I have been ruminating on whether badges would work for my assessment needs, how I could incorporate badges into formative and summative assessment. The thing is, I need to see development at a skillful level, and at a cognitive level – ie. evidence that there has been an attempt to incorporate new ideas, new perspectives, or new interpretations to understand events.
At present I have resorted to a detailed list of criteria the students can use to guide their work. The idea is, if the students can check off the criteria in relation to their project work and research, they are going to have engaged with the content on some level. It is a bit of a cognitivist/behaviourist approach – that engaging in behaviour affects cognition – even the most superficial engagement has had a cognitive affect.
I use an enactivist approach to teaching and learning, I consider learning as embodied minds engaged in recursive, reflexive autopoietic structural coupling to form temporal composite unities. To foster ecological perspectives of learning, technology and culture, I force learners to seek out ICT affordances that they would not otherwise consider or discover if they hadn’t take the course with me.
This summer I divided the learning activities into three spheres of activity: 1) building ICT skills and confidence; 2) enacting social concepts of cognition in their uses of ICT; and 3) incorporating ICT into their pedagogy and curriculum. This worked out better than expected when I realized a student had submitted a final project that was used during her practicum long before she took the course, and had not been modified to reflect course criteria before she handed it in. All I had to do to get her to re-assess her choice was to have her write up her rationale of how the criteria had been met in the project she had handed in. Of course, she couldn’t do that because the project was done before she took the course and it was impossible that she could have incorporated course content into her work.
I think what I am discussing is the way cognitive development can be flagged within a badge system – as criteria that would indicate behaviours that could only be enacted through particular cognitive processes.
RE. Peer assessment – I have found this to be a dicey proposition, unless there is also assessment criteria for the peers’ assessments of each other. Otherwise, they can just give each other a pat on the back and say, in effect, “job well done,” when in fact the job was only partially (or not at all) done.