On authenticity, assessment and aspiration

Sometimes I think that authentic tasks are based on the tastes and whims of the educated elite. Is a literary podcast really authentic for a 15-year-old? Are hipster food trucks really the most efficient way to learn about business? As Doug Lemov once said, it’s our role to find the shortest path to learning.

Rebecca Birch powerfully critiques podcasting and other authentic projects used in the classroom. She is writing specifically about the secondary English classroom, I can really comment on that. It did make me think about podcasting in the primary classroom though.

Podcasting has been one of my favourite classroom activities for years.

As a teacher, do I really have the real-world skills to teach interviewing, sound editing, research and the mechanics of discursive writing, on top of critically analysing a text? If I had both the time and expertise then maybe I could justify this choice. Usually, with a task like this, the crafting of the assessment itself happens through many hours of student struggle outside the classroom. It’s difficult to justify the opportunity cost.

I certainly don’t have those real-world skills. I have podcasted a bit though.

Earlier this week I tweeted from our school account:

When I observed my class being completely absorbed in writing scripts for their podcast. Getting primary pupils to edit their writing and think about making their oral communication effective is sometimes tricky for me. Audience, or perceived audience, can make a difference. For Scottish primary teachers at least the activity of podcasting covers a large number of the experiences we are supposed to supply to our pupils.

I don’t think a podcast needs to take so much of the classes time that it would be detrimental. Especially as it give the pupils a chance to practise so many of the skills we are trying to teach.

Had I spent several weeks teaching visual design, sound production or video production skills, those students would have been several weeks further away from their ambition to undertake tertiary study.

In the primary class at least we don’t need to spend those weeks. Audio podcasting is a lot simpler than video. We are not aiming for a professional grade BBC podcast. We are trying to give our class motivation to practise their talking, listening, reading and writing. Communication with their peers and an audience. For me simple podcasting provides a great opportunity for that.

The idea

#FeedReaderFriday: A Suggestion for Changing our Social Media Patterns | Chris Aldrich

Feed Readers

Just after I discover RSS in the “flowering” of theScotEduBlogs community I got interested in aggregating RSS and creating specialised readers. Back in around 2006 I was blogging some ideas which lead to Robert Jones & Pete Liddle creating the first iteration of the ScotEduBlogs aggregation. Later I moved the site to WordPress using the FeedWordPress plug-in. I’d seen this in use on the marvellous DS106 site which aggregates blogs of students and open participants of the many iterations of the notorious Digital Storytelling course. The flow on DS106 has pulled in 91749 (at time of writing) posts since 2010.

ScotEduBlogs is at a bit of a low at the moment, there are not so many folk blogging about education in Scotland. I still love the idea of ‘specialist’ or community aggregations or feed readers. Of course the site has an RSS feed that can be subscribed to. Dave Winer’s FeedLand, which I noted in a previous #FeedReaderFriday, can also create ‘News Products’ with similar results.

Folk to Follow

I like to follow some human aggregators, even better if they add their own opinions. One of my favourites in Arron Davis his Read Write Collect blog is an IndieWeb style collector of replies, bookmarks and other responses. RSS.

Some of Tom Woodward’s Bionic Teaching – utan blixt consists of his harvest of links with brief comment. This might be auto posted, perhaps from pinboard? He also posts about higher ed use of technology and, of particular interest to me, his work with WordPress. RSS

This post is part of a series with a wee bit about readers and a couple of suggestions of feeds to follow.

Replied to Brian @brianb@fosstodon.org (Fosstodon)
Here's what I want: A keystroke to open a window to a blank WordPress editor. Not the block, nothing fancy. A white box. Maybe a select or check for categories and tags. That's all.

If you are happy using a few #IndieWeb plugins and setting up indieauth & micropub you could use quill:
https://quill.p3k.io

The idea

#FeedReaderFriday: A Suggestion for Changing our Social Media Patterns | Chris Aldrich

Back around 2005 I was learning to blog with my class and exploring blogging. I was on a train with Ewan Mcintosh going to a conference or training event. Ewan was using NetNewWire and showed me how he used it. I’d already got the app, probably from a Mac magazine cover disk, but not really understood it. Watching Ewan read, take notes & blog, everything clicked. I do not think there have been many days since I’ve not used RSS.

Feed Readers

Micro.blog if a interesting product. Part blogging service part network. To me micro.blog’s superpower is that the community is open to anyone with an RSS feed. I don’t host with micro.blog but send in a category of my blog which becomes a first class member of the community. Using the app I can read other micro bloggers, some hosted with micro.blog some elsewhere. I can also add any RSS feed to micro.blog so I can follow them without leaving the app. I don’t do this often but it is handy. The app is not my main feed reader but a handy additional tool. Micro.blog is also one of the nicest online communities I’ve come across. Manton has carefully designed it to avoid some the problems of other networks, no follower accounts or favourites. Micro.blog has a lot more than this brief note covers. Manton also wrote the Indie Microblogging book. You can read the whole thing online.

Folk to follow

So a couple of groups I find it interesting to follow via RSS

Caught by the River | RSS Feed

Caught by the River is an arts/nature/culture clash … an online meeting place for pursuits of a distinctly non-digital variety — walking, fishing, looking, thinking, birdsong and beer, adventure and poetry; life’s small pleasures, in all their many flavours — it was, and still is, about stepping out of daily routines to re-engage with nature. Finding new rhythms. Being.

Open Culture | RSS Feed Hard to describe, at the top of the page today: A List of 1,065 Medieval Dog Names: Nosewise, Garlik, Havegoodday & More. The best free cultural & educational media on the web

This post is part of a series with a wee bit about readers and a couple of suggestions of feeds to follow.