Welcome to my Blog for FET 5601

Here is my blog for FET 5601. I will try to keep all of my Moodle postings here as well as keep a track of my study as I progress through this course.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My Wrap of Bruce's Discussion 2

Hi Bruce,
Here is my wrap of your module on tolerance.

You have asked your students to study/analyze an artifact "audio recordings and text material about Bern, a German man of Jewish decent who was interned in Australia during World War 2". By allowing the students to hear a recording as apposed to just reading a text or indeed viewing picture, you are giving them a richer resource to which they can connect and empathize with.

This is a great starting point for the constructivist learning approach. I appreciate that you have struggled to find an appropriate assessment model. I will be most interested to read what you plan to get the students to produce for their assessment.

I really liked your analogy for the instructional design approach that it is like the threads of a screw.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My Self Assessment

Discussion activity 3, Evaluation

Evaluation Discussion for JPEG Radio Podcasts

When I started reading the course materials, the sentence that jumped out at me was when Achtemeier (2007) stated, “Is there a difference between ‘assessment’ and ‘evaluation’?” It made me think about the difference between the two. Is there a distinct difference?

According to my MacBook Leopard inbuilt dictionary, assessment is defined as “The evaluation or estimation of the nature, quality, or ability of someone or something”. Evaluation is defined as to “Form an idea of the amount, number, or value of, to assess”. It was interesting to see that the word “assess” was found in the evaluation definition and the word “evaluation” was found in the assessment definition. Are they really interchangeable?

Achtemeier (2007) said “Much of the literature in the broad area of assessment and evaluation tends to use the words "assessment" and "evaluation" interchangeably.” He went on further to say that he would refer to evaluation for the program and assessment for the student learning. So that’s how I will to think of the two in this review as well.

Having said that, my first thoughts here were all directed towards the form of the program evaluation. In teaching I tend focus more on assessment. I often don’t give evaluation as much attention as it deserves. At my present school the teachers are expected to evaluate each UOI or Unit of Inquiry. The students are also expected to evaluate each unit on completion.

Through my reading, I have become more aware of the different forms of evaluations that could be used in my classroom. I must admit that up until this point, I have mostly asked students to write reflections. This can become quite monotonous for the student, which I believe, can render the process somewhat ineffective. I am now feeling the need to extend my evaluation strategies. I was most interested in constructivist approaches to evaluation. I like to involve students in the process as the stakeholders. This has its drawbacks as children often lack a sense of balance and will focus on what they are good at and expect to be only assessed for that. It has been stated by Achtemeier (2007), Kickbusch (1996) and Reis & Renzulli (1991) as cited by Nowak and Plucker (1999) that assessment must be a must be on-going and diagnostic part of a constructivist learning program.

After a little searching, I have found some different forms of course evaluation that can be used within a constructivist-learning model. It has been suggested by Regina Public Schools and Saskatchewan Learning (2004) that there are many forms of student created evaluation such as:

A Closing Circle – a quick circle around the room in which each student has to share something learned that has a real application.

Exit Cards – a five-minute time for students to respond to a question posed by the teacher. The card is filled in and put into a designated container to be later read by the teacher.

Learning Logs – This is not assessed but serves the purpose to organize thoughts.

Reflective Journals – may be in the form of a blog or diary

Rubrics – used to facilitate peer assessment. The rubric could be teacher or student generated.

Write a letter – students can write a letter to themselves explaining what they have learned.

In regards to the assessment of student work, Nowak and Plucker (1999) identified four ways to better align learning and assessment. Those were;

Suggestion One: Stress that students are professionals in the field and assess them as if you were their supervisor.

Suggestion Two: If instruction is problem-based, assessment should be similarly structured.

Suggestion Three: Provide reasonable guidelines regarding your expectations for the students.

Suggestion Four: Don’t hold off on assessment until the end of the activity or unit; model real-world behavior, in which ongoing assessment occurs.

This aligns well with the IBO’s direction in assessment procedures. Teachers are encouraged to provide regular feedback to students and to use a variety of assessment forms. At my school we must record our assessment and evaluation. Like Trochim (2006) has defined, the most important basic distinction in evaluation types is that between formative and summative evaluation.

Currently my most used assessment types are:

Reflective Journals (Formative or Summative)
Rubrics (Summative)
Tests (Summative)
Presentations (Summative)
Mind Maps or Concept Maps (Formative or Summative)
Criteria Checklists (Formative)

For the purpose of assessing the students in this project they will make reflective journals via their blogs. Make a mind map about their job description and work. The criteria checklists will include skills (specific to the job to produce a podcast in the radio company), demonstrative knowledge about how to work in that job and attitudes displayed when working on the job. Input for the content of this checklist will be gathered from the students and other teachers involved in the project. The checklist will include the following:

Can write a descriptive paragraph about the job description
Able to work in accordance to the job description (anecdotal records)
Can correctly identify the skills needed to carry out tasks within the job
Demonstrates a positive attitude and enthusiasm to complete the tasks given
Understands how to seek help as difficulties arise
Understands the company mission and can talk about their personal contribution

These points have been taken from the original inquiry:

1. Role and responsibilities in an organizational structure
2. The relationship between the different departments of a company
3. What makes an organization effective?

The evaluation of the project will be gathered by making surveys of the school community about the podcasts. The students will write a letter to themselves describing what they have learned from their work in this project. These letters will be published on the class blogs and all students will be encouraged to comment on their peers’ posts. The students will also be required to write a reflection in the form of the ‘choose – act – reflect’ cycle. This will focus on the job that the student had to do in the class company.


Kickbusch, K 1996, Teaching for Understanding: Educating Students for Performance [online], Available from: [Accessed: 4/5/08].

Nowak, J and Plucker, J 1999, Do as I Say, Not as I Do? [online], Available from: [Accessed: 4/5/08].

Regina Public Schools and Saskatchewan Learning 2004, Constructivism - Knowledge Building in the Secondary Classroom [online], Available from: [Accessed: 4/5/08].

Trochim, W 2006, Introduction to Evaluation [online], Available from: [Accessed: 6/5/08].

Sunday, May 4, 2008

My Response to Jan's Wrap

Hi Jan,

Thank you for your review/wrap of my post. I have been a little out of touch as I lead a workshop recently and it took up all my time to get it ready. I lead a workshop about The Digital Divide between teachers and students for Heads and Coordinators from other Private schools here in Jakarta. It went well except there was no working Internet connection and my main focus was to teach how to set up a blog! The tech tried to configure my laptop but it didn't work. My laptop ended up having different proxys put on it and as a result I had to spend many frustrating hours after the workshop trying to find them and erase the codes. Ahhhhhhh - that's the last time I let anyone mess with my computer. To add to that has been off line here in Indonesia because of the movie Fitna (have you seen it?). The Indonesian government actually blocked Blogger, Friendster and You Tube.

For this design project (and a lot of my other teaching), I prefer to let the students contribute to designing assessment criteria but I must emphasize that the teacher is still the leader. I like to take ideas from the students and my partner teacher whilst trying to strike a balance with the focus areas that must be assessed. I find that often the students give me great input but it is very necessary to step back and check if the assessment has a balance between knowledge, skills and attitudes.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My new fave webtool - VoiceThread

What do you think?

Monday, April 21, 2008

2nd Discussion Activity

Hi Everyone,
I am truly sorry for my late posting. It is taking me a while to get my head around this. I am experiencing a rather steep learning curve here.

I have chosen a section of my original project outline for this discussion. This was at Shirley's request and although it confused me at first I can see why "less is more".

I have decided to focus on the section in which the learners will create a series of podcasts for the school community. You might remember that my original plan was to create and run an online radio station with my Grade 3 class. The podcasting part will be done in small groups. The main concept in this unit of learning is to give the students a real experience of how a company works by the interaction of its employees within different departments. The production of the podcasts will provide a focus activity allowing collaborative participation.

I have found the readings in the course to be very stimulating and as a result I have had many educational discussions and arguments with my fellow colleagues at school. There is quite a division at my school over the whole objectivist verses constructivist approach to teaching and learning.

I often find myself overwhelmed by the complexity of the whole design process. Just as soon as I think that I understand, I read some more and find myself right back at the beginning.

Thinking about the design elements of this project I can see where the Elaboration Theory fits in well with the flow of the sequence of activities. Reigeluth (2003) states that there are seven major strategy components. I have partnered them here with the corresponding learning activity:
1. Elaborative sequence (making a simple podcast first before making a more elaborate one)
2. Learning prerequisite sequences (learning the skills required for the job – editors learning the editing symbols, writers learning the script writing, advertisers earning to produce a jingle or track editors learning to edit a timeline
3. Summary (Learning to step back a see it as a whole. Keeping a journal of the learning process. The students will use their own blogs and the JPEG Blog for this)
4. Synthesis (learning to combine radio show elements such as music and voice and then making it flow into one podcast)
5. Analogies (comparing the parts of a podcast)
6. Cognitive strategies (Learning skills required such as cultivating a ‘radio voice’. Learning to work according to the job requirement)
7. Learner control (Making decisions within a group and as a company about the podcasts – their design, content and delivery.

The learners will have to produce a series of podcasts. Each of the seven strategies will be integrated into this activity. The seventh strategy will be given the most emphasis as the students will not only be required to produce a series of collaboratively made podcasts but also have control over the design, content and delivery of those podcasts.

I believe that this unit is very flexible in that the work and skills required to produce these podcasts will differ from student to student according to the task. For example, the skills to edit a text document are very different to the skills required to sing a jingle. This also caters to the different multiple intelligences within the class.

I was interested to read what a central role assessment plays in Instructional Design. I often struggle with assessment at my school as criterion based assessment is used for the end of semester report cards but that often doesn’t match with the learning outcomes of a unit of work. This is because I encourage a constructivist approach, which often results in a different product, that no longer fits that pre-determined criteria.

Siemens (2005) states that designers need to see learning as an activity without beginning or end. The podcasts will be a part of a learning cycle. As soon as one has been completed the class and the teacher will review it and a new podcast will be produced.

Using rubrics is encouraged at my school as a way of catering better to the constructivist approach. This allows a certain level of flexibility in that the teacher can make a rubric collaboratively with the students and that rubric can be made just prior to embarking on the activity. Isaacs (2007) states that there are three types of assessment; formative, summative and mixed. He said that summative assessment on which feedback is provided could be classed as mixed assessment.

By using a student designed rubric to assess the podcast, the student will get the benefit of understanding the criteria, estimating where they will fall and then receiving personalized written feedback which will be added to the rubric.

I most certainly agree that assessment needs to be given quickly, be individualized and be based on the performance not the student. I also agree that the assessment should be used to guide learners through roles and responsibilities that reflect real and relevant applications and contexts.
In regards to the assessment of the podcasts it will depend on the performance of the student. As this is a collaborative learning activity, the students will need to be given clear criteria based personal assessment requirements as well as group assessment requirements before they start making the podcasts to help maximize the end results. Each department; Management, Editors (language and track), Show Hosts and Announcers will have specific aims and objectives assigned accordingly. The ability to work collaboratively will be assessed through observation by the teacher, reflection writing and self assessment posted to their blogs.


Isaacs, G. (2001) Assessment for learning. Teaching and Educational Development Institute (TEDI), University of Queensland. Retrieved April 18th, 2008, from

Learning Theories Knowledgebase (2008, April). Elaboration Theory (Reigeluth) at Retrieved April 18th, 2008 from

Siemens, G. (2005). Learning development cycle: Bridging learning design and modern knowledge needs. Retrieved April 18th, 2008, from

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Living Their Lives Essentially Online

I watched this important documentary. The quote that made me LOL was from a father who said when trying to get his son's attention (his son is living in the same house) "I would be better to email my son that walk upstairs and try to talk to him". What will happen with this generation? In Indonesia where I am living there has been a lot of press lately about how Indonesia is ranked 7 in the world for consumption of online pornography. The scary part is that the majority of users are from grades 4 - 6 in Junior school! Here's the link to that important show