Using blogs to support Assessment is for Learning

If AiFL means nothing to you, you're probably not a teacher. It stands for Assessment is For Learning, and it's about improving learning using some proven techniques. There's solid evidence, for example, that formative assessment techniques lead to better learning. (See, for example, the section headed Why Take Formative Assessment Seriously on P2 of
this look-inside extract from Paul Black's book,
Assessment for Learning: Putting it into Practice .) If you want to know more,
Learning and Teaching Scotland have an
AiFL web site .

What's this got to do with Exc-el? Exc-el is about improving teaching and learning too. The common thread is IT, particularly the internet, and its potential to enable new ways of working. If IT could help with AiFL, it could help improve learning. There are opportunities.
Personal learning plannning , for example, is causing
controversy because of the bureaucratic burden involved.

But what if IT could help with that? That's what Robert Whiteside at Haddington Infant School is exploring. By using weblogs as an engaging tool to support
personal learning planning , he aims to find out if they can help beat the bureaucracy. Not only that, because they're on the web, and interactive, a new possibility exists for improving
partnership with parents in the process.

Today we worked out a plan for using
WordPress blogs. The idea is to set up a blog for each child in P3, and use these as
learning logs . Robert sees opportunities for using the blog commenting features to provide a mechanism for
peer feedback , too.

Each child will have an individual login with the rights they need to post new entries to their blog and to reply to comments. The "master keys" to each blog will be held by the teacher, so that any incoming comments can be moderated. This will provide a high degree of safety. The owners of the blogs, of course, will not be identifiable.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this goes. First trial is planned for tomorrow, so we'll soon know…