Observation is a formative assessment tool intended to inform the instructor of how students are responding to classroom learning. Due to the personal nature of the curriculum, it is critical that the learning environment is safe for students to fully explore and engage with the material. As such, observation of the students in the classroom is as much an assessment of student engagement as it is a gauge of instructors’ capacity to nurture a safe space for authentic learning. Criteria which the instructors will look for in students are: engagement, honesty, participation, critical questioning. In effect, instructors must also have criteria to check their own practice: Am I choosing content that students can relate to? Do I create an open space where students can be honest? Do I use instructional strategies that foster active participation of all students? Do I encourage higher-order questioning in the class?
Students will be provided private online space to blog and journal their thoughts about their media practices across the curriculum. This is an open space where students are encouraged to include relevant texts, photos, videos or other media to communicate her/his understanding of classroom learning and to encourage thoughtful reflection. While these online blogs are private, students may choose to send their journals to the teacher for feedback. To ensure accountability, students will also be required to submit 2 journal entries from their blog to share with the teacher and the class (if she/he so desires) at the end of each unit.
Over the course of the curriculum implementation, students will be reminded to continue adding relevant bookmarks of websites that inspire them, provoke thought and with which they would like to engage on an ongoing basis. These bookmarks will be shared with the class at the end of each unit.
To facilitate group discussion, teachers are encouraged to use shareout software throughout this curriculum. Applications and websites such as Padlet, Popplet and Google Drive allow for real-time collaboration and mind-mapping and can be a method of informal assessment, similar to observation and discussion.
This curriculum offers multiple opportunities for groupwork and collaboration. For instance, in the media literacy unit, students are given a variety of news articles on the same topic, and, working in pairs, will determine if the content is trustworthy. After working through the Test Before You Trust worksheet, groups will present the article and critique it in front of the class. In the digital footprint lesson, groups will act as admissions officers and will be given fake profiles of potential college students. The negotiation and discussion that takes place in this activity will give the teacher insight into how well students are grasping the concept of digital footprint and online reputation.
Annotated Search Results
In the media literacy unit, students will be assigned homework to critique and annotate a screenshot of a search results page. Students will write notes on what links they would trust, and which they would not, based on the information given in the search results. They will also point out which content is paid on the page. Using the criteria discussed in class, students will predict which link will be the best source. This assessment will act as evidence that students are thinking before they click and know the main components of a search results page.