This session was advertised as a humorous one, and it was funny. I missed the first 15 minutes but here goes. Take it all with a grain (or two) of salt, although there are definitely some kernels of thruth in these presentations:
I missed the piece by Rockman on SBR
Heidi Rogers: talked about NETS for Parents and tech support for moms. She talked about
- setting up your own myspace account
- using an alias
- monitoring text messaging
- following the money (e.g. giving kids a credit card)
- communication by IM instead of cell phone call which is so yesterday.
Using her son as an example, she provided some hilarious accounts of how he uses technology for goofy stuff, and how in turn she uses the same technology to find out what he does.
Michael Jay: New Break-Thru Technologies: Assessment for the Masses
Michael Jay discussed how to put real-time assessment in the hands of educators, and using population data to assess individual learning (great oxymoron!)
Existing solutions he listed were
- Hand raise
- Group mumble: clarity inversely related to age.
- Cull from the herd: look for weakness and probe. Find the weakest kid and probe with questions until crying.
He then laid out his “2 year research project”:
- Look at all students but accountable for none
- Leverage existing skills (how true is that one?!)
- Only a few children left behind
- (I’m missing a few here)
Jay’s solution: use whistle language. After explaining the history of whistle language and providing the audience with a few sound file examples, he discussed his “findings”:
- Tests found that many students couldn’t pucker and blow simultaneously
- Saliva and gum would sometimes escape at high velocity (hair incidents)
- Whistling was engaging for learners.
His alternative assessment: the BlowHard Assessment tool:
Note the options for multiple choice; and true, false, and fudge). The audience then proceeded to do some practice questions (link to YouTube video).
Feedback from students in the “research” project included “So much fun I forgot it was a test”, and “that 50-item test took my breath away”.
Implications of the results:
- With a minor investment, every student can blow their assessment;
- Easy for administrators to make sure assessment is being conducted;
- Brings the performing arts back into our schools; harmony in the classroom;
- inherently aggregated assessment (see the video 😉 )
- Automatically weighted results (according to Jay, the bad students will sit in the back and so you won’t hear them as much).
Finally, Michael Jay discussed some of his future “projects” including:
- Pan Pipe Project to increase data granularity;
- Slide whistle for qualitative analysis;
- Integrated assessment for animals that echo locate.
This talk was absolutely hilarious and it’s one of the few times I’ve seen Elliot Soloway at a loss for words (well, almost).
True stories about technology use, such as setting up Tivo, the train at the airport, and setting up a GPS device. He talked about the voices of the devices and how they talk to you, often in a patronizing voice. Especially the one about the GPS device was pretty funny. He was talking to fast to blog it though, and I was out of memory on my camera to video tape it.
The verdict? Despite of what I missed, Michael Jay was by far the funniest 🙂
Image credit: me, aside from the conference logo I “borrowed” from NECC.