Friday, 31 January 2014

Using Digital Assessment Tools in the Classroom

Yesterday morning, bright and early, I sat in on a great session delivered by Mike Meechin at FETC.  The two hour session was appropriately-paced and informative.  Meechin spoke about a variety of free online assessment tools that can be used to collect data on student understanding in an efficient and engaging way. He is proponent of quick and easy-to-use tech solutions to collect instant student data, feeding into the instructional practices of the educator.  Although I had downloaded the free Socrative app about a year ago, I've never really had the time to play around and learn the ins and outs of this application, available in both iDevice and online form.  What I like about this app, (other than the fact that it is free) is that classroom teachers can quickly set up tests and quizzes to give to students prior to lectures or as an exit slip after a lesson plan to determine student understanding quickly and without heavy marking.  The Socrative app allows teachers to set up an online 'classroom' which students can enter and complete teacher assigned tasks. This app provides students and teachers with instantaneous feedback about their understanding of facts related to the concept taught. Rather than handing students a paper quiz and collecting dozens of papers for marking, the teacher can quickly administer and collect the data needed to inform their teaching on the fly.
A similar tech tool that was presented during Meechin's session was the use of (Also free!). Sign up for an account online and the app does all the things Socrative does, but allows educators to push out links which open up in a browser tab as soon as the student clicks on it.
One of my favourite suggestions from Meechin's presentation was the use of QR codes, a piece of technology that I've never used before, but have heard other educators rave about.  He had a couple of QR codes set up in his presentation slides.  When we scanned them using our smartphones, using a QR reader app, we had access to content that he had placed in each of the codes.  Meechin suggested using this tool to have students go through a gallery walk.  You could easily infuse this technology in lessons to have students complete think-pair-shares, responding to questions that you have placed up around your classroom.  

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