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Sunday, 25 January 2009

Future-Gazing: Subjective or Objective?

This last week has been a tumultuous time of opposites. My reading has been taken up with a completion of W.J. Popham's book, 'Transformative Assessment' and T.D. Green et al's 'Making the most of the Web in your Classroom'.

The first I found to be an outstanding analysis of four different aspects of formative assessment - a real eye-opener. The second I personally found to be a real disappointment in that it assumed that the students all wanted to be expert html programmers. It was certainly not about USING the web in the classroom but merely about how to create websites and blogs. Apart from quoting Hebert's book, the only reference to e-Portfolios was a single reference to using a blog as an e-Portfolio.

In summary, Popham's book MUST be read by all teachers; on the other hand Green et al's book might be commended for youngsters wishing to become teachers of ICT, but not much else!

Before Christmas I also read the OfSTED Report 'Virtual learning environments: an evaluation of their development in a sample of educational settings.' Technically, as the publication of research findings I found it to be a very poor document, having no statisitcal integrity, full of weak subjective statements and offering no real advice or commending good practice. I shot off several strongly worded comments about the use of only two ordinary comprehensive Secondary schools as the basis for judging the whole of Secondary education. Others joined me in this criticism and yet others pointed out that this was a good report insofar as it pointed up the issues. Rather, I would say, 'Washing dirty laundry in public.'

Many good things have happened this week in terms of blogging. Contacts in New Zealand are looking at eFolio. Jamin, in particular, illustrates the present level of intelligent thinking about e-Portfolios. Allison Lee writes intelligently and has a lot of depth to her insights, well worth a read. However, Leigh Blackall speaks forthrightly but with apparently little sensitivity towards those of us who are trying to understand the benefits of e-Portfolios. Sarah Horrigan in her article 'e-Portfolios are not just for Christmas...' again is trying to understand if there is any value in e-Portfolios but appears unwilling to step outside her comfort zone. Perhaps my most encouraging discovery of the week is the blog run by Colin Becker and his thread on Emerging Readers. Echoes of the past and 'Video Diaries' come back in fresh guise using an e-Portfolio. Helen Whitehead in her blog 'Periodic Fables' gives a refreshingly concise perspective on e-Portfolios. David at St Paul's (Barnes) lays down a marker for ICT teaching and learning that all should study. Perhaps OfSTED could include St Paul's in a real set of Case Studies?

By the end of this week I hope to have published some simple videos explaining the setting up of the new version of eFolio. So, 'back to the grindstone!'

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