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Rhode Island high schools use course management, portfolio tools developed by SOE software team
Rhode Island high schools use course management, portfolio tools developed by SOE software teamMay 24, 2007Patrick Farrellpmfarrel@syr.edu
Public high schools in Rhode Island are using course management and portfolio tools and a goal-tagging system developed by Sean Keesler, Jim Pease and Huan Yang of the Living School Book (LSB) program in Syracuse University’s School of Education.
Keesler and his team adapted the Sakai course management and portfolio tools and goal-tagging system to document students’ mastery of the Rhode Island learning standards. The portfolio tools are currently being used in a pilot program involving 18 school districts and 37 high schools in Rhode Island. The portfolios replace the standardized tests used by the rest of Rhode Island’s high schools and other states to meet federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements.
To use the electronic portfolios, high school students upload the artifacts they believe best demonstrate their mastery of the state’s learning standards (and associated reflections) in graduation portfolios. The portfolios will be a requirement for graduation beginning next year.
“‘Working’ portfolios are collections of student assignments that their teachers have linked to particular learning standards,” says Keesler. “The assignments are submitted and archived via Sakai and tagged with LSB’s goal-aware tools.” Keesler says that to date Rhode Island is the only state in the nation that gives high school students and their teachers direct roles and a voice in the NCLB accountability process. “We have reason to be proud of the contributions SOE has made to these important developments,” he says.
Keesler and the LSB team also have been developing a local implementation of Sakai called SyrCLE (Syracuse Collaborative Learning Environment) to meet the following accountability requirements:
- to meet an institution’s accountability requirements to external agencies (NCATE, Spellings Commission, State Education Boards, etc.);
- to provide teachers with tools to collect and evaluate the performance data collected from their classes; and
- to allow students to communicate their unique learning goals to teachers and to take an active role in evaluating their own progress.
Keesler and the LSB have collaborated with a consortium of educators and systems experts at other colleges and universities over the last two years through the Sakai and Open Source Portfolio community while developing these tools. However, they have maintained a unique focus. “We have a very different approach to the development of these tools than many of the other schools in the consortium because of the interest we have in representing the interests of both students and teachers in the software,” says Keesler. He will present LSB’s approach and recent software advances at the next Open Source conference in June.
The Living SchoolBook (LSB) is a research and development unit of Syracuse University’s School of Education that serves as an incubator of creative approaches to the integration of technology in teaching and learning, through the collaborative efforts of university faculty, K-12 educators, university and K-12 students, community agencies and members of LSB’s technical staff. LSB’s primary focus is on developing technology that promotes the active engagement of all students in learning.