Public education has long been scrutinized for how it is serving today’s diverse learners. In an effort to measure and communicate with stakeholders the academic progress of public schools, federal and state assessments have been implemented to examine if and how well academic standards are being met. These high stake tests consume much needed instructional time, have cultural bias tendencies, and have been proven to be inaccurate indicators of successful learning.
Many alternative evaluation tools have been recommended to more accurately measure academic gains, but what if schools were more transparent with what goes on in the classroom? What if learner work were shared on a wider level so the work could speak for itself? And what does this sharing of academic tasks in a public space mean to educators and learners? Wouldn’t this transparency address concerns of stakeholders and possibly have other affordances for both learner and educator?
I am committed to positively transforming education. One way to accomplish this, is sharing what’s happening in my classroom. As an educator-learner, I choose to publish student work as well as my own reflections via, blogs, Twitter, discussion boards, conference presentations, webinars, and various education organization sites. When student work is broadly shared, it helps the audience to understand what is possible, what can be improved, what could be replicated in other schools, and what could be reenvisioned.
Being transparent with learning also adds another layer of authenticity to education. Authentic learning is not demonstrated by a worksheet that’s turned into a teacher. That may be more appropriate to indicate progress in a particular more isolated skill. Real learning, however, is manifested in learner creations that are published for consumption by a wider audience. Knowing work will be seen by numerous sets of eyes heightens accountability of learners and educators alike. Sharing with with people outside the classroom inspires higher quality work. This wider scrutiny also provides opportunities for various perspectives to be shared. Likewise, learners gain access to feedback from more people.
And, Learners find even more advantages to sharing their work in public spaces as noted in the video at the top.