TEDx Liner Notes (Part 1)
Thanks to everyone who has engaged with the TEDx talks over the last few days. I’m 100% planning to implement the ideas I put forward, and all of your feedback is crucial to making next year work (also needed: duct tape, calming herbal tea, and bottle rockets)
First of all, the ineffable John Burk posted an awesome analysis of the discourse in our freakish little community of educators (Frank, chill on KA, you’re going to go blind), and I can’t thank John enough for directing some voluminous traffic to my video.
As vain as that sounds, I really need views to get people in administrative positions to give the open school day and grading reform a chance. I can’t spend another year apologizing to my students for what the schedule and grades are doing to their brains.
Let’s stop playing defense. I’ve always been a run-it-up-the-gut kind of guy. Give it to the full back, and let them take ice baths afterwards.
Binary Grading: Motivation and Blue Harvest
The concept of binary grading is not new. The concept of feedback-intensive-binary-standards-based grading has enough adjectives to please any middling creative writing teacher, and I’m going to pretend I made it up.
FIBSBG (fibz-big) is what we’re going to call it. You will fear the #FIBSBG hashtag and quiver at its ubiquity. J/K, LOL, OMGBBQ, I hate acronyms. Here’s the idea:
- Numbers are often quite distracting, so let’s see what happens if we ditch them.
- Written, oral, and visual feedback are more meaningful during the formative portion of learning, so let’s do that more.
- The advent of the Internet demands Hansel-and-Gretel skills, not recall skills. To cliche it up, learn to fish not to receive fish.
- You’ll be getting a facebook-style wall for each standard in your course. The student, their parents, administrators, and teacher will be able to comment about the student’s progress towards mastery of each standard.
- Media will be able to be uploaded to document the formative process as well as the final product (where applicable)
- Standards are customizable by student; the idea of the “course” is the next on my chopping block.
- Mastery is binary. Check the box = got it. Unchecked box = continue the conversation <= This matters
The Standards-Based GradeBook Mark II (Code Name: Blue Harvest) is in full development. I now have a development team working with me, so the style won’t be so, well, gradient-y, and the programming will actually store your data instead of just pretending to and then letting it slip into the ether to be misinterpreted by future anthropologists as a primitive number game played with bones and the futures of children.
That said, if you’re not looking to totally go off the deep end with me and risk your job, use ActiveGrade; it’s better than InfiniteCampus and PowerSchool combined even if they were part of the Captain Planet team.