There’s no doubt, in my mind at least, that a well tended course Weblog can deliver more information about what a student has learned than just about any standardized exam we can come up with. Unless, of course the standardized exam is to identify and reflect upon the learning evidenced in the Weblog. It would be so simple, right? Take the goals and objectives of the class. Heck, for that matter, take the state standards and say to students “Here, find where you’ve done this in your Weblog. Reflect on what it took to learn it. If you can’t find evidence of the standard, reflect on why. What prevented you from reaching that goal or understanding that concept? What do you think you need at this point in order to master it?”
We all know this: 95% of the facts and figures and formulas and definitions we “learned” in school are long gone from our brains. But the processes that we learned to learn stay with us. If they actually create learning, of course.
Konrad Glogowski writes:
When I first looked at the exam I used last year, I realized that it wouldn’t be very effective in helping me collect any evidence of learning. First of all, I already have that evidence. After months of blogging not only as individual students but also (perhaps primarily) as a community of learners, my students have already shown to me how much they have learned about course content (which they have co-generated with me and each other) and how much they have improved as writers and independent thinkers. So, I asked myself, Do I even need this final exam? What is it going to show other than what I have already gleaned from participating in the class blogosphere?
It’s a great question, and in many ways it gets to the heart of what student blogs can do when a teacher takes the time to understand blogroom management. (Bad, I know.) When communities of learners work through a topic, share in the construction of the resources and the meaning of the work, and contribute the results for others to see, the learning happens.