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Assessment strategies for #digitalstudies


A key concept of #digitalstudies is moving beyond traditional forms of assessment.  As this is very much a skills based course where any theory or knowledge can and should be looked up online when it needs to be applied this means that tests and exams take less importance in this subject.


The recommended methods of assessment are as follows:


  1. Blogging
  2. Product Presentations
  3. Hackday challenges
  4. Badges


Why blogging?


Blogging is a hugely popular activity on the Internet in both microblog and longer forms and many other new and interesting formats as well.  We feel that blogging as an exercise for pupils is a vital aspect of not only preparing them for working on the Internet but also for reflecting on what they have learnt and displaying the products and other work they create in the subject.


For an examination of using blogs as portfolios we recommend reading http://teachesict.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/assessing-digitalstudies-grades-or-badges/.


The best way to get started with blogging with your pupils is if you are not already blogging yourself begin to do so.  The wiki contains resources to do with blogging here Digital Society - Blogging as well as examples of teachers blogging about #digitalstudies here Blogs on digitalstudies.


The next step is to choose a blogging platform for yourself and your pupils which fits the needs and cost of your pupils and school and get your pupils to begin blogging on the work they have created in class.  Although both class and individual blogs could be used we recommend individual blogs especially to allow pupils to demonstrate the badges they have received.


Within each portfolio there will then be opportunities for pupils to write blogs either demonstrating work they have completed such as a 3d model or discussing a relevant issue such as copyright infringement.  Blogs can then be used for both summative assessment through badges and formative assessment through comments by yourself and other pupils.


Why product presentations?


A major feature of the consumer gadget market today is the keynote product launch.  Steve Jobs at Apple was a master at it and many other companies are becoming quite good as well.  Keynote product launches are excellent ways of seeing what a product is, does and how it will affect consumers in the general market place.  But presentations, product launches and keynotes don't always have to be large and flashy.  In many industries and careers many people have to regularly present their ideas to colleagues and management.  If they are not able to do it properly their idea or project may fail or not receive the support it needs.


Preparing for a presentation of work one has done is also a very good way to get pupils to focus on completing their work.  It may also encourage those pupils who may not normally take pride in their work to see what they have done and be able to demonstrate it effectively.  It will also allow for constructive criticism to be offered and ultimately therefore develop pupils who are tougher when it comes to receiving criticism.


Why Hackday challenges?


Hackday challenges are an extension of hackathons normally employed in the fields of technology and software development.  Hack days in industry are used as a way of inspiring new and different ideas through an intensely focussed day of work and challenges.  People on hack days may find themselves working with people they don't normally work with or in locations or technology they may be unfamiliar with.  These hack days to a large extent employ the principle of 'Think Different' as a way of encouraging divergent thinking.


So how could these hack days be used in school?  Hack days could be used both to teach new concepts in a rapid format and also challenge pupils to use pre-existing skills but in a new and different way.  Pupils could use the day to develop new things to go with work they have completed during the year and then present at the end to a judging panel.


At my own school I treat product presentations whether they are from hack days or over longer periods of time as a chance to act as an 'investor' and give them a real in depth analysis of their products and presentations.  It's an opportunity for pupils to develop not only their products but also the business skills and acumen which come with being able to stand up and sell an idea or product.


For more information go to the following links:


Why Badges?



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