Sunday, June 5, 2011

Technology Assessments in Education

Whew! I wasn’t sure the technology leadership assessments were ever going to end. The Keirsey Temperament Sorter, a multiple intelligence survey, a leadership skills assessment, a technology literacy self-assessment, and others seemed to go on forever. The amount of time dedicated to taking all of those surveys was the down side of assessing my leadership knowledge and skills. The up side was that I found out a lot about myself. Some of the things I discovered were not so revelatory. Other were a surprise to me, not so much because I was in denial, but because I hadn’t realized some of the skills even existed. For instance, at the risk of completely embarrassing myself, I had never heard of some of the Web 2.0 tools that are available, such as Slideboom and Smilebox.

I don’t even want to imagine that someone could find a negative side of assessing the knowledge, skills, and needs of our students. As Marc Prensky said, “first, consult the students. They are far ahead of their educators in terms of taking advantage of digital technology….” (Adopt and Adapt: Shaping Tech for the Classroom, Prensky, 2005, p.5). In addition, as educators, we have to know the children in our classrooms, personally and academically. Although it may be a little demeaning to us once we assess our students’ abilities and have the proof that they are more (and in some cases, much more) knowledgeable than us, it’s a necessary function. From the perspective of a student, an assessment of technology literacy might be rather boring (because they already know so much), so I think teachers should be creative in how they assess this knowledge. For instance, students could be asked to demonstrate their skills rather than answer questions to verify what is known versus unknown to them.

I hope for a world in which everyone wants to continue learning, because, as Albert Einstein said, “learning is not a product of schooling but the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” So the conclusion I can derive from that statement is that once we stop attempting to learn, we stop living.

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