These are my notes from the opening session and keynotes at the COSN 2008 conference in Washington DC. My thoughts and comments are IN ALL CAPS.

2008 CoSN District Team of the Year: Bryan ISD!

Priority for CoSN and the ETAN network: funding for educational technology

from 5:30 – 7:30, annual COsN auction
– lots of cool stuff to bid on
– iPods and more!

Comments by Chris Dede
– will present
– share video by another contributor
– he will also present via teleconference

central

good book: “Knowing What Students Know: The Science and Design of Educational Assessment”
– sketches out many of the central ideas about assessment
– most fundamental idea: people are dectectives who are doing assessments
– making inferences

The Assessment triangle:
– cognition
– observations
– interpretations

Formative/Diagnostic vs. Summative
– some of the low hanging fruit we don’t do well today is formative assessment
– interwoven formative assessment can be very powerful, so the summative assessment is richer

Data about performances is an untapped resource
– web 2.0 is an untapped resource for formative student assessment
– students are generating event logs, records, can be rich or sketchy but offer a new type of data that can be used to improved assessment
– cognition is distributed across human minds, to

Example: MUVE (virtual environment
– an “Alice in Wonderland” experience where users enter a virtual space that has been configured for learning

3 rounds of NSF funding, have been building a rich learning environment and now exploring it
– video of news report about “River City”

active data that complements more conventional data via the River City project
– it comes automatically, is timestamped
– can track what every student is doing
– gives us the opportunity to do the types of inferences I was talking about earlier
– where students went, much more…

this is not an easy task
– I cannot tell you today I know how to do good formative assesment today with data like this
– maybe in 5 years with data mining I’ll be able to

as leaders, CEOs, etc
– think about ALL the technologies you are using, think about creating data warehouses that archive that data
– that is going to be very valuable to you and researchers
– while the data you are collecting now may not help the students you are teaching now, it can become a helpful baseline for the work we are doing

Presentation from OECD representative over video

ERROR MESSAGE ON THE SCREEN: UNABLE TO OUTPUT THE VIDEO TO AN EXTERNAL DEVICE. THE LOVELY RESULT OF PLAYING VIDEO ON WIN XP

responses from students;
– I love research papers because I am a linear thinker, like pre-determined length
– I hate research appers: web thinker
– the video game thinker

If I am a 21st century employer I want ALL these people in my business in organization

in my generation, really only linear thinkers were supported with technology

global talent pool has changed dramatically, and individual contributions of countries have changed
– US is really taking advantage of flat world
– “first mover advantage” the US gained after WWII, and that is eroding quickly

graph: school completion: US was in the lead
– graph adding other countries

many countries are close to ensuring

now Dr Richard Hersh
– Council for Aid to Education

“How Do You Know? Assessing Learning”
– I’ve been working for the past several years on this question
– and how do students know?

I really like the assessments that PISA is doing
problem is: if you are trying to assess 21st century skills, you are trying to figure out what people can DO with knowledge
– our project that was for colleges is now at K-12
– “college and work readiness assessment”
– we think if writing as “thinking made public”

key: create performance opportunities for students
– we ask: what is it we can ask students to do that if they did it well, we’d

Bloom’s taxonomy
assessment is really a form of teaching and learning
to the degree people understand how to become their own diagnostic, and teachers can gather data and feed it back to students
– NOT seeing it as summative, instead view it as continues and embedding

assessment results linked to objectives
– timely feedback
– appropriate feedback
– formative / diagnostic
– more…

Traditionally educators think of tightly coupled curriculum

instead we propose knowing how we are going to assess at the outset:
– objectives – assessment – curriculum – pedagogy

we have to be able to …

collective outcomes
– critical thinking
– analytical reasoning
– problem solving
– writing

everybody’s business is nobody’s business
everybody’s business IS everybody’s business

I SHOULD START A BUSINESS PROVIDING CONFERENCE SESSION PODCASTING SERVICES TO CONFERENCES

Life ain’t multiple choice questions
– identifying issues and information most relevant to problem at hand
– marshalling and organizing information
– making a persuasive arguement
– presenting clear support for a position

it would be useful to measure gain / value add
– what do kids look like at 8th grade for the indicators we care about, and what do they look like when they leave

allows comparison between “genetically alike” schools
– CLA score on the y axis (collegiate ___ aptitude)
– ACT score on the x axis

schools can be charted over time
– going to school makes a difference, but WHERE you go to school makes a difference too

THIS IS IMPORTANT RESEARCH I THINK

The task: 90 minute real-life problems
– example: the mayor asks you to evaluate the validity of a proposal for reducing crime, and assess the validity of the proposer’s criticism of the mayor’s plan to increase the number of officers on the police force
– you are given a folder that contains documents of everything you need to know
– using ONLY those documents, you are asked to prepare a response

THIS REMINDS ME OF THE INTERVIEW PROCESS AND ROLE-PLAYING ACTIVITIES I WENT THROUGH IN 1995 APPLYING FOR THE US FOREIGN SERVICE

before the student, you have a case study
– you are asking students to engage in a case study
– we are saying you CAN assess high power learning activities like these
– this is a form of pedagogy

when teachers see these forms of pedagogy, we can help teachers create their own case studies and assessments which can be used in this way

I THINK THESE LOOK GREAT. I LOVE THE IDEA OF STARTING THE ASSESSMENT CONVERSATION AT THE START

question response about why portfolio assessment “failed”
– problem with portfolio, you get low inter and intra rater reliability
– that is the same problem with essay tests
– that says a lot about problems of getting people to understand rubrics

assessment of higher order skills is VERY difficult
– within the limits of multiple choice, PISA is great and better than most of what we are doing here in this countries

we are going to have to get assessments
– NCLB has taught us what you can assess is what the curriculum is going to be

very nice start of the study I referenced at the beginning
– example of students knowing or not knowing 1492, one can give a sophisticated answer and one cannot
– communities can understand the argument when we make it well

where we bog down:
1- we may not have a good assessment to substitute it, but we need to get communities willing to invest in them and invest instruction
2- the other part is getting communities to see that students really DO need these 21st century outcomes

one reason we have NCLB is the business community has backed it, even tho they are arguably the ones most damaged

we have a challenge: it is NOT just a matter of waiting till the people working with assessments come out with better ones
– we need to make the case NOW that those skills matter

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