Hopefully, by the time my 6th grader gets out of high school, his teachers will be using a web-based learning management system (LMS) like Moodle to receive and track student assignments. There are LOTS of reasons a LMS can make life easier for both teachers and students. A big one is it can eliminate student excuses like, “The dog ate my homework.” It can also be very helpful for teachers (like English teachers) who must deal with large numbers of student assignments each term, which can easily be misplaced or misfiled.

DSC02378
Creative Commons License photo credit: mr.l

I’m thankful my son’s school and school district utilizes a web-based system for tracking student grades. It’s helpful at times like today (the end of a quarter) when we’re looking at progress and particularly paying attention to missing assignments not graded yet by a teacher.

Mariners Win
Creative Commons License photo credit: Jonathan Assink

This term, my son has been writing a LOT more for his English class. He’s able to word process most of his assignments, which is a big help to him. I’ve asked him to publish some of his writing this term to our family learning blog, and to date he’s published several things. Today, he published several other past assignments which he had turned in to his teacher, but for some reason aren’t yet showing up in the online gradebook. I emailed his teacher inquiring about those missing grades, and was able to include hyperlinks to several of the assignments from the start of the semester which were not graded yet.

It remains to be seen if sharing hyperlinks to past assignments like this will be beneficial to his teacher, and result in a grade for an assignment which otherwise might have gone ungraded or been a zero. It definitely is good, in my view, to archive his writing and be able to share it with others, especially grandparents. Our blog is setup so he can publish his work directly. I’m not proofreading or editing this work after he has finished it for class / turned it in. He has a choice whether or not to publish, and did in fact opt not to publish one of his assignments that is missing today. I think it’s very important to give students (and our own children) the decision making power about publishing and sharing their own work. This is an important lesson in intellectual property, and I don’t think we can start it too soon. If I share and how I share my work is MY decision as an individual. Certainly my ability or the the utility of sharing work and thoughts naturally is affected by our employment and professional associations, particularly as adults, but ultimately we each remain free agents when it comes to the expression of our ideas. Freedom of expression is someting we each have a right to, regardless of geography, nationality or other factors. Freedom of expression is addressed in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Platforms for idea sharing are vital. I shared the following quotation from Marta Kagan, via Seth Godin, last July in the post, “What’s your media platform for knowledge sharing?

The word blog is irrelevant. What’s important is that it is now common, and will soon be expected, that every intelligent person (and quite a few unintelligent ones) will have a media platform where they share what they care about with the world.”

I’m delighted we have a chance to share our ideas and knowledge products as a family together on our blog. As time marches on, and more people grow saavy to the value and importance of digital portfolios chronicling student work, I predict “platforms for idea sharing” like this will continue to proliferate.

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  • http://www.cornerstonecougars.org/cca-life.asp Private Schools Gwinnett

    Our school uses renweb, not a family learning blog, but gives us “almost-realtime” updates on our students’ grades, completed assignments, etc. I love the blog idea. Something to noodle. Thanks.

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