What strategy can you use that will double your student learning gains? The answer, according to 250 studies is formative assessment. Unlike summative assessment which typically takes place at the end of a section and evaluates learning according to a benchmark, formative assessment is intended to check understanding during learning.
One of the layers of the @citvated classroom model is Correction. It is this layer that not only encourages the use of tools that enable students to learn through mistakes, but it is also the layer that encourages the use of formative assessment tools.
The exciting thing is that there are a wide range of amazing tools that can be used not only for formative assessment, but for fun formative assessment.
Tools like Socrative and Kahoot provide ideal places to quickly setup assessments and get students enthusiastically engaged in the learning process.
Kahoot makes use of a gamification element where the students compete against each other in a race to top the leaderboard. In addition to being easy to use Kahoot allows teachers to both prepare questions before a lesson or to have pop-quizzes where questions are created on the fly.
The Most Dangerous Writing App
Or how about something totally different, something that combines creation, correction and conversation all into one. One of the most powerful ways of doing formative assessment is to get students to summarize what they have learned during the lesson. They could quite simply turn to their neighbour and chat about this - but then in all likelihood they will talk about sport or fashion, and not the lesson.
Well, here's a unique way to use technology to get them to think quickly about what they've just learned...because if they don't think quickly, there's a price to pay!
Get them to all visit "The Most Dangerous Writing App" website. It's free - uncluttered, and simply asks one question. "Session length?"
The students can be given anything from 5 mins to 60 mins to write down what they have learned. However there is a catch...if they stop writing for just 5 seconds, they lose everything and have to start again. In the words of the site:
"Because 'tis better to have written and lost, than never to have written at all."
This is a great way to force students to write, and think while they write. No time for looking at their friend or daydreaming about what they've missed on Snapchat, or when the lesson will end. It's write or start again.
Yet another exciting and active way to get students to share their thinking and for teachers to use formative assessment as a tool to improve learning, because after all, @activists do!
Dr. Craig Blewett is the author and founder of the Activated Classroom Teaching (ACT) approach. He helps schools and universities around the world towards the effective use of educational technology.
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