Technology and assessment

Sana Noor, primary ICT teacher, Pathways School Noida, India

This article talks about how technology can be used effectively for assessment. It talks about three examples at different age levels where a particular tool was used to ease the process of assessing and grading students.

When the last generation was in school, the word “assessment” resulted in sweaty palms and increased heart rates, because it almost always meant taking a test!

Fortunately, times have changed and an assessment spectrum can range from a drama performance to a simple quiz. We are not restricted anymore to the pencil and paper way. It is a new yet challenging arena of education, more so for the primary school since our youngest students are just learning to read and write.

As a technology integration specialist in my school, my core responsibility remains to keep the school community enthused about the use of technology in learning. Since assessments are an integral part of the whole parcel, I have been exploring quite a number of tech tools through which we can make the mundane process of taking and grading a test much more exciting for both students as well as teachers. Here are three of my success stories where I effectively used technology for assessments.

For quite some time now, we have been using Google Forms for taking various e-surveys around the school. I never knew that they can also be used as a quizzing tool just by using a simple add-on called Flubaroo. When grade 1 was working on their How we organize ourselves unit with the central idea: Communities make efforts to create transportation systems that meet their needs), the students needed to conduct a formative assessment to assess their second line of inquiry (Decisions involved in using transportation systems). This could definitely have been done in class the traditional way, but we wanted to make the 5-6 year olds experience an online quiz. By using Flubaroo with Google Forms, a simple survey was magically converted into a quiz in which the responses were generated automatically and saved on an Excel sheet for analysis.

In another instance, grade 5 was working Where we are in place and time with the central idea: Evidence of past civilizations can be used to make connections to present-day societies. Their teachers had given them some reference data to read and then wanted to assess their understanding and the knowledge they gained from it. Yet again, an in-class quiz could have been taken but without the enthusiasm that was created when we used an online tool called Kahoot to create a quiz. Once the students join using a unique game pin, the quiz starts. Since everything happens in real time and after every question, the students can see the top five scorers, which builds excitement. Once done, the result is instantly generated and saved on an Excel file which can be easily downloaded. So within a span of forty minutes, a history quiz was wrapped up amidst whoops and hurrahs.

Since we believe in harnessing the visual and auditory retention of our students, we show them a variety of videos from different sources. We used to struggle in gauging what was grasped by the students after watching a particular video; we either paused at intervals, stopped for a quick discussion or gave a worksheet at the very end. This dilemma was resolved with a superb online tool called PlayPosit. You sign-up and create your class with all the student details. Next, look for an appropriate YouTube video. Using PlayPosit, insert questions at relevant intervals. Students receive instant feedback before continuing through the video. From the teacher login, student progress is captured and saved on the teacher profile. We used PlayPosit for grade 3 when they were working on their Who we are unit with the central idea: The choices we make contribute to personal well-being, and it included a basic study of the digestive system.

I got all of these wonderful ideas from my network of teachers from across the world on Twitter. It is these global connections which enable me to make my students and colleagues much more enthusiastic about using technology effectively.

This is Sana’s sixth year in the PYP curriculum and thirteenth in teaching. She is passionate about technology and integrating it with classroom learning. Sana believes that technology is a huge catalyst in engaging students towards enduring understanding. She is an enthusiastic tweeter and enjoys learning from her Professional Learning Network (PLN). She tweets at @sansanananana.

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