report cards

Remixing Education: A Report Card Rant

Posted on November 9, 2015. Filed under: Eci832, educational, report cards |

This post was inspired by Larry Lessig’s TED talk video.

He discusses the history of copyright and the culture of remix. When I was listening to him, I noticed he had a beat and rhythm to his words. This inspired me to make my own spoken word video that talks about how we as teachers are often stuck in the past. I recently went to my division and asked if I could pilot e-portfolios instead of report cards. I was turned down. In honour of “re-mixing,” I made all the background music for this video myself using Garage band and some of the drum loops they provide.


I used my knowledge of music and chord progressions to turn it into something that I felt accompanied the video.  It took me a couple days to write the spoken word, and then a full day to video tape and edit the video.  It was a lot of work for just one blog post, but I had fun making it! 🙂

Here is the video script:

Report cards. A paper about pupils that’s produced primarily by the teacher. A century old practice that has judging kids as its main feature.

I asked if I could get rid of the report card, but I was told no. Why I asked? Because you said so?

No no, apparently it’s me who doesn’t understand. These rules come from the government, it’s those marks they demand.  What would happen to the system if every kid just learned? What would become of their structure if success was given and not earned?

Why do we only update parents three times a year? It’s almost like it’s their approval we fear.

I know there’s teachers like me… who get panicked three weeks before report cards are due you see. At this point we aren’t making educated decisions. In fact we’re just trying to get through the comments and revisions.

What if we didn’t have report cards on our plate? What time would be freed up to talk to kids, connect, relate?

But there’s a better way to do it I said.

There’s a way that I can show parents what their kids are learning daily. It’s a way that doesn’t just show your kids are failing.

These kids will still learn the skills and dexterity, but you’ll know how they are doing in much more clarity.

You see we live in the 21st century. We have cell phones with cameras and recording capabilities. These students can show us what they know in so many ways.  They don’t have to just write lame ass tests and boring essays. We’ve got e portfolios and apps galore, if you just ask them to help you, they’ve probably got more.

Why are we stuck in the years of our past? Just take a look around you and you’ll see that our world is moving so fast! We don’t have time to waste on these skills from 100 years prior. We need to prepare these kids for their future jobs, lets help these kids get hired!

Let’s look to the future, ask our students what they think is important. They might just be our boss someday, they might just take our curriculum and toss it someday.

Our students are so connected, sure it looks different to us, but their ways of knowing aren’t defective. We need to get fed up, stand up, woman or man up and take a chance on education. Despite what people say, I know you didn’t take this job for the vacations.

So teachers stand with me, lets fight for our students. Let’s teach them digital literacy, and stop thinking technology is a nuisance. Go talk to your leaders, let’s challenge the status quo, lets push for Genius Hours, pirate teaching, and all the new ways we don’t even know.

Let’s get passionate and back to our core… Why did we become teachers… rather than limiting kids, let’s start opening some doors.

I used quite a few photos in that video, and wasn’t able to credit them in the video. Photo credit below:

Flickr: Special Collections Toronto Library 

Pete Ashton

Rhoni McFarlane

Jonathan Reyes

Brad Flickinger

Bernal Saborio


Bowman Art Gallery

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