We haven’t posted in some time. Not because we didn’t want to, but rather, we weren’t sure exactly what to write about, given the dramatic shift in the way teachers and students are interacting since school doors closed due to Covid-19. As educators in Ontario are now using some form of distance learning to continue classes while social distancing restrictions are in place, we are wondering, should we shift our focus? Many other professional learning sites and publishers have done so, focusing on providing information and resources to support distance learning.
After much thought, we have decided that a shift in focus isn’t necessary. One of the pervasive themes of this blog is to use assessment to support students in becoming independent, autonomous learners. Distance learning puts an even greater onus on learners to develop these traits. With students learning from their homes — in a variety of contexts, with a variety of ways to access teachers and peers — it has never been more important that students develop independence, confidence, and the ability to self-monitor and set goals.
The assessment process encourages the development of these traits. The practices that we have been promoting since our first post are powerful tools for teaching and learning, even more so in an online environment. Educators play an important role in providing learners with the tools so that they can develop and deepen the competency of learning how to learn.
Many of you have shared with us how challenging this ‘new normal’ is. As we go forward, we will be sure to continue to support you in implementing effective assessment and instruction practices, including practical ways to bring these practices to a digital environment.