Monday, March 22, 2010

Honest Reflection is Required

swearing in of junior ranger
I have several objectives in this class that have nothing to do with technology. One is to get all of my students to reflect on their practice, as a student and later as a professional. When you have your own classes you will not be getting a report card with grades on it. You will have to supply your own evaluations of yourself. That is why I have you do reflective questionnaires a number of times during the semester. I want you to practice doing this so that when you are a professional it will come naturally.

Today I have to add another word to that objective: honestly. Let me share with you the response to the midterm questionnaire from a real student in EDM310 this semester. I will call that student ZZZ.

Dear ZZZ:
In your midterm reflection you report that you have completed 9 (all) of your blog posts, 6 of your comments4kids, 5 of your comments4classmates, 2 comments4teachers. You also report that you did the reflective questionnaire within a week of 2/15. You say that you have done 2 of the extra assignments made on the class blog, that you add pictures to your blog regularly, that they comply with accessibility standards, that the link on your blog to the class blog works, that the link to your email works, that you regularly add links to your blog posts, that you have tried Vocaroo, that you are using Delicious and Twitter, that you are just starting your PLN, that you have an RSS feed that works and that your A is a bit shaky.

I find something quite different than you do.

You have not posted to your blog since February 28 and that was for the assignment due January 31. You have not completed any blog assignments for February, March or any of the added assignments.

You have not added pictures or links to any of your posts.

You do have an RSS feed for the class blog on your blog and that feed will take you to the class blog (so a link could be considered redundant).

There is no evidence on your blog that you have used Vocaroo or that you have developed a PLN (which you admit).

You have not made any posts on your blog that address the additional assignments made in the blog itself.

You did complete the 2/15 questionnaire on 2/18.

The email link on your blog does work.

I cannot find you on Twitter. What is your name on Twitter?

Please send me your Delicious name so that I can see how you are using Delicious.

The teacher assigned to you is AAA. She has made the following posts since I started the comments4teachers assignment on Feb 22:
March 8
March 7
March 6
Feb 28
Feb 26
and she made this post before the assignment started:
Feb 6

You have no comments on any of these posts.

You have only left one comment on a fellow student's blog (on January 24). You have not notified me of any instances in which you have tried to leave a comment but were not able to do so because the student had not done a post.

You have made no posts relative to your comments4kids assignments. Several kids somewhere in the world did not get a comment because you did not do your assignments.

You say that your A is "a bit shaky."

Why does your report of what you have done in this class vary so widely from mine? Why does your evaluation of the condition of the A with which your started this class disagree so widely from mine?

So class, here are some questions that come to mind:
1. Does ZZZ think I am asking for information about how much work ZZZ has done? No. I already have that. All of it. And most of those data I get automatically. I want ZZZ to think about what ZZZ is or is not doing!
2. Does ZZZ really think that ZZZ has done all of the work that I cannot find or see?
3. Is this an attempt to hustle me?
4. If ZZZ is so inaccurate with ZZZ's own evaluation, what will ZZZ's evaluations of ZZZ's students be like?
5. Would you like to have ZZZ as a colleague?
6. Would I want my children or grandchildren to be in ZZZ's class?
7. Would you want your children or grandchildren to be in ZZZ's class?

Comments welcome. If you have nothing to say, just say "I have read the post and the associated comments and have nothing to add." Note that I also want you to read the associated comments. That is always important when you participate in a conversation. When you leave a comment I will know that you came to the post and probably read it (or at least this sentence) since you will have left me a message - possibly this one. And remember, every comment I get on the blog is sent immediately to my gmail account where I can automatically sort by sender!

Honesty in our own self assessments is critical to our improvement in whatever we do!