Monday, June 9, 2014

The Challenge of Change Management: Students As Agents of Change--Part I

You may have noticed that this blog has a strange name and maybe even a sinister one,"DarkZone Education". However, the reasoning for this name is explained in my very first post to this blog. It derives from an uneasy impression that nothing is going to change for students and their education. Rather than taking a serious look at the trend of students disengaging with their education, we choose to blame teachers, blame parents, blame administrators rather than looking at the model and vision of education more closely and realizing that the problem lies here. The vision and model of education that we subscribe to dictates how everything under it is to be done at every level of the education systems from the government ministries of education down to the students. Take notice that the students are at the bottom of this continuum. They are the ones who have the greatest stake in their education but they are at the bottom when it comes to their voice. In order for students to become change agents in education we need to make changes in the methods we use to educate them, the role that they play in the process and how we assess their progress.

In regards to assessment, I have a question for you:

" Is it wrong for students to collaborate in a testing situation?"

Right now, there will be educators who are reading this who have just started to hyperventilate. The mantra that they have been taught throughout their training under the model of education that we presently labour under is that allowing students to collaborate in a test situation is cheating and should be severely punished. 
Now, with the emergence of mobile devices and social media, we are devoting all our efforts to banning their use in a testing situation so that answers can't be passed around. If we can teach students to use mobile devices to enrich their learning in day to day work, why don't we follow through when it comes to how we assess them?

 However, I would submit to you that the problem really isn't the mobile devices and the easy access to social media but more importantly, it is our methods of assessment that are really the problem because they are still based on an industrial model of education that recognizes compartmentalized knowledge in the form of separate distinct subjects rather than the actual way we think when we are called upon to solve a real world issue or problem.

I am going to introduce a new idea for assessment that takes advantage of the technology to assess students in regards to the needs of a 21st century culture that is undergoing a metamorphosis as the result of the interaction among three factors: technology, pedagogy and change management. The term that I will use is: Transformational Assessment.
In my next posting, I will describe it and provide a concrete example of how it would work in an assessment situation....

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