Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Direct Object

Part of my vacation so far has been spent encouraging my high school-aged nephew to do his "modules," two online courses that take the place of brick and mortar summer school down in his Florida district. Consisting of standards-based pretests, subsequently tailored instructional activities, and post test, it is every teacher's nightmare of education of the future: sterile, unengaging, and yet "individualized" and oh-so-measurable, brought to you by who else? Pearson.

He has muddled through compliantly, if apathetically, scoring 70s and 80s, and to be honest, I have approached the task with little more than a check-the-box attitude myself. That is until today, when he got a 60 on an English module. Wait a minute! I thought. I'm an English teacher! Maybe I have more of a role to play here!

And so it was that this evening he read the questions out loud and we worked through them together, I clarifying any questions he had or didn't even know he had, and he choosing the best answers. Thanks to Pearson's trusty algorithm, the concepts and standards make appearances in more than one place, and so it's easy to gauge if he is actually "learning" them or not. As for true mastery or real-world application?


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