A couple of days ago, I had reflected on a discussion that I had had with Brian Aspinall about his program, edmettle. He had indicated that he had new plans for the direction of the program. I invited him, at the time, to write a guest post to appear here so that we could all determine what he was up to.
He took me up on the offer and the following is a post, in his words. Please read on so that you know. It might be something that you bring to the attention of colleagues or your principal if you would like to support Brian’s efforts. To be clear, this is a made-at-home, Ontario written product. Brian is a classroom teacher and so understands the challenges of reporting and parental communication. The program was written to address that, from his perspective. Since it’s still under development, I’m sure that he would be open to suggestions or ideas to make the program even better and more functional from the grass roots classrooms across the province.
You can contact Brian on Twitter at @mraspinall.
A little over a year ago I began working on this project as a way to improve vocabulary in young students, as well as have students of all ages recognize each other when demonstrating skills positively.
Mettle (noun) – a person’s ability to cope well with difficulties or to face a demanding situation in a spirited and resilient way.
As a grade 8 teacher, I grew tiresome of watching students graduate in June without really understanding things like “self-regulation” when they have been evaluated on it since school began.
Another big concern I have around traditional report cards is how they stem from compliance. Far too often initiative is defined by the teacher from a list of things to do “when you are done” and if little Johnny consistently does something from the list, he is demonstrating initiative. I am curious as to whether this really is initiative, especially if the list was generated by the teacher.
Thirdly, little Johnny does a lot on his own time at lunch, recess, in other classrooms, and at home. With edmettle, rotary teachers, and little Johnny’s peers, can record feedback of the good things he is doing. Maybe little Johnny consistently picks up his bus buddy 10 minutes before the bell every day. I want him to be recognized for this as my time with Johnny is often limited to a homeroom period.
Please refer to these posts if you are not familiar with edmettle.
As you are aware, I am a full time teacher. As such, my spare time is limited and I want to see functional improvements to this tool. Currently the site resides in a web browser which makes the login process somewhat tedious for teachers and students.
With your help, I want to outsource some of the work in building the app so that capturing the cool things kids do is a simple process.
I don’t want to worry about corporate data – selling kids info, etc. I just want a space to share the great things our young people do on a daily basis. Perhaps if we continue to recognize them for “life skills” they will begin to recognize positive behaviour in others.
Also, with the continuous “maker” movement, tools like edmettle allow us to capture ideas in the moment and help support critical thinking and problem solving.
We all acknowledge that good feedback is the key to successful learning. My ultimate goal is to see edmettle – built by teachers for teachers – to become an app that we can use to support the Learning Skills here in Ontario.
Currently this project is self funded. I pay for the hosting, bandwidth and usage. If you are interested in supporting the cause, please tweet this article and check out the Kickstarter campaign here.
See what other’s have to say:
- An Amazing Reflective Online Program
- Edmettle: Social & Feedback
- Driving Great Schools With Edmettle