Ian Landy – Principal of Edgehill Elementary School in Powell River.
I have never done a video conference on campus before and it was a good experience! We connected with Ian Landy who informed us about different technologies that we can use in the classroom for formative and summative assessment. He discussed different reporting and assessment platforms such as FreshGrade and Scholantis (which I have never heard of, but he uses exclusively for reporting). The hot topic of moving away from grades and towards descriptive feedback was discussed as a more authentic method of reporting. Pairing that with self-assessments and hard evidence of learning and growth, as well as areas to improve on, is a recipe for strong assessments that can’t be argued with!
This is something I am both looking forward to and nervous about. I can see the many benefits of ePortfolios, such as less paper usage, personalization of assessment, and the reduction of stress at three key reporting periods during the year. I am nervous about how this will look in my classroom and how I will be successful at it. What if I forget to take a photo of something? What if I don’t have enough evidence at the end? What if I get push-back from parents who are not comfortable using tech as a method of sharing student progression?
From my time working as an EA, I fully understand the struggle with students and staff using personal devices. I have worked in schools that fully embrace cell phones as a tool for documenting, communication, and a tool for learning. On the flip side, I have worked in a school that does not allow even the SIGHT of cell phones between the morning and end of day bells. Staff are heavily encouraged to do the same and only use their phones when students are not present to model this standard. Ian prefers his students to have their personal devices on them to use a tool. As I learn and go through my practicums, my stance on cell phones will change, I am sure of it. Right now, I am for them. I get that many are distracted from them (I am very guilty of this in my own classes) but they can be a helpful tool for learning and documenting progress, given the right boundaries are set. There is a time and place for cell phones, and the students must be very clear on when that is. This can look like a sign on the board that the teacher flips to Phones allowed/Phones away. I do see how cell phone usage can become an issue when some students families cannot provide them with one, or choose not to, creating these students to feel excluded. With a couple classroom iPads available and the support from the teacher, I believe cell phones can be a positive device in today’s classroom.