I have often reflected on the idea of formative assessment. In my reflection I have come up with several main ideas. First, this is a practice that has always been a part of good teaching. Second, it may be better stated as formative learning since I view assessment as a part of the overall learning experience. Last, I have come up with some wonderful formative learning tools, in nine different categories, for use in the classroom I wish to share with you in this series. Please keep in mind they are only tools and are best utilized through the important art of teaching. Please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS and also give me a follow on Twitter at mjgormans. I promise you will find some great information coming your way this school year…So Sign Up Now and please pass this on with a retweet! – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)
Quick Note – You are invited to join me along with others at PBS Learning Media For a Free Webinar entitled, How to Leverage Digital Media in 1:1 Classrooms, at 8 PM Wednesday August 19 at 8 PM EDT. There will be some great ideas to reflect on along with my Top 10 must have resources for the 1 to 1 classroom. Here is the link to register. Hope to see you there!
Part 1: Over 35 Formative Assessment Tools To Enhance Formative Learning Opportunities
What really is formative assessment? It might be expressed that it is the continuous checking for student understanding of the mandated content standards and skills before the summative assessment. This is definitely a great beginning but may also be somewhat limited. After all, a quiz, or numerous quizzes with some bell checkers could satisfy this definition. I am not sure if this really addresses the way student learning is facilitated in the classroom.
This causes me to reflect on the idea of digging deeper into the idea of what formative assessment really is. Perhaps we have the main idea stated with words that don’t quite fit. With this in mind, I would like to refer to “Formative Assessment” as “Formative Learning”. By thinking of it in this manner both student assessment and learning can be addressed. It also provides an insight into what the idea of formative assessment really is.
Yes… let’s look at the whole definition… one that cannot be read just half way through. Formative Assessment or Learning is the continuous checking for student understanding of the mandated content standards and skills before the summative assessment… … in order to guide and provide needed facilitation and appropriate learning opportunities that meet the group and individual needs. Wow… suddenly it seems to go beyond a few quizzes, bell ringers, and exit tickets. It really begins to encompass what good teaching has always been. Best of all, it allows us to integrate technology so that we can add to the already powerful human element.
Before providing some wonderful example of how technology can assist in formative assessment I would like to take some of the technology shine away for a moment. As stated before, the human element has always been so important as we look at Formative Learning opportunities. Informal dialogue and meetings with individual and groups of students has always been powerful. Looking at the smiles and eyes of a student can tell an educator so much. Just as important might be a pause of frustration. Looking over a shoulder at a student working, or reading, can provide wonderful insight and a clue into learning. Listening to students collaborate, present, and share provides a wonderful opportunity in preparing for instruction. Watching the hands go up, or slowly come down during a class discussion has always informed good teachers.
Perhaps in this day of standardized accountability we only see the quizzes, bell ringers, and exit tickets and can sometimes forget that formative assessment is something teachers have always done. Actually, these are items that can be quantified and provided as data. It is important that teachers take a step back and ask the questions what does formative assessment look like, sound like, and feel like. A technology item such as an interactive white board is not enough. Such technology is only a tool that allows teachers to turn on that human element which I often call the true art of teaching. It is at this point that Formative Learning can become the culture of a classroom.
Remember that technology does not provide the facilitation, people do. Technology can serve as an amplifier. Remember that the amplification can go both ways. It really is about how we as educators employ the tools for our students’ use. Always ask these two questions. How can this tool allow me to make student learning and growth better and, how can this tool make new learning and growth possible? Please enjoy and use the list that has been provided. Always keep in mind that real learning is a formative human experience, enjoy the journey! Below you will find my first category. In the coming posts you will discover the other eight categories as we uncover over 35 amazing formative learning tools.
Category 1: Video Tools for Formative Learning
- Flipped Classroom Capabilities
- Student Control
- Lecture +
- In class
- Formative Tools Built In
- LMS Enabled
Employing video tools in the classroom can be powerful for student learning. It is important to provide video that not only answers questions, but also provokes new thinking and inquiry posing new questions. The video a student watches can be the needed front loading for the next activity. Keep in mind that a video of a student’s teacher providing the activity can allow for some great blended connections. A video can also allow the student to control, rewind, and watch again… promoting self-regulated learning. Some of the tools provided below also allow for formative activities to be embedded in the video. The tools I am providing allow for integrating formative assessment into the learning. In a future post I may provide places to find amazing and engaging videos… but for now I will leave that for you!
Educannon – Creating a classroom movie is always fun. This tool allows the placement of videos in a formative loop allowing the teacher to check for student understanding as videos are watched.
Zaption – Link videos to this wonderful tool designed to place formative learning with in a video activity. Collect information on student progress as they access from home or school.
Edpuzzle – Explore this formative video tool that allows the teacher to track and view student understanding. Use a video from just about any source on just about any device. Allows for important student metacognition during the course of the activity.
Blubbr.tv – Now teachers and students can create their own video based trivia games. Allowing the trivia to be based on content standards can bring a whole new form to learning.
cross-posted at 21centuryedtech.wordpress.com
Michael Gorman oversees one-to-one laptop programs and digital professional development for Southwest Allen County Schools near Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is a consultant for Discovery Education, ISTE, My Big Campus, and November Learning and is on the National Faculty for The Buck Institute for Education. His awards include district Teacher of the Year, Indiana STEM Educator of the Year and Microsoft’s 365 Global Education Hero. Read more at 21centuryedtech.wordpress.com.