Assessment is a necessary part of teaching and learning. Although standardized testing is a piece of the evaluation picture, other evaluation strategies add to the data and provide a more comprehensive view of the success of teaching and learning. Authentic assessment of learning requires direct evidence of learning and application of new knowledge and skills in the form of task completion observed by the teacher and/or review of artifacts, often organized in a portfolio to provide a triangulated view of what a student has learned. The reflective process of portfolio development contributes to the learning and documents the extent to which an individual has grown in knowledge, skills, attitudes, behaviors and aspirations.
Two professors who conduct classes on Second Life are exploring the potential of using Machinima to both provide instruction to students and to use as artifacts demonstrating student work. “Dodge Threebeards” from University of N. Virginia Community College teaches Biology and is working on a set of lab experiences for students on Genome Island in Second Life. In addition to submitting traditional paperwork and logs students will be submitting a short video of their avatar conducting the assigned labs. “Melena Mitra” is a Law Professor and hopes to use this method for documenting students’ simulations of law related activities they participate in.
The professors are practicing using Jing software for capturing video. The software is simple, affordable and ideal for a simple capture of an activity. Each Jing video is limited to 5 minutes, which is sufficient in most cases but splicing and developing more elaborate presentations with additional editing software is possible.
The use of Machinima allows for an additional perspective and learning modality. It also adds some fun.