Blog Entry #5

Will Richardson

Topic: When Are We Going to Stop Giving Kids Tests That They Can Cheat On?



I'm just askin'...

02 Apr 2008 12:26 pm



I was very shocked to see such a small post with so many responses!  With such an open ended question you have gotten 45 comments so far!  I started reading through some people's comments.  Such as Angie who said "Who ever said that test grades had to come from tests? What about projects? (And not the poster project or anything of the same ilk.) What about test grades based on participation/discussion? Anything that is evaluative can be a test grade. We need to stop thinking that means a piece of paper."  I think this is a very valid point.  No student learns the same or can be evaluated like the other, yet this is how education currently stands.  I like Angie's idea of having participation and outside and interesting class projects.

Another interesting comment was from Rob De Lorenzo, saying "In an age where information was difficult to attain, information memorization and regurgitation was important so tests were designed to meet that need. Now, with such easy access to information, tests that evaluate information attainment are both irrelevant and outdated. With any piece of information available on-demand, assessments and evaluations need to be skills-based, not information-based."  I am a college student and in one of my classes, we have recently learned how technology can be used in multiple kinds of evaluation.    When I was in high school, and even now in college, I don't retain anything from lectures.  But anything hands on or a discussion of the subject really helps for me.  Using technology can help students not memorize rote facts, but understand much more indebt any topic.  Memorizing is not helping to grasp concepts.

So, when are we going to spot giving kids tests that they can cheat on?  It's when we have the proper technology and staff to create great lesson plans and evaluation methods.  In a computer lab, student can have options of what test they can take.  I believe this is the begging of the best way to teach and evaluate.   




Blog Entry #4

user: Anne Baird


Tuesday, February 19, 2008 Digital Portfolios and wikis

I have talked about the versatility of wikis in many of my posts and have often blogged about how we have been using them here at school as a portal for classroom lessons, for digital portfolios, for online projects and for information gathering and collecting. Last year we trialled having our students in Year 7 & 8 create their digital portfolio using a personal wiki. This has worked really well and this year we are continuing to process with students in Years 7-10. Now this week we have taken our wiki digital portfolio program one step further by requiring our teachers to create their own wiki as a personal digital portfolio. This is part of their Performance and Development process. This involves teachers reflecting on their professional practice, setting goals for themselves while working in a collaborative and supportive team environment. Our teachers here at Wedderburn College each belong to a P&D team each lead by a leading teacher in the school. Once a term they meet to share with their team their goals for the term and their professional development plans. We thought that this year we would have teachers put these ideas into their own wikifolio which would be structured in the same way as the students are . The sections are Being an Individual, Thinking and Learning, Working in Teams, Contributing to the community and Setting and Achieving Goals. By having teachers use their wiki as the recording vehicle for their reflections I hope that they will also learn more about the way wikis and other Web 2.0 applications work. It also opens up more possibilities for recording and publishing experiences in the classroom for their P&D reflections. I have my first meeting with my team on Thursday and I am really looking forward to seeing what has been recorded so far.

posted by Anne @ 8:56 PM


Anne, I really like that your school has been using blogs and now are using wiki. When I was in high school we didn't have any technology like that. I only now understand any of these new techniques because I have been using them in a course at my college. I find them a great tool for many different possibilities. The idea of making teachers create there own in interesting. Having a mentor in your field, through wiki, to guide you through you goals. Is this a college wide thing? Is it being used in every field throughout Wedderburn or just your subject? My thought is just to the high schools. If we could have used this new technology with blogs, online discussions, and wikis we would have saved a lot of wasted class time. Yet also, there would be more out of class, online work.



Blog Entry #3

user: mrsdurff


Friday, February 29, 2008


The traditional wisdom has been that the brain gray matter and intelligence are static. It had been assumed that learning could be accurately measured by an IQ test. This test is still used in K12 education in 2008.
The current wisdom about intelligence assumes more than one learning capacity. The multiple intelligences paradigm assumes at least eight intelligences not measured by one paper and pencil test.
It is now found that brains can change and reroute functions. They are not static but dynamic in nature. Computers allow us the privilege of differentiating instruction for individual learners using their intelligences. Chapter 1 of Teaching Every Student puts it this way:

Because of their inherent flexibility, digital technologies can adjust to learner differences, enabling teachers to (1) differentiate problems a student may have using particular kinds of learning media from more general learning problems and (2) draw upon a student's other strengths and interests that may be blocked by the exclusive use of printed text.

Furthermore, I am reading about recent brain research where people's brains can be retrained to find alternate routes around damaged areas. For education, that means.... (you fill in the blank)
Technorati Tags:
Reference: Rose, D. H. & , Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age: Universal Design for Learning. ACSD.
Photo by Jane M Sawyer, added to Morguefile 09 24 2005, available at




I find it very infuriating to think of students who learn better visually to get pushed aside and also forced to conform to the "norm" of standardized testing.  I have recently learned about multiple intelligences, and your point of having eight different types of learning that cannot be tested the same way is scary to think about.  I, myself am not someone who has an easy time memorizing sheer facts.  I actually think this is the most idiotic way of learning.  "Listen to me talk, remember everything I say word for word, then write it down a few weeks later." When you put it that way, it's ridiculous.  I am not familiar with the book "Teaching Every Student" but it is a very interesting topic.  I like the point of "draw[ing] upon a student's other strengths and interests that may be blocked by the exclusive use of printed text."  Really, we are all born "unique" and "different" and get told that by our parents and realize that as adolescents, yet when we get into education, we are treated the same, no mater how differently we learn.

 Sorry for my aggression, I just think it's something that shouldn't be taken lightly.  It needs to be changed.

-Heather H




Blog Entry #2 Hojnacki

user: NeverEndingSearch

Name: Joyce Valenza

Entry: Teen Attitudes on Illegal Downloading: A Microsoft study

The study concluded:

teens are less likely to illegally download content from the Internet when they know the laws for downloading and sharing content online.

About half of those teens, however, said they were not familiar with these laws, and only 11 percent of them clearly understood the current rules for downloading images, literature, music, movies and software. Teens who were familiar with downloading rules credited their parents, TV or stories in magazines and newspapers, and Web sites - more so than their schools - as resources for information about illegal downloading.

In response, Microsoft launched Intellectual Property Rights Education, a pilot curriculum for secondary educators to help students better understand "how intellectual property rights affect their lives and sparking discussion to clarify the gray areas in protected and shared content."

The curricular content includes the beta site MYBYTES, a website that encourages young people to develop, share, and assign usage rights to their own intellectual property. The site includes a Music Mixer, on-the-street video interviews, the viewpoints of artists, stories about how intellectual property affects everyday life, and online polls.

The PDF version of the study should provide interesting fodder for class discussion. Especially interesting, though not surprising, are students' reasons why they are likely to continue illegal downloading despite their new knowledge:

* Most people see their friends doing it and figure "why not" (66%) * Most people your age can't afford to pay for it (65%) * Most kids your age do not know it is illegal to download this content without first paying for it or obtaining the owner's permission (65%) * This type of information should be free to download (56%) * The entertainment companies make too much money already (47%) * Rock stars don't need the money (40%)

Commercial music and movies will continue as major arenas of IP contention. The technology to copy for personal use is available and easy and tempting. We can help by ensuring our students are at least aware of the clearer rules relating to illegal downloading, by modeling legal behavior ourselves, and by educating ourselves, as best we can, relating to grayer areas of fair use.

Students and teachers must also be aware that some artists are choosing to share and adopt alternative licensing. For more resources, as well as alternative sources of content for student production, check out our Copyright Friendly wiki and the wonderful materials available at Creative Commons:

* Creative Commons: Get Creative * Sharing Creative Works (presentation for teachers and students) * Creative Commons Licenses

Posted by Joyce Valenza on February 13, 2008





Joyce, It seems ever since the Napster fiasco, music downloading has become a big deal. I found the reasons why students download very humorous. When I was younger, I fell into the "Most people your age can't afford to pay for it" category. I later realized that I wasn't truly supporting the artist. It's unfair to the music market when people download illegally. I just wonder if there is truly a way to stop this from happening.

I checked out the MyByte site suggested by Microsoft in their teacher focused program. I agree that this seems like a good way for students to create their own music instead of downloading someone else's. Having the site include viewpoints from the artists can let students understand that yes, musical artists are people too, who just happen to create music for a living. It would be a wonderful world if we could control file sharing. But until then, the gray areas will still exist.

-Heather H


Blog Entry #1 

What Do We Know About Our Kids' Future? Really. 



    I found your comments to be very true and intriguing. I am currently in an Education course at Illinois State University that is challenging our thoughts on the future of education. I do have a question though. What exactly do you mean by "networked"? Networked to the internet, people in our field, or each other in group settings?

    In a book I am reading for my education class that is humorously called "Blackbored", the author demands for us to look at technology as our future for education. Technology can help things like being globally aware, less dependent on paper (duh!), using hypertext, and getting more connected. I think being active (physically, socially and politically), will help students learn technology and get into the outside world. I always liked the idea of doing "current events" in class. Yet when the point is forced, the meaning dissipates.

    If you have any interest in the technology aspect of school and the background of why students don't learn correctly, I would highly suggest "Blackbored."


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