Sunday, February 28, 2016

CBE and it's Possibilities

Anthony Cody doesn't like the Competency Based Education ideas of Tom Vander Ark and Clayton Christensen, and neither do I. But, Competency Based Education doesn't need to be done the way Vander Ark is proposing. It can be done in a way that Cody supports; although, he doesn't really say much about what he does support in his recent blog post which was reprinted by Valerie Strauss in the Washington Post.  I don't think Anthony Cody is fully informed, yet, about the possibilities of CBE and its various other names - standards based grading, student learning outcome reporting, and others.

Cody likes authentic work, driven by the teachers, not by some external body; so do I. I've been pushing for that for many years. I was an Open School teacher for the sixteen years I taught in the Minneapolis Public Schools. Where I differ from Cody is in the use of technology. I don't see technology as the bad guy. I see technology as a way for teachers to connect with more kids in more ways. And, I see technology as a way to record learning activities and report about those learning activities. Public school teachers need to report - to the kids, to the parents, to the principal, to the district, to the state. Using current technology makes that a whole lot easier than using the technology of paper and copiers and chalk and mimeographs. Using current technology makes it possible for teachers to report about the learning activities of the students according to a set of defined competencies, or not. Those competencies can be defined any way by anybody. Getting agreement on what needs to be learned by when is a discussion that has been happening for a very long time and will be continuing for a very long time. I wrote about how I think CBE could be done using Moodle's new feature set in my previous post. 

I've written several blog posts supporting portfolios, and challenging Vander Ark and Christensen.  Go to the little search box (on my screen it's in the upper left corner) and type in - 'portfolio' or 'Vander Ark' or 'Christensen' to see the many posts I've written previously that mention them.

Let's not make technology or reporting on learning activities the bad guy.  I'm not even sure that Vander Ark and Christensen are bad guys.  They're definitely businessmen, though, and not teachers. There's a difference between a teacher's perspective and a businessman's, and when one is not fully informed about the possibilities one can end up looking like something other than a good guy.

1 comment:

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