TTN - 21st Century Learner


Why we need another great education debate?

on Monday, February 15th, 2010


The education system is failing our young people. Why? Because our approach and methodology is flawed. We need a great debate.



"The 21st century requires young people to be able to think imaginatively, work co-operatively, and have highly developed personal and social skills."

Posting by: TTN - 21st Century Learner, at 2:01 PM

Limerick Case Study

on Monday, February 15th, 2010


Our work with Limerick University is a great example of how Comparative Judgement assessments can be used for teachers to assess each other.

Design and Technology student teachers were given an open ended project to create design projects which they might use in their practice once qualified. The projects were competed over a number of weeks with each teacher encourgaed to create a number of learner journal entries along the way. These posts began as brain storms of initial ideas or photographs of early inspiration alongside their reflections on the same and as their work developed evidenced their progress. This might include photographs of their projects in development, video of the manufacture process of audio reflections of their progress to date.

Teachers were also able to use mobile phones to capture their progress without needing internet access or installing any special software. The MAPS system allows the teachers to register a mobile phone number against their eportfolio. When an opportunity arose to video themselves completing a task or perhaps reflecting in audio on their progress they were able to use their mobile phone devices to digitally capture that evidence and then MMS or SMS the evidence to their portfolio. This means that evidence capture can be 'live', as it happens, rather than in retrospect as would traditionally be the case with eportfolio building.

Once the diary entries were created MAPS then allows the entries to be tagged against the assessment activity. By doing this the teachers automatically created story board portfolios of their learning process.

34382Having created the story board portfolios assessment was then completed by the teachers themselves using the Comparative Judgement method. In this approach all of the portfolios are entered into the Comparative Judgement engine. When teachers then log into the system they are shown pairs of portfolios that are chosen from those available using an algorithm derived from the Law of Comparative Judgement, a branch of mathematics created by Thurstone in the 1920s.

As the teachers make their judgements this in turn determines which pair of portfolios are shown to the next judge. In this way the system is able to refine the pairs that are shown to judges to improve the scaled rank which the approach produces.

At the end of the process the system produces a scaled rank order of all their work. This scaling has an internal reliability upwards from 0.95 which in assessment terms is unheard of. By exposing each other to the comparative approach and without reference to any criteria the teachers are exposed to the creative value in the process illustrated by each of the portfolios they judge.

Posting by: TTN - 21st Century Learner, at 2:45 PM

ePortfolio in teacher training: case-study

on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

We have been working with the Pilgrim Partnership teacher training agency in Bedfordshire now for a couple of years, developing their use of ePortfolios in assessment, teaching and learning. The key to the success of the project has been the close relationship we have developed with Pilgrim: from the outset it has been a partnership between educators and developers working towards a common ambition, to provide online spaces to help student teachers evidence their capability.

The TAG team are all ex-teachers and teacher trainers with a passion for evidence based learning and so have enjoyed working closely with the Pilgrim Partnership  to help them implement an ePortfolio system into their practice and to structure their use of the system in a way that would be appropriate for them. This meant, in the first instance, spending time with the team to understand their work flow and to understand their desired outcomes from their use of ePortfolios. This allowed us to work towards delivering a system that was in line with expectations from the moment that users began using it.

For the teacher trainees the journal is key to their use of the ePortfolio. By tagging journal enteries against assessment activities that have been assigned by Pilgrim Partnership tutors, progress against the TDA standards are self-assessed by the students and verified by the tutors. This puts the student in charge of their portfolio, they choose which evidence to map to which activity, but at the same time the tutor is in control of how the evidence is presented to them, creating the activities against which the students choose to tag their evidence. The MAPS system automatically collates the portfolio evidence, both reflections, photographs, video and audio and maps it all to a story board portfolio of the students' development. Evidence from these story boards can then in turn be tagged against individual assessment criteria using the red pen tool, a mechanism by which anybody can tag and annotate evidence in any form using only their browser.

Naturally though, implementation was not perfect. Some aspects of the system did not work quite as was hoped in the Pilgrim Partnership's context and so the development team are in regular contact with the Pilgrim Partnership team to develop the ePortfolio in the direction that suits their needs. This is part and parcel of our approach to our users. We want our users to be as passionate about evidence based learning as we are!

"We have worked with the people at MAPS since Spring 2008 on the development of a bespoke e-portfolio to meet the needs of our organisation.  We were very pleased that the first version of MAPS was ready to be launched in September 2008, quickly followed by an updated version in May 2009.   During the short time of using MAPS it has been embedded in our practice and developed into a robust system used by students, lecturers, mentors and assessors.  Our students find the system simple to use, with the ability to tag evidence direct to the Standards and the Red Pen tool is a favourite tool to highlight relevant points and add comments. It has been a pleasure working with a partner who understands the need to adapt and improve the e-portfolio to meet our needs over time.  We have always been of the opinion that ‘one size does not fit all’ and glad to work with people who understand that e-portfolios need to be personalised to fit the needs of the organisation." - Jeanette Mills, Pilgrim Partnership, 2010

Posting by: TTN - 21st Century Learner, at 7:58 PM