The concept of student involved assessment is hard to deny as a powerful learning practice. Students taking care of their own learning and being able to use meta-cognition to dissect understanding and progress and seek ideas and support to learn more. The work of Rick Stiggins and others provides extensive research into this practice as the most important component leading to student achievement.
Whether or not you’ve done any study of this concept, this video does more than about anything I’ve seen recently to support this notion.
Here’s why I think this is one of the best examples of students owning their learning and assessment.
First, the young boy demonstrates what he already knows. Using a simple video camera he models and speaks to his current level of understanding. Second, he identifies what he doesn’t know, not simply by saying he doesn’t know but by offering some suggestions about what might be wrong but questioning his methodology. And here’s where it gets interesting. Instead of him floundering around with the people in his local vicinity who may not be able to help him he reaches out. Reading the comments below the video you’ll see at this writing 10 comments that are very likely going to allow him to learn more. Lest you think this is some obscure example, the first time I viewed this there were only just over 100 views. That’s a pittance in youtube terms. Anyone can get 100 views but that’s all it took for learning to happen. (Note: Since this video was posted, the comments have been disabled, but at the time this was a valuable technique, today I would likely not recommend Youtube as a space to gather this type of feedback)
I do know that a teacher helped him learn this. In fact, that teacher was his mother. It’s not simply a matter of posting a video and awaiting responses, this video was tagged and categorized very well. Without this understanding, it’s unlikely that he would get 10 quality answers. It’s not at all surprising to me that people are willing to share their knowledge and help him out. I experience that every day as part of living in a connected way via social networks.
This represents some of the best ways to help classroom teachers and students understand the power and value of technology. I realize this boy never thought much about what he was doing with technology beyond helping him figure out how to start a fire. As a teacher, it would be very easy to assess his understanding but more importantly, HE COULD assess his understanding and create his own path to learn more. Now, what if all kids did this?