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ILP: the best feature in itslearning?

Inger Skjøstad of Arstad School in Hedmark, Norway, was one of the nominees in the Creative use of itslearning category during the Share & use Conference in Sandvika in 2010. She was nominated for her work with individual learning plans (ILPs) for pupils in 5th to 7th grade.

"In my opinion the ILP is the best feature in itslearning," says Inger.

The idea for the project came in the wake of a new assessment regulation that was introduced in Norway in 2009. With the regulation in mind, a group of teachers at Arstad School asked themselves: how can we use itslearning to cover the new criteria for on-going evaluation? Their creative solution was to use the ILP tool in itslearning as a digital work schedule.

An interdisciplinary digital work schedule

Individual learning plans

In itslearning, it is usually the mentor – or form teacher – that's responsible for maintaining the ILPs, while administrators are responsible for administrating the mentor's access to the ILPs.

Read more about individual learning plans in the online help.
"Most teachers use the ILP as a plan for the competence and development based goals connected to the half-year assessment," Inger says. "But we wanted to use it on a daily basis as a working tool for the pupil, in which on-going assessment played a central role. We wanted to gather everything at the same place and make it as user-friendly as possible for pupils, teachers and parents."

The system used at Arstad enables teachers, pupils and parents to find all assessments for each week gathered at one place for all subjects – from languages to home economics.

Pupils are given permissions to edit two columns in the ILP called "I want to do this" and "Self-assessment". In the first column, the pupils select the tasks they want to do in order to reach the goal of the week in each subject. In the self-assessment column, the pupils describe their own work and tell the teachers what they have learned, what they have mastered and where they need more tutoring. This is done in all subjects, and result in a constructive dialogue between teacher and pupil.

Parent engagement

The parents are happy too. They no longer have to search in bags, check different tests or search around in different courses in itslearning to find the teacher's comments or their child's assessments – everything is gathered at one place. Arstad School has created parent users, with their own username and password, so they can get full access to the ILP. As a result, itslearning enables teachers and parents to have an on-going dialogue about the child's goal achievements.
However, the system doesn’t save Inger time – in fact, it’s quite time-consuming. But, as she points out, instead of spending time on other tasks the workload is moved to assessment. Even though it requires some effort, teachers are rewarded with in-depth knowledge about each pupil, which makes it easy to adapt their teaching to suit their students' needs.

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