Because of institutional requirements and societal norms, I’m required to give you a grade. This grade falls between 0-100 and in some way is intended to inform you and others how well you did in this course. The importance that number is given is appalling. While I do my best to provide you with some outcomes, indicators, rubrics and feedback I still feel my assessment of your learning is fairly trivial or at best a thin slice indicator of what you’ve learned. I realize many would love to believe that the number or grade you get is pure, accurate and will provide future instructors, institutions or employers an indication of your proficiency, understanding or knowledge. If anyone of these groups were to ask me about you, I could tell them what I’ve seen and observed. That may have value, the grade, not so much.
I also recognized that many of you took charge of your own learning, asking to change assignments, finding alternatives and creating meaning for yourselves. That’s what I wanted. While it wasn’t really an “anything goes” approach we were able to negotiate some ideas about what would be valuable for you to pursue inside the broad goals and guidelines of this class.
At the beginning of the term I told you I had 4 goals for you. I wanted you to see that:
Learning is social and connected
Learning is personal and self-directed
Learning is shared and transparent
Learning is rich in content and diversity
I hope I succeeded in that. Don’t rank me from 0-100 but provide me with feedback and ideas to make me a better teacher.
As I’ve told you before, you all are the winners in our current system of education. You’ve come through 12+ years of education understanding what it takes to do well in school and please others. There’s nothing wrong with this in principle, however if that’s all this class is, and the other classes you take, that seems like a waste. That system may have worked for you but it doesn’t work for everyone and certainly continuing to aid students in playing the game of school needs to stop. Personalizing learning and being able to take away clear and not so clear understandings, skills and ideas is what really matters. That doesn’t mean we don’t have to learn specific knowledge and skills but we have to move beyond that. I know that for most of you, you did.
So if you look at that number and it doesn’t make sense to you, I apologize. I try like crazy to make it meaningful but always get frustrated trying to make that happen. In the end, you tell me, what you learned. I would love to be like this guy and give you all A’s. Ranking you makes little sense to me. Helping and guiding you to become better at what you want to do is something I’m deeply committed to. I’m hoping I was able to do that and that we didn’t’ let a little thing like a number get in the way. Your challenge as future educators is to figure out how to minimize the meaning of that number and get your students to learn inspite of that. That won’t be easy. Will we ever have schools that truly model and commit to lifelong learning? I realize I’m dreaming but wouldn’t it be great if we could just learn because we want to? Idyllic, I know but it’s worth pursuing.
what a great letter. this links in with some of my thoughts about studying medicine. about the limitation of a marking system that supports rote learning practices and cramming (because it works!).
i tweeted a joke the other day:
what do you call the medical student who came last in the class? doctor.
it’s a joke, but for me this confirms what many clinicians have told me. that the marks you get as a medical student have very little correlation with your abilities (or role) as a doctor.
and the way medical students are assessed has very little to do with the pragmatic reality of being a doctor. it is exceedingly rare that as a practising doctor you have no resources on hand (be they written, electronic, or other doctors!) to help you find a solution to a problem, or make a decision. then there are the protocols and guidelines, and even checklists and pathways (although don’t get me started on pathways…) to makes sure that best practice is adhered too. yet in an exam as a medical student you’ll be expected to have rote learnt much of the material.
but of course, it’s only available in the US (and Japan… not sure why just Japan got a guernsey) at the moment.
it doesn’t really make sense to me why they don’t just roll it out internationally. they have the experience, the have the capacity, and i’m assuming they’ve done some serious beta testing already.
anyway, i’m quite interested in this from a health perspective. you can specify a maximum number of calories for recipes you’re looking for. as well as defining key ingredients.
with obesity being such an issue in western society perhaps this will help people manage their intake, because in the end the equation is simple. to lose weight make sure calories in is less than calories out.
i look forward to trying it out when australia gets added to the list.
Choreographer Lucy Guerin is looking for untrained male dancers to be part of her latest show.
If you think you can’t dance, then ‘Untrained’ is for you!
It’s a professional, contemporary dance show featuring two entirely untrained dancers, and they’re holding auditions in Bendigo for you to be part of it.
Acclaimed choreographer Lucy Guerin is behind this intriguing production, and as she explained the concept to Fiona Parker.
“It’s sort of a comparison between how dancers that are highly trained approach activities compared to just your regular ordinary person,” she says.
“I think the interesting thing about the work is that we do get to see how amazing (professional) dancers are… (and) see how interesting it is to watch the effort of someone who perhaps can’t do these things quite as well, but how intriguing it is to just watch that focus and effort go into attempting some of these things.”
Auditions are on in Bendigo on Friday 11th March, 2011, with the tour through Central, Western and North West Victoria in July.
For more information call Anne at the Capital on (03) 5434 6007.
lucy guerin is an accomplished choreographer. i’ve always enjoyed her work - and i particularly like the fact that she’s putting up archives of her older material on her website. some of these old works were simply stunning for the simplicity of design and focus on dance alone. i also saw them when contemporary dance was very new to me - so they’ve left a big mark.
I haven’t seen untrained so really can’t comment on what it’s like. while the premise is interesting, i think it’s a bit of a one trick pony. it appears to use task based choreography to expose the difference between un/trained bodies for some entertainment - which is not necessarily a bad thing. but what i find fascinating about untrained bodies is not how well/poorly they can execute instructions (as compared to a trained body), but what they can convey in movement that isn’t informed by years of patterning exercises developed with their own understanding of dance/choreography. rather than imposed rules to make untrained dance, i think it’s far more engaging to see people using resources/tools to create their own dance.
and i look forward to the next spill that sees a change in leaders of the Liberal party. it can’t be too long to wait for that to happen.
the latest shameful thing he’s done is request donations from liberal supporters to help fight the proposed Flood Levy (which aims to support the QLD people in rebuilding their communities). clearly it would be more useful for people to donate that money directly to organisations helping respond to the natural disasters occurring in Australia. given that a cyclone is about to wreak more havoc on Queensland, they’re going to need more support.
it’s poor form.
but i also think it’s perfectly fine for him to make that request. the reality of our poorly designed political system (not that i’ve got a better system to propose) is that public funds give political parties the ability to promote their causes and influence public opinion. and public opinion is everything, even if it’s misled or based on fear.
the other reason i think it’s fine is that we’re a rich country. and there are many many people who could give Tony a donation and give the flood victims a donation and send some money to third world countries. at the end of all that giving, they’d still be doing well. particularly on a global perspective.
like a lot of people (currently 6 million users), i’ve been using Evernote regularly for the last year or so. and it has improved in leaps and bounds over that time by introducing support for more platforms, creating shareable and editable notebooks, and plenty more.
so far though, it’s been useful for my study purposes. but now i’m working in the hospital setting i can see more uses for it - and the potential for both making my work easier and patient care safer.
i’ve previously mentioned the importance and role of documentation, and this aspect of clinical practice becomes even more vital in handover and referral situations.
here’s an example of how Evernote could be used for clinical documentation, in a way that would fit in with the existing workflow at hospitals (which is generally inefficient and cumbersome).
with the notebook sharing feature of Evernote you could have, for example, a Surgical Ward notebook. within that notebook individual notes could be created for patients using their UR numbers/surnames/whatever. it would be possible to create further subnotes for each patient as well if needed.
each surgical team could then share the notebook (need to use a premium version of Evernote to allow all members to edit the notes) for documentation for the patients. with the checkbox function of Evernote it is possible to build ‘todo’ lists for each note or patient - this would be particularly useful for handover. any tasks still to be done would already appear on the new rotations synced notebooks - no chance of losing that information or not having it available. particularly with Evernote available on mobile and desktop platforms.
what would be even better would be to utilise the features of Livescribe, a digital and ink pen that captures writing and is integrated with Evernote. the only downside that it currently needs specially printed paper to work. but, what this would mean is that the usual written notes could be taken while on ward rounds and seeing patients, and these notes would automatically be syncronised to the medical team devices Evernote notebooks.
of course, there will be issues with internet access for syncing. hospitals are notorious for lack of wireless and 3G reception. but having Evernote on hardwired network computers in possible as well. in terms of security all transactions are SSL - which should meet most organisational security requirements.
if anyone has been using a similar system, i’d love to know. i hope to trial this out sometime in the coming months. any comments welcome.