Extreme Learning – on the point of breakthrough??

We held our latest Extreme Learning meeting on Thursday.

David Gilmour and myself have been working on the idea of on-line templates for learners to use as a framework for their Extreme Learning projects.

As I’ve previously explained the template concept proved to be too restrictive for learners; technically too demanding for teachers to support; and limiting for those learners who wanted to set up their own project outwith the school setting.

As a consequence of these concerns David and I had been exploring the idea of a “toolbox” which learners could refer to for support but which didn’t limit their options in any way. We had also spent some time trying to work out a way in which we could tie in the four capacities and the curricular areas together into some form of formative assessment matrix.

On Thursday we took these findings and ideas to the group. After some discussion and small group sessions we came up with the following:

    • Templates are too restrictive – but we need something to provide support for learners;
    • Projects must be derived from research questions
    • Projects should require learners to actively demonstrate elements from each of the capacities
    • Rather than a “tool box” (“kids don’t use tool boxes any more”) we need a “skills box” – which through accessing simple icons could provide different levels of assistance and demand – “a bit like progressing through the levels of a computer game”
    • The idea of providing assessment outcomes would be a turn off – “translate outcomes into challenges”
    • The initiative becomes the “Extreme Learning Challenge” where people try to get to the higest level they can.
    • “Chunk” up the project development and let different people work on small manageable parts – if they then work we can gradually start to link these together – thanks to Kenneth McLaughlin for his link to Agile Software Development. Some chunks might work within a particular subject area e.g. maths, others within a particular age group; others focussing upon a particular capcity.
    • Target a few people who want to learn this way in the first instance.
    • Assessment must be formative
    • Seek to engage a number of schools in this development to create a momentum within the authority – and beyond.
    • “We don’t need summative assessment” – summative assessment is used to provide a shorthand way to show that you can do something – “I’ve got an ‘A’ in Higher Maths (I don’t by the way!) – so I must have some mathematical talent”. However, if I have projects which other people can look at for evidence of what I can do, then the need for summative assessment of projects is not longer required. 
    • Their projects become part of their e-portfolio.

Linking with something I came across yesterday I wonder of we could build something akin to the Productive Pedagogies  into the  challenge elements – particularly in relation to depth of knowledge and understanding, and connectedness.

Our final decision as a group was to meet again for a whole day but this time with the most important group – who have so far not been involved in it’s development – the learners themselves. We intend to set up a session where representatives from our group will bring pupils from their schools/groups. By engaging with the learners themselves we hope that we can begin to shape our ideas up into something which can make real difference to the learning process .

I wonder of there’s a games designer out there who might like to help up on this one?

2 thoughts on “Extreme Learning – on the point of breakthrough??

  1. Excellent idea Ollie, maybe a primary version as well for the younger children?

Comments are closed.