Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Using Podcasts for Assessment

I personally think a podcast is a great way to assess a student’s knowledge. Talk about alternative assessment which is more meaningful and relevant. Teacher and peer reviews can be added to the assessment process via a podcast interview on a project. The question answer format and the prompting that is required to produce the podcast would allow teachers to get a true sense of the students understanding of the content. Podcasts would also reduce paper tests and quizzes which may save a tree of two. I believe podcasts can enhance the assessment process. We are now assessing content as well as performance. How well can the students speak into the microphone and discuss their projects clearly? This is a very important skill we all need to learn and the earlier the better. I think podcasting provides a great medium for authentic assessment. This is definitely an assessment tool I can and will use in my classroom when I get one. By asking the students questions about their projects I can not only see what they know but hopefully learn something myself. As an added benefit, a podcast is much harder to misplace than a paper test and can be made available for us to listen to for grading at our convenience. This is the true power of assessment in a networked environment. A teacher has the task of staying diligent about checking online content. I believe it makes assessment easier, as we can see when something was submitted, and assess it under the conditions that we stipulate for that content. That is where a good rubric would come in very handy. Nothing fancy, but a check list of what you might want to see in a multimedia presentation or internet project. Rubrics can be created quickly and easily with such online free tools such as “rubistar".

It was great to listen to how involved the students were in their projects when listening to the podcast of Jeff Utecht’s 5th grade class. When teachers and parents are asked about what they think about their students work, they have stated that they are amazed at how well the children are able to present their information. The student’s internet and researching skills were obviously very important as the students needed to learn how to sift through a lot of information quickly and be able to pull out pertinent data. The students showed and developed higher level skills and thinking that can be applied to the real world. The beauty of today’s society is that I think that every technology teacher that has stayed abreast of up and coming technologies has already begun to teach these skill sets, that is scanning content, presentation skills and higher level thinking. I would like to believe that all teachers across all curriculums are staying aware of changes in technology which in turn affects the skills we need to teach our children. I can dream can’t I? Check out this great post I found from Kelly BlackWell on “Using podcasts to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom”.

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