Complex Learning (Authentic Assessment)

I taught myself how to code HTML in middle school. I grew up in a small town in central Kentucky, USA, where there were no children’s website coding classes at that time. Now that I’m an adult with a career in the Internet Industry, these experiences inspired me to start teaching coding classes to middle school students. I could assign them a project-based complex learning project that would involve hand-coding their very own website by the end of the course. I would also include a class show-and-tell day where the students present their projects on an overhead to the class as well as to their parents, families, and other guests.

Student-centered Authentic Assessment: Students would have some autonomy in the content/topic and design of their site. Project is realistic, “real world” scenario for building a site. Instructor provides guidelines & structure (required pages, HTML/CSS elements, advanced features) and grading rubric.

Students would gradually build their final project piece-by-piece with increasingly advanced coding/features as they progress through the course. To make the project more fun for this age range, it could be gamified or even tie into their favorite video game, Minecraft, which can be used for teaching computer coding skills.

Sample tasks: Students are assessed on ability to create basic homepage; create a table; working menu links to multiple pages; “img” tag for images. Advanced students can add CSS styles or JavaScript coding.

Complex Learning Model Tie-in: Learners actively build upon previous knowledge while completing several tasks demonstrating subject competence. 

Learning Theories: Connectivism (using technology/digital media learning tools); Constructivism (scaffolding, building upon previous knowledge and getting help from others); Behaviorism (learning types of coding that can be memorized)

References: 

McLeod, S.A. (2008) Bruner. Retreived November 28, 2017 from http://www.simplypsychoogy.org/bruner.html

Wiggins, G. P. (1998). Educative assessment: designing assessments to inform and improve student performance. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Photo from my Intro to JavaScript for Girls coding class (girls ages 7-14yrs)