“Only when we work together can the foundation for classroom assessment – and learning – be established” (Davies 2011).
Guiding my Own Learning
A recent successful learning experience of mine was my “online learning project“. My goal was to learn how to draw, and I did succeed in getting better, but a success with the consideration that learning is a continuous process. The project was part of my ECMP 355 class, so it was conducted online. I documented my learning on my blog, found resources online, and worked at my goal in my personal space. I was helped by people who created online tutorials (people who were skilled drawers), my professors and my peers. I was able to access learning material online, because people who have learned how to draw share tutorials to help others. Without their resources, online learning would be impossible. My professors worked on the structure of the project and criteria of evidence of learning, gave me feedback, and pushed me to go in different directions that was helpful in my learning process.My peers helped in the same way. I looked online for a community of learners, which I view as an important part of learning. The feedback I received helped guide my learning and acknowledge my successes. One of my peers comments reassured me that my final evaluation showed how much I had learned. Another, “this is a great idea” helped me know that I was on the right track. Another personal on instagram, complimented my drawing success so far. One of my professors comments helped me to consider ways to get more feedback from people that could help me learn more.
This experience taught me a lot about learning, and specifically, student-directed learning. The way that I was able to learn how to draw, or at least begin my journey, helps me to understand how I can use my own successful learning experiences to help students learn. I am able to reflect on what worked for me and what didn’t work. I know how to find resources and use social media to share what I’ve learned and gain feedback so that I can learn more. I now have experience with student-directed learning from a student perspective, which helps me consider how to set up projects with my own students. Additionally, I documented the experience, so I can share it with my learners as a way of modeling a learning process. Modeling is highlighted by Davies, as well as sharing who I am with my learners.
One aspect of the text that I really connected to was the building of a “community of learners” (Davies 23). I agree that “[r]elationships are key” (23). When learning online finding a community can be difficult, but it is essential. I even made it part of my learning journey. I have also considered how using technology can help build open, networked and participatory learning communities, in which I said that “[s]elf direction, autonomy, personal interest, and inquiry based projects are my big ideas about engaging students so that we can create learning environments that encourage openness, networking and participation. Chapter two of Making Classroom Assessment Work, as well as reflecting on my own experience, has helped me see how assessment is a part building a community of learners that is open, networked and participatory.
I believe that I can move away from always being the main source of feedback by embracing these ideas. First, I have to create a safe environment (Davies 15). I also have to give students responsibility in giving help, getting help, knowing what help to get and how to use the help they receive to improve (15). I must encourage descriptive feedback, so that it is not overtaken by evaluative feedback. (16-18). I will need to make sure students have time and tools to get feedback from others and reflect for themselves. Moreover, I have to utilize the many sources of feedback available. This means, the learners themselves, other students and parental figures (19, 21). A community of learners is made more powerful by ensuring that everyone is actively engaged in the learning process.
Having students create an online presence can provide them many opportunities for feedback, students can learn how to be reflective and given time to think about their learning and provide their own feedback, feedback can be shared during conferences and check-ups, and I can support learning process that make time and are structured in a way that calls for multiple sources of feedback. Open communities and deep learning require communication, so I will make it a priority for feedback to be exchanged in these many different ways.
Davies, Anne. Making Classroom Assessment Work. 3rd ed. Courtenay, B.C.: Connections Pub., 2011. Print.