Enter one junior and one senior that I had never met and a brief overview of the projects that they had created, followed by a 30 minute car commute with just the three of us. Oh car time is the best! Since I had had the opportunity to hear about their project before we headed out with their teacher, I knew what they had created. The car time and conversation opened a window into their world for me.
The students had used an online tool Movenote.com to communicate a concept that they had learned to show mastery in their Accounting 1 class. Movenote is a tool that allows you to upload a presentation and then record a screencast of yourself presenting along with the presentation. They had a lot to offer about how this enhanced their learning experience with the content and allowed their learning to go deeper. First, they shared how crucial it was for a student to know the material before they got in front of the camera. Secondly, they spoke about the importance of public speaking and being confident in their delivery. They liked that this tool gave them the chance to record until their presentation was an acceptable product. The tool allowed them to continually grow and articulate until they felt that they had explained the material clearly and in a manner that others could understand it. The students also knew that what they created would be shared and posted for others to see and that also raised their expectations on what they needed to create. These students were free to fail and have an opportunity to continue to learn until they got it right. How awesome is that?
In addition to the process of showing their learning they had the chance to share with other learners their product and get feedback. The students spoke about how hearing and watching how other students explained the concepts in different ways than they had allowed for additional learning and critical thought to take place. Through having access to and watching other student's products they either learned something that they hadn't connected with yet or identified a difference or a mistake in their own learning or that of a classmates.
A very simple example of a digital learning tool being effective with students. Listening to them I could think of ways to stretch and offer additional choices...but the point being that just one tool made a huge impact to their learning is a key take away.
What are other ways students can show their learning? Graphics, graphic organizers, blog posts, podcasts, videos, audio recordings, presentations. comic strips, timelines, These tools can be used independently or collaboratively to create products and document learning. Giving students choice and new avenues to show their learning is empowering.
Show what you know... Look around and see if you notice ways in which students are being challenged to show what they know with the knowledge and content they have acquired.
My hope is that with warp speed we continue down this path and give students tools to demonstrate and share their learning in a scope that they have control over and can own as their own. We have enough assessments of learning that are one and done. Here's to more classrooms providing the opportunity for learners to show what they know in new ways!