ePIC 2023 – All Learning Counts: An Australian High School Case Study Across a Whole-of-school Digital Recognition Project

7 December 2023

11:00 AM CET

(Dec 7, 2023, 9:00 PM AEDT)

Duration – 60 Minutes

In-Person – Vienna (Austria)

Is there more to SDG4 than formal education targets? How can we recognise and validate that all learning counts? What we know and can do is a lot more than the sum of our test scores, our diplomas, or our degrees and qualifications. We have intentionally created dysfunctional feedback loops in our formal education systems by only recognising and rewarding those things we can teach and measure and aligning to carefully constructed often biased frameworks.

Systems thinking tells us that it is the connections that matter. The choices made in the design phase have both intended and unintended consequences. How do we amplify and communicate the innovations and transformations in our education systems that move us to a new paradigm in learning?

The change comes from both large and small changes. Large levers like policy or funding changes have significant long term impact, however small changes at a school or institution level are the disruptions required to start shifting the dial. Open recognition and open recognition technologies play a huge role in moving towards a more equitable and inclusive learning and employment system.

In our session, we present a case study that looks at what a whole-of-school digital recognition system might look like that includes the formal learning theory outcomes, the cross-curriculum durable or soft skills and then the co-curricula (outside of school) learning.

In 2022, the Hunter School of Performing Arts (HSPA) challenged EdTech solution provider Edalex to create a scalable solution for visibility across the learning journey for students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Using open data standards, the complex solution involved extraction of outcome data from multiple Canvas mastery gradebooks, mapped and aligned to credentials in Credentialate, producing a dynamic learner evidence record and digital badge. Credentials can be aligned to National and State standards and school-based frameworks. Individual evidence records showing progress (including artifacts) are displayed in student dashboards. Once the mastery outcome is achieved, it’s represented in a digital badge that can be shared by learners while still at school or after graduation via a digital wallet.

HSPA employs a whole-of-school mastery model based on 5 levels of performance. More information has been accessed via this link. Digital credentials for curriculum and cross-curriculum achievement is awarded by the teaching staff: however, co-curricula badges must be applied for and depend upon the student’s self-assertion of the skills and abilities they have achieved.

Developed for Year 7 – 12 students, the focus is on feedback and formative assessment with students playing an active co-design role. Gamification is used to encourage student motivation, self-direction, and a growth mindset and parents have real-time access to student progress. The administrative burden on teachers in reporting to parents is significantly reduced as teachers only mark once, then it is automatically picked up by the system and displayed for the learning community in the dashboard.

The human workload required to write performance descriptors for each mastery level, of each outcome/standard was a key challenge. Each descriptor had to comply with multiple levels of regulatory standards (State and National) and needed to be worded such that the mastery pathway was clear and could be easily understood by students and parents.

Visibility, recognition, and mobility via learner agency are the key pillars as we move towards the SDG4 goals, and not only visibility and achievement of the formal learning goals, but visibility, recognition, and mobility for all learning. Open recognition and the underpinning technology advancements are key developments in achieving the paradigm shift in the learn-to-earn ecosystem.

About the Presenters:

Darren Ponman
Principal, Hunter School of the Performing Arts (HSPA)

Darren passionately leads the design and implementation of innovative, equitable, and engaging educational opportunities, as well as systems that facilitate these characteristics efficiently. Darren’s extensive educational leadership has resulted in a wide variety of innovative and sustainable initiatives. These are consistently used as examples of best practice in Australian Education. Some of these include – designing and implementing a variety of digital Learning Management and Administration Systems across many schools, co-designing the first greenfield Big Picture Education Campus in NSW, writing and resourcing the State-wide Critical Thinking syllabus, designing, coordinating and implementing vast, technology-based infrastructure, including multimillion-dollar AV and multimedia centres across several public schools. Currently, collaborating with Edalex and Learning Vault to design and implement a scalable, Mastery-based, digital credential system for use in K-12 schools.

Darren Ponman - HSPA

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Margo Griffith
Head of Business Development, Edalex

Margo’s in-depth knowledge and experience of skills, the skills ecosystem, and digital credentials is the result of working in and with higher education providers and edtech leaders, nationally and internationally for over 20 years. She is passionate about the positive impact of technology within education and the enablement of lifelong learning and mobility. Margo co-convenes a Cross Sector Community of practice around Microcredentials in Australia and sits on the Executive of the International Council of Badges and Credentials (ICoBC). She writes blog posts around challenges surrounding the learn to earn journey. Margo is currently exploring Systems Thinking concepts and their relation to the emerging skills ecosystem.

Margo Griffith - Profile

LinkedIn Profile

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