Class 2: Reflections

Topics include: formative assessment, experts and novice learners (and teachers), the ADDIE cycle, screencast analysis and discussion

There were a lot of interesting topics and viewpoints engrained throughout todays lecture .  The idea of formative assessment – providing feedback throughout an entire lesson/working period instead of only at the end – is one that I have been exposed to before but always reminds me that it usually always has a place in any kind of teaching/learning environment.  What I appreciate most about it is it provides the opportunity to change the focus from just the grade to actually learning content.

Case in point: In highschool, I had an A.P. U.S. History class where we were required to write a research paper on any historical topic.  My dad helped me with the paper but I did not receive the type of grade I was used to and there was no option to revise the work.  What I remember more about that paper is how it made me feel receiving that grade without knowing why rather than my topic.  This was also at a point in my life when I didn’t question the grade the teacher gave me however in my opinion, the overarching goal should have been synthesis of the content of my topic.  In my opinion, using formative assessment techniques (which all my English classes have provided me) would have been a much more appropriate for that kind of assignment.

I also appreciated the time spent watching, reviewing and analyzing screencasts in class.  Not only will it help with our screencast assignment, but it also provided an opportunity to watch screencasts with the idea of a learner in mind.  The one thing I am going to keep in mind when creating my screencast is to remember that you cannot please everybody or reach every learner with your screencast.  You SHOULD attempt to reach your target audience but even that will have its own outliers that needed more or less from your screencast.

Case in point:  Many people in class mentioned that the tutorials that included how to get to Google Reader or find it were unnecessary and for some reason that didn’t resonate well with me but I couldn’t put my finger on it.  After some thinking I realized why: there are people who use computers/smartphones and seem as though they know how to find the site and could go from there but there are many who are only proficient in a certain few sites.

Only  within the past 2-3 years has my mom begun to use a computer/smartphone frequently and to watch her, it would be easy to assume you could say to her “when you’re in google reader you xzy”.  However, she really only knows how to use 2 or 3 websites and when I send her a link to something, often asks me “how would I know that exists out there?” and “how do I browse?  What does that mean?”  For people like her, the screencast explaining how to get to Google Reader is actually very important for her to succeed.

Again, this speaks to who your target audience is – incoming college freshman probably wouldn’t need that part, but you never know what people do or do not need to know.  For this reason alone, I am going to keep in mind all of the tips mentioned of good sound quality, have focus and context but I also plan to keep in mind how I best feel conveys the entire portion of the tool I choose.



4 responses to “Class 2: Reflections

  1. Hi, I really like how you focused in on what your mother needs to learn something like RSS feeds. Especially for the public library field, it is really important to serve this just becoming digital audience, or the slowly becoming digital audience, and not assume that they know something as simple as that. Also it was interesting to read about your high school English paper and that you still remember how that grade made you feel. It just shows what a “formative” experience that was for a young person. I would love to see the formative type of assessment, that was discussed in lecture, used more widely in education.


  2. I had an experience similar to your AP U.S. HIstory paper in one of my undergraduate classes. I had a take-home final and the grade that I received for my final (it was a paper where we could choose any topic related to the course) was far from what I expected. I never found out why I got the grade that I did and like you, I remember the grade (and my frustration with it) more than the paper.

    Very good points regarding the screencasts. Knowing how to get to something (a website, web 2.0 tool, etc) is important, depending on who the screencast is for. As someone who had never used Google Reader before, I appreciated that the screencasts showed us how to get to it. I probably could have found it on my own, but seeing it made it easier for me.


  3. I like your AP history example. I go back and forth about how I feel regarding formative vs. summative assessments – you may have gotten a better grade had your history teacher worked more on the process with you and laid out more explicitly her expectations – but then you would be writing the paper for her, and not yourself. I think summative assessment can foster what formative can take away – the “risk” you run by relying on your own prior knowledge to construct a product that is entirely harvested from your own mind. It encourages quite a bit of individuality and voice – even if that sometimes means writing a mediocre paper! I know I’ve done it 🙂

  4. I agree that older audiences are more potentially the target audience for screencasts. It does make me wonder, though, if the papercraft screencasts that are popular with our age group would resonate as well with an older target population who is less computer savvy. I think the reason that these are so cool to us is that they are able to present larger concepts rather than minute details about a product. Their abstract nature may be completely inaccessible to a population who is just learning computers!


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