne, Sydney, and Jenni. The presentation unfolded the makings of each web blueprint and the subsequent theories attached to each design. I really enjoyed reading Thenmozhi Babu’s post that offered great videos of the nuanced differences between Web 1.0 to 3.0. Here is a short infographic that highlights the unique features of each web design.

And here is one more infographic that shares an interesting perspective of the web blueprints.

I wanted to dig a little deeper into Web 3.0 because as I read it, it feels more like a theory than it does a reality at this contemporary moment. Doing some more reading and researching on the topic, does reveal that it is more theory-based than actual reality. The thing that mostly sparked my cognition here focused on the theory of decentralization of web spaces, and in a way a dethroning of the capitalist nature of the internet. However, it could also be that we are only approaching this theory and perhaps we are only at the beginning. It does feel in my experience that the commodification and commercialization of the web are so deeply ingrained in our politics, culture, and social norms that utterly flipping them on their head would cause massive deconstruction and major shifts in our institutions and general societal structures. I think that is why it is so difficult to conceptualize the practical applications of Web 3.0 in our contemporary society that are not congruent with the theories of decentralization and shared autonomy.

As well, the volatility of cryptocurrency mixed with the ever-changing nature of NFTs creates immense challenges for a central blockchain-style economy to take presence in our modern world given the regulation and prevalence of banking institutions and politics. Now, I will not pretend that I am an expert in any of the fields listed above, but these are a few of my thoughts regarding the theories of Web 3.0 given my limited understanding of the concepts. And I would welcome any thoughts or comments on my ideas here.

Furthermore, I do find it a tad bit scary to think about the future of Web 3.0 given the rising tensions of the world dynamics, and even more challenging to think of the impacts of Web 4.0 on a global scale.

So, those a few of my thoughts regarding the theories of web 3.0 and how it may impact the world that we currently live in.

And on that note…I think I will close this post, but please let me know what your thoughts are on the nature of Web 3.0 and its potential impact on education.