Leadership in Digital Learning (3)

Leadership in Digital Learning (3)


A survey as recent as April 2020 shows that the quick turnaround of education has come at a great cost to us all. According to the survey conducted by the UK firm, Firefly – 67% of schools surveyed did not feel confident enough to assess learning digitally. It is widely agreed that the quality of feedback is one of the most important drivers of learning; but given the current situation, it can be very difficult to provide. A good leader will consider the current ways in which the school is providing feedback in the digital space. Also, much consideration should be given to how the school will assess students’ progress in the event of an extended school closure.

The most common forms of assessment are email submissions and submissions on your Learner Management Software, however, beyond those one may also consider the following factors in building the assessment model of the school.

A. Giving Quality Feedback Starts with the Design of the Activity.
The trick to an effective assessment is to start by creating evidence-based activities. The Learning Scientists have an excellent blog and podcast full of evidence-based activities to get you started. You may need to adapt some of the ideas to suit your specific needs. But hey, is teaching not all about being creative! It is a good idea to design activities that can be delivered using a single learning platform and it’s available apps.

B. Giving Quality Feedback Using Audio.
Your students might also appreciate the added touch of audio or video feedback. For more formal assessments, some of the video tools around might open up the opportunity for oral or performance exams. In the early days of our digital journey, our students received feedback through WhatsApp voice messages. Whatever your curriculum and stage, there will be something that fits your needs, you only have to look.

C. Quality Feedback is Predicated on Assessment Authenticity.
No school leader wants students to simply pull answers from google or textbooks. So it’s very important to think about the types of assessments your school will provide. Informative assessments, you could try using a combination of quizzes, video or audio submissions, photos of handwritten work or even screen captures of online projects; for thinking summative assessments, there are Ed-Tech companies and a few apps that can proctor summative assessment.

D. Quality Feedback and Tracking Progress.
The question to ask here is ‘In tracking students’ progress, what model is going to fit my school’s needs? Assessment cycles differ from school to school and for many schools, it tends to come down to the flexibility of feedback and collection of data. Once you can identify your markers for progression, it becomes a lot easier to design an assessment program that tracks progress using the right resources and approach each time. For example in many LMS, teachers are able to provide grades and feedback on each piece of work which then gets collated automatically into a digital mark book for each student.

E. Manage Workload.
Teaching online is hard. There is a lot of work that goes into preparation. It is therefore important to think about how your teachers can easily share work through your learning platform and find tools which complement each other so that gathering assessment data is simple.

F. Find Ways of Bringing all the Results Together in One Place.
As a leader, this is the time to simplify your tracking purpose. What are you tracking and why? Teachers can’t be managing multiple assessments methods through a variety of platforms as it will quickly become difficult and the quality of the assessment and feedback will be compromised. Always remember that the quality of the feedback determines the quality of learning continuity and progression.

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