On 27-28 January, the inaugural 2012 Pearson Global Research Conference was held in Fremantle, Western Australia. The theme for this year’s conference was: The Role of Technology and Assessment in System-Wide Improvement. The aim of the conference was to share research, recommendations, and success stories on how technological innovation moves from small scale experimentation to deployment at system level. Macquarie ICT Innovations Centre was represented at this conference by Centre Director, Debbie Evans, who was invited to speak about ‘Innovation, Technology and Assessment.’

This presentation provided examples of successful innovative learning design projects at MacICT that support teachers and their students to use emerging technologies such as video games, 3D virtual environments and mobile devices to achieve learning outcomes. Students are able to design rich, creative, collaborative artefacts and teachers use best practice assessment processes to measure learning which includes a range of 21st century skills, not just student engagement. Debbie outlined how these innovative projects, and others like them, provide significant opportunities and challenges for the wider education system.  The question of whether the system can provide large-scale digital assessment environments was posed and some clear guidelines for attempting to address this were suggested. These solutions are necessary if we are to help teachers to analyse vast collections of digital representations that students are now creating with these emerging technologies.

A diverse collection of academic researchers, pyschometricians, data and business analysts as well as teachers discussed these issues in detail and within the context of system-wide online testing, the latest research into the design and reliability of these tests and the opportunities and challenges of assessing 21st century skills.

Thank you to Fraser Cargill, Vice President Government Relations APAC at Pearson Education International for inviting Debbie to speak at the conference. A PDF version of the paper will be available here shortly.