Formative Assessment Technology Tool
Socrative: With some initial time to set up the questions, this tool provides a wealth of information about your classes at a single glance. If students use their real name or initials on their individual devices (cell phones are sufficient), each of their responses to either multiple choice or open-ended questions is recorded in a spreadsheet that allows for quick data collection on individual students. The quizzes can be performed for a multitude of uses for example as a real time quiz as a class to review the content learned, an opening activity to assess prior knowledge before beginning a lesson, or as an exit slip to show what they have learned and any questions they still have. I found this tool to be very easy to use and I appreciate how it saves the quizzes for use in future, saving time and preparation. The limitations of this tool are that it is only moderately engaging to the students (they far prefer the competitive nature of Kahoot), and that it does require some time to set up ahead of time.
Summative Assessment Technology Tool
Bitstrips for Schools: This is honestly an outstanding tool to show student learning. After using this for three semesters in Law 12, the students always respond with positive feedback. I began with a free trial and have since purchased the annual subscription, as I cannot seem to find the same benefits from the ComicLife program that the district has purchased for staff. I love that Bitstrips for Schools is meant for classroom teachers and allows you to set up classes and assignments on the websites for students to access. It comes equipped with hundreds of images, props, and backgrounds that can be used in the comics and any other image can be uploaded into the program. You can provide instant feedback and revisions to the students and can share the student’s work in a class gallery. This could be used for any course content. I have seen it been used in Science where the students upload photos to show the relationships between organisms and animals in an ecosystem. It could be used for Math to help explain common formulas. It can be used in English as a way to summarize or modernize a reading or perhaps create an alternate ending. It also fits really well with Socials as a tool to recreate a historical event and to explain the significance. The trial is a great way to see if it is for you so give it a try.
Powtoon: Am I the only teacher who is bored to tears with Powerpoint presentations? For the students who insist on using a slideshow like presentation to show their learning, I often nudge them towards trying Powtoon for a challenge and many students thank me for it. There are two presentation modes available on the website and I strongly encourage the slides version rather than the studio version, especially if you are just getting started.
Canva Infographics: The days of posters and one-pagers are gone in my classroom to make way for some truly professional looking infographics. Who doesn’t love a good infographic? When I first started looking for a free infographic maker online tool, I was sadly disappointed to find some clunky not user friendly websites that truly were not free at all when push came to shove. Canva has stepped in to fill this void and I couldn’t be happier. Canva has been around for a couple years now and is a great, user friendly, drag and drop graphic maker. These infographics could be used in any classroom as a way to show student learning. I have personally encouraged their use as the presentation tool for student inquiry projects and the students who used this tool really enjoyed their end products.
Moving Forward: Student Portfolios
As I progress through the year, I am planning to spend some time trying to find a great tool for student self-assessment and portfolio building. In today’s day and age, there is a growing importance for students to develop a positive online presence where they can compile samples of work they are proud of. As assessment in our school systems begin to change, online portfolios are undoubtedly an excellent alternative to our traditional grading system. Best of all, it allows for self-reflection and metacognition as the students select specific items that show their own personal strengths and growth in their subject areas. If anyone has any recommendations for technologies that may be helpful for online student portfolios, please contact me and let me know. Wishing you all the best in these final weeks of school.