Redefining Assessment with New Technology
In learning, the SAMR (Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition) model is designed to encourage those involved in teaching to move away from simply substituting what they have always done manually into a technology, toward redesigning their activity by using technology to support completely new things previously not feasible. Perhaps there is something to learn for assessment here too. eAssessment can simply be thought of as delivering the same assessment by putting it on-line, however here again is an opportunity to think outside the box and to aim to redefine how we assess. Here is an example of how assessment was redefined to make use of technological innovation.
Quite often the problem with assessment is it can appear to the learner to be an artificial process by tasks that appear to be bolted on and not a realistic part of that situation. To enable all the learning outcomes to be shown to be met, some ‘extras’ have to be added in, the requirement to write a guide for how to use a web site was one I found myself having to add to meet set criteria. At Myerscough College one tutor’s use of emerging technology enabled outcomes to be met effectively
Jon, a lecturer in Animal Studies, supervised learners as part of the ASDAN enterprise management unit, a short course supplementary to the main animal management qualification that can make up part of a PDP qualification, or evidence wider key skills. The learners had initially come up with ideas like cake baking, car washes, sock puppets etc.to make money. Jon showed the learners how the ‘student’ ID tags on the bearded dragon vivarium were augmented. The learners were enthralled and wanted to know how it was possible. He told them that it wasn’t too difficult and the idea of an augmented reality calendar was born.
The development of the calendar naturally lent itself to meeting all the project process areas; planning, design, research, production. The learners took responsibility for the months, trying to theme each one to suit that point in the year eg February as “Love Birds for Valentine’s Day” and April as “rabbits for Easter”. The learners then had to research that animal and write a script that included main care points for it. They found that this helped focus them as they were writing for an external audience. The whole process of developing the content for the calendar covered all the unit assessment outcomes.
Each month’s contribution was filmed, photographed, voiceovers added and then edited together. The final results were uploaded to the Aurasma studio with the help of the tutor and each month was ‘brought to life’. Finally all aspects of the calendar were there and ready for printing.
Speaking about the experience Joe said “As students, we wanted to try something new.” Jayne followed this up by adding “It was really cool when you got to see it, you felt proud that you’d actually made something.” From Jon’s point of view, he said it was easier to get the learners to meet all the necessary criteria because “it was like theywere doing work, without actually doing work!” He explained that “it was a lot easier to get them to buy into the idea when they were engaged, focused and enthusiastic.”
For the assessment Jon was able to observe the learners involved in the process, capture evidence of them participating and then link to the final outputs for external examiners. The learners themselves had to add their evidence to an electronic book. Although there may appear to be a lot of work involved in this type of assessment activity, if the learners are engaged then it lessens the need to keep pushing them to complete tasks. It may well be that this activity is not scalable to cover a large group, but certainly is possible to replicate with around 15-20 learners. Alongside the assessment benefits it can also contribute to wider skills and confidence building.
The learners recognized that the technology could be utilized again when they were given an assessment in this academic year. They had to design a poster that helped people understand about animal training, but had a limited word count. One way they found to get round this was to add Augmented Reality content. They also noted that it was a great way for someone who wasn’t too confident with words, to ensure their message got across as they wanted, without having to struggle with writing.
This goes to show how well designed activities that make use of technology can make the assessment process easier. Listen to the students and Jon talk about their experiences http://youtu.be/n2wgEhUFG-Y
Author: Judy Bloxham