Inspired by Dr. Justin Tarte’s post the other day…

Among his brief list of assumptions (or current templates of thinking) that are suffocating the move forward to rejuvenate and revolutionize learning in North America, Tarte asserts that “[w]e can’t accept and continue to think that learning is limited to what happens within the four walls of a classroom. Learning can’t be contained and learning can’t be defined by man-made structures. Learning is everywhere and learning is all around us… education needs to acknowledge it.”

In part of this rallying call, it might be also argued that we can no longer accept standardized testing and numerical assessments as the sole guideposts as the demonstration of learning in our system. We now know intimately (and have for decades) that these dominant methodologies are fraught with their own horribly ineffectual ‘intricacies’ and rarely reflect true learning, and even truer assessment. To that end, rarely do hear of schools and school district initiatives taking up the task of redefining for its students other forms of assessment–ones that actually demonstrate learning, and problem solving, and a multiple of literacies.

The learner eportfolio will become an elemental piece to the new BCED Plan and moving forward with massive curricular reform in British Columbia. As the new curriculum drafts are being shared with educators around the province one thing rings true to me: the big ideas are the big deal here. In SD8 the choice has been clear–the move students forward towards eportfolios is essential and required–and has allowed for teacher input, collaboration, creativity, and leadership.

As well, the Ministry of Education’s emphasis on flexible learning environments for all students seems to be explicit on the importance of learning that goes on outside the classroom. Eportfolios will force both educators and students to thinking bigger, demonstrate more flexibility in their learning and demonstration of that learning, and celebrate learning of all kinds. No doubt, the shift forward will require the necessary flexible learning environments.

I’m very encouraged by the support that our school has received in moving ahead with a school-wide student-centred eportfolio. And as a group of professionals, we have a unique opportunity to be THE trailblazers as others around the province begin to observe our progress with interest. A planning day has been arranged and all those working with Grade 9 students in the HCE program will be there to learn, share, and collaborate.

Indeed, it’s an exciting time to be an educator, and hopefully, a more exciting and fulfilling time for learners in BC!

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