Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Evaluation: Creative Media Badges 6

One of the problems I had yesterday was separating evaluation from finishing. It simply isn't separate from the production process or any other design process for that matter. It is key to the production of any creative work. It doesn't come at the end either, so that those rather tacked-on evaluation forms oft-beloved of Design departments  are giving the message that you make something and then you think about the quality afterwards. Evaluating too easily becomes just one of those boring things teachers ask you to do before they let you do any more of the interesting stuff.
Influential on the concept of 'the learning society',  Donald Schon in his seminal work 'The Reflective Practitioner' said
The practitioner allows himself to experience surprise, puzzlement, or confusion in a situation which he finds uncertain or unique. He reflects on the phenomenon before him, and on the prior understandings which have been implicit in his behaviour. He carries out an experiment which serves to generate both a new understanding of the phenomenon and a change in the situation.
A little ambitious for 11-14 year-olds? I don't think so: watch any 5 year-old building towers from wooden bricks or any video gamer who has just been destroyed. Reflection-in-action is an essential characteristic of play. Evaluation is something we are hard-wired to do; it's how we learn from our experiences if we are fully engaged and unless we allow anxiety get in the way. Not for nothing did the original Bloom's taxonomy put evaluation at the top of the pyramid. 
Thinking about my own practice I realised that, like Steve Wheeler, I find blogging one of the most powerful ways of reflecting on my own ideas. In the process of writing this post I am formulating the ideas I had yesterday, sifting through the muddle, looking for the nuggets, shaping them in a way that makes sense to me and (I sincerely hope) my readers. 
As I've mentioned several times in the course of this series of posts my students will be using Google Sites to create their e-portfolio. One of the page templates offered by Sites is called an "Announcement" template. It is, in effect, a blog template and will form the evaluation page of the e-portfolio. Ideally students use it to reflect in action. More realistically, perhaps, blogging could be the plenary activity for each session.
Thus the StarGets look like this:
Definition: 'How your project is progressing'
*      You have a blog post evaluating your work on a project
**    You have blog posts evaluating your work week by week
***  You have used your blog to keep notes about your ideas as you go along

More widely, this entire badge scheme is an attempt to offer an evaluation tool for learners of Creative Media. The main step in the awarding of a badge should be taken by the student. The StarGets are intended to be a simple way for students to assess their own achievements. At the 'end' of each stage they will be asked to self-assess using the StarGets and to suggest to their teacher which badge they believe they have 'earned' and why. Mostly, I suspect, they'll be right and their badge will be pasted into their e-portfolio. The badge is then hyperlinked by the student to the evidence in their e-portfolio. Where the teacher disagrees with the self-assessment they will discuss this with the student. The advantage of an evidence-based evaluation scheme is that, in the main, it will be clear whether the student has earned a badge - they can show the evidence... or they can't.