So a couple of weeks ago I was ask to pilot Brian Aspinall's new and amazing online program called edmettle. I told Brian that I would write a review as soon as I was able to do so. Here is that review:
Now I have been blogging about assessment lately and it has been a topic that I have really been thinking hard about. I really believe that success in general is tied student reflection and independence in learning. I know that this may seem radical but I think back to my own school career and I know that I didn't start learning till I wanted to learn. I think that most students are exactly the same. Now, I also think that as a teacher it is our job as teachers to model and facilitate this process. Students need to learn how to reflect, how to learn and how to think about improving themselves in an education setting.
This is where Edmettle comes in. Edmettle is a great platform that allows students to endorse themselves and others on the "soft skills" of education. I did put those in quotations because I believe that they are not so much "soft skills" but critical skills. These skills include, in Ontario our learning skills (independent work, collaboration, initiative, responsibility, Organization, and self-regulation). However, you can also add your own skills; for our school environment I added our Covey Habits.
Once these skills are put into the system all the student has to do is go to their profile and click on endorse.
There is a couple of great attributes to these endorsements.
1) Brian has added video links so that students can look up what these terms mean. I found this really helpful in Primary because the students can independently research these terms and internalize them through video representation.
2) The endorsements are on the page for as long as the page exist. This is an amazing reflective practise because the students can look back and see how they have progressed from the beginning to the end. It also is a great way to add comments to our own report card system. No longer do you have to remember or look through your notes on how students have been behaving or what they have done but now they are online in one spot.
3) You can have students endorse each other. Now I like this feature and I don't. I think before you use it there has to be a lot of discussion around what is appropriate to say and what is not. This isn't a bad thing as it also allows you to discuss digital citizenship and learning at the same time.
4) Not only can students add endorsement but the classroom teacher and rotary teachers can as well. This is an amazing feature because it brings a lot of the hallway discussion into a reality for the children.
There is a lot of research out there on how reflection yields higher success but reflection also needs to be internalized by the students. I know personally, when I was growing up reflections meant nothing to me. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized the importance of this. However, if I made my goals, and reflections public I wonder if I would have achieved them sooner. I know that lately since I have been more reflective and public these goals have become realities a lot faster.
Edmettle does just this. While writing online students make their learning and reflection public for the classroom to see. They see instant evaluation on these skills from teachers, themselves and their peers (if you allow), which in turn makes the student more accountable for their reflections. Combining this with feedback, success criteria and co-constructed criteria, students are able to gauge how their learning is developing. In addition, I think that it acts like a perfect bridge between those who are using paper portfolios to those who are trying to go digital. Edmettle allows a classroom or school to have a smaller jump into digital portfolios while still allowing them to host their work in a paper format. Edmettle, through the use of reflection allows students to set goals, reflect on skills and become a better more successful student.
Overall, I am enthralled with this program and looking forward to using it more and more in the classroom. If you would like to get in on this amazing program go to www.edmettle.com and ask for an invite.