Within the Twenty-First Century classroom, authentic assessment is a useful method to gage a students understanding of a subject. Instead of relying on regurgitating information using rote memorization, students are encouraged to demonstrate knowledge and skills. Performance assessment is another term used to describe authentic assessment, such that students are engaged in higher order thinking while demonstrating knowledge of a subject through conducting research, writing a report, giving presentations, debating a topic to name a few (Understanding authentic classroom-based literacy assessment, 1997). Rather than rely on written examinations or multiple-choice quizzes, twenty-first century practitioners encourage students to explore and experience the curriculum. While the traditional classroom experience focuses on subject-centered curriculum and teaching content knowledge, twenty-first century classrooms promote experiential learning, problem solving and hands on activities, which encourage inquiry based learning and critical thinking skills.
John Dewey described thinking in education such that, “Knowledge,” in the sense of information, means the working capital, the indispensable resources, of further inquiry; of finding out, or learning, more things” (Progressive education, 2012). Dewey also argued that education is progressive and promotes social responsibility. As teachers, it is our responsibility to incorporate the advancements of technology enhanced learning into 21st century instructional strategies to emphasize engaged and active environments. Various thematic units can incorporate technology and promote technological literacy, in addition to implementing authentic assessments. For instance, language arts units can have students demonstrate their work through an online-journal with a compilation of computer-animated illustrations. Weekly assignments such as journals can transition into writing your own book and even publishing the story using a Web 2.0 tool. For example, Tikatok is a free site where a student can create and publish a personalized book that can be viewed online, sent via e-mail or purchased as a hard copy. A neat feature of the online storybook allows students to create audio recordings to guide readers through the story. Additionally, a teacher can utilize this tool to engage the classroom in a collaborative writing project, implement the writing process and print a book free of charge.
Tikatok. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.tikatok.com/classroom
Progressive education. (2012). Retrieved from http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/John_Dewey
Understanding authentic classroom-based literacy assessment. (1997). Retrieved from http://eduplace.com/rdg/res/litass/index.html