Here is my latest blog post for Edueto Magazine, published November 25, 2015
Assessments: What are some fast ways?
Assessments are an area where you could devote a lot of time trying to find the perfect assessment that would enable all students to have an equal opportunity to show what they know and can do with the material. There are many forms available both in the traditional paper format, or perhaps project format, and now with all of the web tools available, there are many more options for assessing students. In prior posts, I mentioned a few of these assessment tools just to give you an idea of what some of the options are that are available to teachers for use in the classroom. I could tell you the ones that I use most frequently but that does not mean these same tools would be the best choice for you and your students. So it depends on what type of assessment you are looking for, formative or summative, and what do you want the students to show by completing it, that’s where I would begin.
Some fun ways to start
Do you want a way to get a quick idea of whether or not the students understand the basic concept or a group of vocabulary words for example? Then you could use something quick such as Kahoot or Quizizz. Or an even quicker way to ask one question possibly to start your class, is to use a tool like PollEverywhere and ask students one question at a time and then look at their answers. Maybe you are looking for a different way to have students discuss something and need more options available for students to enter longer answers or even include images or other links as part of their answer. Those options are available now as well. But first, for the time being, let me tell you about two tools that I find to be quite useful on a regular basis in my classroom for quick assessments.
Kahoot and Quizizz
Since I have already discussed Kahoot! in my prior blog post, I will only state again that it is a great option for engaging the students, assessing their learning, having data quickly available and having some fun with the students in the process. A newer option that I have been using is one called Quizizz. Quizizz functions in a way similar to Kahoot and other tools like it in that students can access it by entering a join code, teachers can create their own quiz or search for some that are available on the public database. You can add images, provide a variety of choices, mark which answer is correct, but the only difference is that once you launch this assessment, the questions and answers appear on each student’s device.
You can set a timer so that the students have to answer each question within a certain time, but once they answer, they immediately get feedback and are surprised by the appearance of an image, a “meme” if you will, that pops up in between each question, which basically tells them they are either correct or incorrect. It is highly entertaining and the fun part about it in addition to these features is that when watching on the Smartboard you can see in real time how each question is being answered, tallied with correct or incorrect or not answered yet. The display almost resembles a race and you can see each student’s progress across the screen. At the end you can access the questions at the bottom, save the data and see how each student answered, look for trends, and so much more. Like some of the other assessment tools, you can have all of the results instantly and download a spreadsheet or a chart to get the feedback. The chart is even color coded to make it easier for you to see the areas that are in need of some additional instruction or use it for any other type of data analysis that you prefer. There are a lot of options available for you to analyze the results, so I recommend you just explore it on your own and find what benefits you and your classroom.
How do the students like Quizizz?
I always like to find out from my students how they feel about some of these tools, I find their input to be very important since in the end they are the ones that are using it. I want them to be engaged in the activity, enjoy the learning, as well as have some fun in the process. I was excited to try Quizizz for the first time and my students were very excited while playing it, their surprise and reaction to the images that popped up and seeing their progress really did make for a meaningful, engaging experience. By the way, the options enable you to mix the questions, remove the memes in between questions, and many more choices.
How about some discussion or online collaboration?
Another tool that you may consider if you have not already used it or heard of it is Today’s Meet. Today’s Meet is a backchannel discussion tool and is a great way that you can quickly create a question for discussion in your classroom or as I have used it in the past, set it up similar to online office hours where you are available for students to ask questions live, and it keeps track of the questions and you have a transcript available for others who may have similar questions. But it is a great way to discuss any variety of topics in class, perhaps during a video or another activity. It also gives students an alternate method of responding which does not require paper but they can simply connect to the room through their phone or device and enter their name and their response. People can comment back and forth to each other and it really is a quick way to open up discussion in the classroom can be used at the start of class before even beginning the lesson to determine opinions or ideas that students may already have about a certain topic.
How does it work?
To begin, once you have created an account if you want, creating a room for your meeting is very simple. All you need to do is go to the website, create a name for your room and share the link with whoever you need to access the room. You can choose to have it open for a specific period of time, you can even create an account and claim that room and use it as an ongoing basis. Whatever your needs are, quick answers or more extended discussion topics, Today’s Meet would be a very easy tool to begin using in your classroom. It does not require any of the users to have any login information other than the link and the transcript of all conversations can be saved and referred to later if needed.
So as I said there are many more choices available for assessing or having your students be more involved in a discussion, but if you want to start off quickly, these would be two really good ways that you can start. In my next discussion, I will add on a few other ways that you can use for classroom discussion, backchannel chatting and alternate assessments for your students. Thank you for reading, please contact me with any comments or questions I look forward to hearing from you. Twitter: @rdene915