Thursday, April 8, 2010

Keynote follow up with Sylivia Martinez (ACEC 2010, Day 2)

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In this discussion session with Sylivia Martinez (which was a follow up from her earlier keynote session) people asked questions about issues that came up in the keynote, and also shared examples of what they are doing at their schools.

Sylvia has kids from the age of 10 to 18 years old to peer-assess, teach and so on. The students can act as teacher aides as well - who can, for example, help set up a class of 20 students around a media project. She has found that when teachers see the students helping out, that is when they become convinced that students helping is a great idea. These initiatives cannot just be free labour, there has to be something in it for the students, such as upskilling, confidence, payment, and other associated academic benefits such as a head start on a certificate, or cross-crediting for other courses.

There was a question around security. Some of the schools define a new level of access for students who are providing tech support somewhere between students and teachers. After an apprentice period some students may then need to be give a higher access. In other schools, the students do not require special access - there are lots of things things that students can do without requiring special access. It shouldn't be a fight with IT, so if necessary the students can do other appropriate jobs. Sylvia pointed out that all the kids know how to get around the filters - setting up barriers throws down the gauntlet. One of the first thing to do is to ensure that students involved in initiatives like this know what is a reasonable expectation of them in role.

Technology isn't a subject, rather technology is a discipline of using the tools in an appropriate way to achieve something else.

When assessing technology literacy what are we testing? Vocabulary? There is a need to have an assessment that tests the authentic use of a tool. Authentic assessment can be taught to students, where students can ask other students the steps that were taken in a project, where they found resources and so on. A student explaining to another student can uncover a lot of errors that a multiple choice test would not uncover.

Sylvia suggested following up on the work that Martin Levins is doing with students in Australia.

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