Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Accreditation for prior learning?

If you watch my Flickr account (and there is no particular reason why you should) you will have noticed that I have been more than a little obsessed lately with a guitar. This is because last October, I won the opportunity to build a guitar with Bailey Guitars thanks to Rock Radio, Bailey Guitars and Elixir Strings. (I took a picture of the goodies I won at the time.) However, I can't play guitar and wasn't sure I'd have the time to build it. Daughter Number Two though can play and so it was decided she would build it.

Well now it is done and it is gorgeous -- it looks gorgeous and when someone plays it properly, it sounds gorgeous.

My daughter did a stunningly good job. Mark Bailey was a patient teacher and he is very, very good at what he does. In making the guitar she practised a huge range of skills and learned about woodwork, music, design and goodness knows what else in the process. (Grief, I wasn't there for most of the time and I learned a lot! At a trivial level, I learned what a luthier is and even learned a luthier joke!) She chose the wood, made design decisions, sketched logos, soldered wires, drilled, shaped, sanded, planed, ... As I look at what my daughter achieved, part of me feels she should be able to take the guitar to the SQA and say, "What do you think of that then? That's got to be worth a Higher at least!"

I realise the SQA are unlikely to go for this but with Curriculum for Excellence developments encouraging cross-curricular projects - building your own guitar offers all sorts of possibilities. Apart from Technology, Music and Art, there's some good Physics there too (e.g. investigating why is the bridge of the guitar not at right angles to the strings?). I don't know if Mark Bailey works with schools but if I were in a technology department, I'd be contacting him to find out!

In closing, I thought I would share a video of the first time this guitar was plugged into an amplifier. It will quickly become obvious why my daughter has claimed the guitar as her own and wont let me near it!

And do you want to hear the luthier joke? ... Look away now if you don't want to read it...

A luthier won the £10 million on the lottery. He was asked if it would change his life. "Oh no.", he replied. "I'll just continue keep making guitars until the money runs out."

...Well, do you know any better luthier jokes?

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John said...

Congratulations to your daughter. I love the idea of "Accreditation for prior learning" but imagine it would be a bit difficult to 'mark'.
Maybe it would be easier to 'design your own project' to fulfil a set of criteria?
An other thing is some sort of recording for assessment, what put me off trying to get some accreditation for prior learning has been paper work and writing. Maybe a guitar blog. video diary or scrapbook (no need to be digital about it) tracing the project and illuminating the learning.
Hopefully CfE will open up these possibilities very soon?

BTW you are number tow at the time of writing: luthier joke - Google Search

David said...

Hello John

For some things a mark is pretty artificial. There are some interesting ways to deal with assessing work like this. For example, I was intrigued by Richard Kimbell's work.

Number two in a Google search. That's pretty cool. The number one result may have quantity on it's side, but I think I beat it on quality. If it was term time, I'd be tempted to organise some students into using a Google Bomb to push it up to number 1. :-)

Joe said...

Not strange at all accreditation of prior learning APL is well established in FE and workbased awards. Evidence based against outcomes widely used in vocational programmes.

Would be good to see school system some more flexible approaches to assessmemt.

Have a look at guide to assessent and assessmemy 2.0 work

Ready when you are ;-)