Recognizing informal learning

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Video: Media Lab Helsinki, Aalto School of Arts, Design and Architecture

Students document and reflect on their informal learning that occurs outside of school. They upload this onto a portfolio and share their learning with teachers and parents where appropriate.

Ms Fierro recognises that Paulo, like several of the students in the class, does a lot of work outside of school but is less interested in the formal curriculum. As a result the school has created a space for students to share their out-of-school experiences as part of their formal school curriculum, which offers students the opportunity to get formal credits for their out-of-school activities where appropriate. Paulo collects and documents evidence about the skills and knowledge he gains when involved with his hobby, skateboarding. He places all the evidence he collects onto his online portfolio. This is provided by the school, but accessible from anywhere that has an internet connection. He collects evidence in a range of formats including scans of the designs he has created for skate logos and skate clothing, photos of the different stages of him building a ramp, and a video of other skaters using his ramp at a competition. He captures this evidence using a range of different tools, including his mobile camera, a friend’s video camera, uploaded computer created designs, and paper drawings which he has scanned in at school.

Once a term Paulo and the rest of the school have the opportunity to present their collected evidence at a ‘show and tell’ gallery that happens in school. Paulo can also present his work to an individual teacher if he feels uncomfortable sharing it with a wider audience, but he is happy to share it with other students. Teachers from different subject areas view the students’ work and decide if they can use the evidence to support formal assessment. Ms Fierro teaches design and technology and decides that she can use Paulo’s evidence to support his accreditation in this subject, particularly in the areas of ‘use of materials and their construction’.

Paulo’s online portfolio has a ‘school’ and ‘public’ setting which means he is able to share selected parts of his work with anyone in the school, or with a wider audience. He is asked if he wants to share his work with his parents using the share settings on his portfolio but he declines.

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This post is also available in: Turkish

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