Jul 012014

In a previous post on my Langwitches Blog, Learning in the Modern Classroom, I started highlighting our school’s attention to not only providing amplified learning opportunities, but also the creation of new forms of assessment to go along with these learning opportunities. I see a growing AND urgent need to develop new forms of assessment to support our pioneering teachers, as well our students.

Learning in the 21st century modern classroom is changing. Many teachers are frustrated as the required or available assessments have not caught up yet with their efforts of upgrading to new forms of learning. How can we assess new forms of teaching with old traditional forms of evaluations?  Teachers feel trapped between wanting to upgrade and prepare students with skills for their life outside of school, but are dumbfounded how to assess the learning in terms that parents, colleagues (other subject areas), teachers (as their students rise to the next grade) administrators (& school policy makers), feeder schools, other stakeholders or universities understand, value and accept.


We are in dire need of wrapping our minds around new forms of assessment, conceptualizing and developing these assessment tools, using them, advocating for them, sharing them and making them acceptable EVIDENCE OF LEARNING!

The classroom learning scenario (4th & 5th Grade) was a Skype call with Mike Fisher, I described in a previous post. Students were in charge of different jobs (true to the Digital Learning Farm concept from Alan November’s latest book “Who Owns the Learning?”)

Assessing students’ writing, thinking level , understanding, learning connections via a Twitter stream, did not end the assessment upgrade for this particular learning opportunity.

During the same Skype call, we paid special attention to how students interacted with their conversation partner (Mike in this case) . We were watching their body language, paying attention to their vocabulary, ability to articulate an idea, their conversation etiquette and ability to follow a conversation and interaction.

If working (and communicating beyond face to face interaction) on a global team is/will be a crucial skill for our students to posses, how can we assess the skills, support, coach and guide students?

I am looking for ways to UPGRADE & REPLACE traditional assessment forms. Heidi Hayes Jacobs suggests in her book Curriculum21 to use an upgrade model which

begins with consideration of assessment types, moves to content reviews and replacement, and then links both of these to upgraded skills and proficiencies (Jacobs, 2010, p.20)

I started by taking a look at Andrew Churches Skype Rubric (pdf), but wanted to focus more on the actual communication skills during the Skype call and developed the following Taxonomy of a Skype Conversation  as a guide.


Download the Taxonomy of a Skype Conversation as a pdf file.

How are you assessing  your students’ skills particular to Skype calls? Have you developed assessment rubrics? Please share with our Around the World with 80 Schools community.

  One Response to “Taxonomy of a Skype Conversation”

  1. […] the World with 80 Schools – see Silvia Tolisano’s Taxonomy of a Skype Conversation and Video Conferencing […]

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