PIs: Lucien Vattel, Paula Hidalgo, Michelle Riconscente
In this Cyberlearning: Transforming Education EXP project, a collaborative team of assessment specialists, learning scientists, K12 educators, educational technologisst, and informal science educators are exploring the design and feasibility of a tool called the Learning Lens, a mobile multi-media tool for gathering data in the midst of learning activities that can shed light on learners’ capabilities and understanding and the interactions between learners and educators. The system’s design is informed by ideas of evidence-based assessment; it is designed to allow a user to collect the kinds of data that can be used to support arguments about what learners understand and are capable of, including formal products of learners, their presentations or explanations, discussions among peers, and interactions with people and objects in the learning environment.
Such a tool could play important roles in the the education of education practitioners. Pre-service and in-service teachers might gather data sporadically in their classrooms to use in discussions with others about their practice. Or, those observing educators in practice might gather data to be used later in reflecting on educational practices.
As well, such a tool holds promise for enhancing assessment. While paper-and-pencil testing can be used to assess understanding and some disciplinary skills, it is quite a bit more challenging to objectively assess complex social, communication, reasoning, and meta-cognitive skills. The Learning Lens is being developed to promote evidence-based analysis of such skills. With the tool, researchers or teacher observers or teachers themselves would collect data showing what learners understand or can do. Such data capture holds promise for allowing educators and researchers to iteratively and collaboratively document learner development, develop assessment rubrics, track students’ real-time growth in situ, and identify outcomes of pedagogical moves and tactics.