E-Assessment Scotland 2012 – part two
Continued from Part One…
I’ve been interested in gamification for some time but have only just begun looking at gamifying a unit that I currently teach. Somewhat related to gamification is Open Badges, which is a way of awarding achievement with digital badges that can be displayed and managed on the web (think of modern day Scout or Guide style badges). It’s also similar to the ‘achievements’ available in some video game systems such as XBOX Live, so I think it is something that could have meaning for some students.
At E-Assessment Scotland I went along to Doug Belshaw’s seminar to find out more and discovered that it’s possible to create and issue your own badges related to any subject you want. The badges contain a unique identifier so that they identify the person that it’s awarded to (so it’s easy to check if someone has stolen a badge), and that badges can be endorsed by individuals or organisations (a mark of credibility). In fact, it’s quite possible for badges to be used in place of certificates for courses or qualifications.
Although Open Badges is still at an early stage of development I think I will investigate further and try to introduce the system to some of my college classes this year.
Doug was followed by June Wigfield & Caroline Patterson of Stevenson College in Edinburgh. Their presentation, Collaborative Eventful Assessments, spoke about integrating a Digital Culture unit with their course in Events Management so that their students could benefit from using information technology and gain credit for it. They have been using online collaboration software called Zoho and are looking at using virtual worlds to facilitate communication and meetings between students.
The final keynote of the day was from Cristina Costa of the University of Salford, who presented Feeding Forward – The Role of the Participatory Web in Formative Assessment. The presentation continued the theme of feedback and looked at digital tools to enable feedback and reflection. Cristina advocated the use of social networks and collaborative tools for this purpose.
It’s always good to attend a conference that sparks ideas and genuinely makes you change your established practice. Sadly with education budget cuts it is becoming increasingly difficult to attend conferences and external CPD events. This is even moreso the case for classroom teachers, and many conferences end up being attended by managers rather than practitioners. During my wait in the queue at the start of the conference I chatted briefly with one of the other delegates who asked if I’d attended before. I hadn’t and she said she was certain I’d enjoy the day as it was definitely a conference for practitioners. She was right!