Home > Conference, CPD, teaching > E-Assessment Scotland 2012 – part two

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!

  1. September 2, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Just to echo the point about budgets being tight at the moment; when we ran the first eAssessment Scotland conference in 2009, we knew that expensive delegate fees (along with costs of cover, travel and accomodation) were a very real barrier to staff attending. That’s why we took the decision not to charge a fee – access to the Day Conference in Dundee, and all the online presentations have been (and always will be) free.

    Although the conference is free to delegates, there are very real costs associated with the running and organisation of the event. We raise funds through sponsorship, exhibition spaces and the contributions of organising partners. We run on a non-profit basis, and charge exhibitor fees based on what we need to break even.

    Presenters (such as Colin) fund their own travel to the conference – some even travelling from overseas at considerable cost to take part. Keynote speakers forego any fees and volunteer their time to take part – and our keynotes this year, David Boud, Russell Stannard and Cristina Costa speak regularly on the international circuit and are recognised as being the leading lights in their respective subject areas.

    My own company, Soffed, which I run with Sarah Price, Craig Mill and Carol Walker, was formed after the JISC Regional Support Centre in Edinburgh was closed last year. We continue to organise free events, such as eAssessment Scotland, with the help of partners such as the University of Dundee (notably David Walker). It can be difficult, as the weeks we devote to the running of the event is time that we miss out on earning an income, but we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t believe it was worth it for the community.

    So, if you managed to miss eAssessment Scotland 2012, then why not leave a space in your calendar for eAssessment Scotland 2013 and experience for yourself, the UK’s largest conference dedicating to exploring how technology can enhance assessment practice.

    You won’t regret it, I promise…


  2. Kate Farrell
    September 3, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    We\’re planning on using open badges as we go through the NC and NPA courses this year. Perhaps a group of us should get together? There\’s a JISC group for open badges: OPENBADGES@jiscmail.ac.uk

    • colinmaxwell
      September 4, 2012 at 11:11 am

      Yes, I’m certainly interested in cooperating on open badges for the courses.

  1. December 21, 2012 at 5:40 pm
  2. January 17, 2013 at 11:16 pm

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