Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Formative Assessment

As a teacher, I'm always looking for ways to spice up and speed up the grading process. Here are a few of the free services that I like to use for assessing my students.

In any configuration of devices:

The camera app can quietly be one of the most powerful tools in your classroom. Students can give you a 30 second video on what they learned in the lesson. Once made, students could share that video on their Kidblog or share it with you on Google Drive.

Google Forms
The new Google Forms is easier to use and more engaging by allowing for the creator to import pictures and videos. However, one simple formative assessment is to create a generic exit ticket. Create three questions labeled, "Question 1", "Question 2", and "Question 3." With each question allow a simple text answer. With this template you can write your three big questions on the board and have students answer the questions and submit them through Google Forms.

Pro Tip: Create a QR code and tape it to each student's table or desk so they can scan it and get right to the Google Form or create a link to the homescreen on each student's iPad so they can access the form.

In classrooms that have 1 to 1 devices:

Socrative is a nice bare-bones assessment tool. Students can access Socrative from an app or from the website. Socrative has a simple interface that allows teachers to make Quizzes, Quick Questions, a Space Race, and Exit Tickets.

The reason Socrative gets the #1 spot for me is the ability to ask open ended questions. All of these online tools allow students to answer true/false and multiple choice, but if I really want to get to see what my students are thinking, I'll ask an open ended question.

Space Race is another engaging feature in Socrative that puts students into teams, and their rocket ships race against the other teams throughout the quiz.

Don't forget that Socrative quizzes are also easy to share so if one of your team members creates a quiz or exit ticket, they can share it with the other teachers to make a common assessment.

Kahoot is possibly the most engaging student assessment tool I have seen. Students love answering the multiple choice questions since teachers can embed pictures and Youtube videos.

A new feature is that students can even play asynchronously through Ghost Mode so you can have a student who was not present for the lesson take the Kahoot at another time.

Teachers do like the database of pre-built Kahoots, but I have always put more stock in my own assessments since I was the one who did the teaching. Sometimes the pre-build assessments do not fit with what or how my lesson was taught.

Kahoot quizzes can be shared with other Kahoot users as well.

Nearpod is as close to magic as an iPad can get. Nearpod allows you to use student's iPads as a projector. You can create a presentation and share it onto every screen in the room. I use Nearpod a lot to show my Google Slides presentations (Ask me sometime to show you how to import a Google Slides presentation into Nearpod.)

Within a presentation you can embed quizzes, short answer questions, videos, and websites. Nearpod saves the answers and even allows you to share a student's answer with the whole class.

Nearpod also has a library of free and paid presentations that you can use with your class.

In classrooms with a single iPad or class set:

Plickers is a great way to give a quiz or survey to you class with only one iPad. Through the Plickers site, you can register your class so that each student is assigned a certain number. Then students use their numbered cards to answer multiple choice or true/false questions. The Plickers answer cards can be printed onto cardstock so they will hold up better. Teachers have had mixed results with laminating the cards due to the glare from lights.