Tech-Based Formative Assessment
What methods do you use in your classroom to ensure that students grasp what they’re being taught? In using formative assessment methodologies, we are on a fact-finding journey to learn more about our students. As educators, we are constantly trying to determine who has grasped the main idea of a lesson, who has mastered a new subject, and who requires additional assistance. While walking around the room and listening in on student conversations or examining their classwork after the bell rings, formative evaluation occurs organically. In practise, though, how can you use technology tools to verify for understanding in meaningful, long-lasting, and scalable ways?
The ability to utilise the power of a smartphone in the hands of every student came to me from my one-to-one classroom teaching experience. For you and your students, I’ve put together some suggestions for getting the most of the technology you and your students have at your disposal. Whether you have a class set of Chromebooks that are shared by your grade level team or a small number of iPads that were provided to your class at the beginning of the year, the options are virtually limitless. No matter how few digital devices you have in your school, there is a lot you can do to advance your formative assessment practises. Even if you only have a couple of computers, you can accomplish a lot. To assist you in leveraging the power of technology in your classroom to check for understanding, we’ve put together three tactics and a couple of our favourite tools.
EMBED QUESTIONS INTO YOUR INSTRUCTION
In my opinion, one of the best classroom tools is Nearpod, which is an interactive presentation builder that allows you to incorporate questions into your lesson. I really enjoyed using it in the classroom, and now I’m utilising it to organise professional development workshops for other teachers. By incorporating polls into your lessons or inserting short-answer questions into your presentations, you may make learning more engaging for your students. Using this method of embedding questions might assist you in checking for understanding during a class.
This programme is simple to use and provides a plethora of materials for new teachers who are just getting started. Using Nearpod, you may upload presentations that you’ve used in the past and incorporate questions between different slides to ensure that everyone understands what you’re saying. Use the ready-to-use lessons instead of traditional PowerPoint presentations because they already include questions that can be answered during the course of the activity.
INTRODUCE SCREENCASTS TO STUDENTS
It is possible to record what is happening on the screen of a device, as well as sounds. When students create a movie of their thinking, they are providing you with a window into their cognitive processes. Consider the section of a quiz when you have to show your work. Even when students make advantage of that area, it is difficult to discern their mental process from their actions. In a screencast, you can see everything that a student writes on their page and what they were thinking as they narrate their actions, which is recorded along with the screencast. A screencast provides a visual representation of the process.
Explain Everything is a screencasting application for iPads and Chromebooks that is easy to use and intuitive to use. Having students work in pairs or alone to record their thinking or create a product that can be shared as a tutorial for other students would be a good fit for your class. The establishment of classroom norms, such as limiting screencasts to no more than 2 minutes in length, can make evaluating student recordings more bearable.
VIRTUAL EXIT SLIPS
After a lesson, it is usual practise to check for understanding by asking a few questions. Students can use an exit slip to react to a prompt, answer a quick question, or suggest a question of their own on the final day of class. I appreciate how simple it is to utilise Spark Post on any platform (iOS, Chromebook, or web browser), and that this application allows kids to design drawings for an exit slip as well. There are no complicated settings, and students may use their Google accounts to log in, saving them from having to create a new account.
Because they are the right size for social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, you may want to send student works to the person in charge of your school’s social media accounts so that they can be shared with the rest of the world. This is an excellent method of checking for understanding while also providing pupils with a clear goal. You will have a product that contains information that you can use to organise the following day’s instruction, and students will have created a graphic that they may share with others.
In my new book, #FormativeTech: Meaningful, Sustainable, and Scalable Formative Assessment With Technology, I discuss more ways for assessing understanding through technology. Whether you have a couple of devices or a whole class set of devices, there is a lot you can do with current technologies to check for understanding in your classroom, regardless of how many you have.