One argument for using design tasks is they are not
so teacher-centered because the teacher need not be
the primary judge of students' work. If a model parachute
drops like a rock, if a clay boat sinks, if a cardboard
chair or paper bridge collapses under its required load
- then nature has judged the design as not adequate,
not the teacher. Design tasks can help a classroom be
more learner-centered in an authentic way.
In the beginning of Movie 1, professors Woodie Flowers
(MIT) and Gary Benenson (CCNY) make different cases
for changing the culture of learning by revamping the
way students' work gets assessed. Using different reasons,
both suggest using people external to the classroom
to give feedback and help with assessment. At MIT, engineering
design students "publish" their projects on the Internet
and give presentations to sets of visiting judges.
Tech Ed teacher Ed Goldman uses a similar approach.
His students' final presentations of their Cardboard
Chairs were attended by the people shown in the
second part of MOVIE 1. You can hear them talk about
questions they asked the Brooklyn Tech students and
what they saw and heard. Which criteria did these evaluators
focus on in the students' work? Which questions seemed
to have the best chance to reveal students understanding?