Ask Otto / Softwre / Web 2.0

Dear Otto: How do I assess a project like Movie Maker?

tech questions

Do you have a tech question?

Dear Otto is an occasional column where I answer questions I get from readers about teaching tech. If you have a question, please complete the form below and I’ll answer it here. For your privacy, I use only first names.

Here’s a great question I got from Tracy in South Africa:

I am doing Movie Maker with my Grade 6 girls. (age 12) How would you suggest I assess this?

It depends upon your needs, Tracy. Tech ed is at times expected to be assessed quantitatively and other times, on a qualitative, effort-based platform. If your school requires the former of you, you might want to create a rubric that includes the Movie Maker features you expect to be included (i.e., storyboard, transitions, images, length, integrated sound), make that available as a checklist to students prior to completion, and then let them grade each other. You can then take that completed rubric and use it for your grading. As for the rubric: Here’s a link to one of my posts with some ideas on that.

On the other hand, if what you’re trying to teach has more to do with working in groups, mixing media, research, using internet materials wisely (such as images they might find for the movie), then you might want to adopt one of the approaches in this post–anecdotal observation, their ability to transfer knowledge from skills already learned, their ability to teach others what they know about movie making, an oral presentation.
These are two valid assessment styles. Whichever you follow would provide you with defensible and authentic results. Let me know if I can help with anything else!


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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. She is webmaster for six blogs, CSG Master Teacher, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachersa columnist for, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.

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