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Twitter in the classroom? Make formative assessments fun with digital tools

By Team ISTE
October 27, 2015
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The emphasis on assessment in education isn’t going away anytime soon – and that’s a good thing, says Patricia Brown, elementary technology integration coach at Old Bonhomme Elementary School in Olivette, Missouri.

“Right now, there’s a lot of emphasis on data, a lot of emphasis on tests,” Brown says, because educators, administrators and legislators are hungry for evidence of student learning. Concrete information about what students know and don’t know can then be used to tweak lesson plans and learning environments to better meet student needs.

But all too often, tests are stressful and serious, and assessment data doesn’t reach teachers in time to allow for meaningful adjustments of instruction. Brown believes there’s a better way. She helps students celebrate learning with formative assessments that are fun, flexible and informative.

Digital tools for formative assessments

“I like to help teachers find ways to get past the paper and pencil method of assessing,” Brown explains. “There are so many ways that kids can creatively show you their learning in a timely and efficient manner, and ways teachers can conduct assessments that take away the testing anxiety that plagues so many kids.”

In her ISTE webinar, “Ed Tech: Tools Get Creative with Formative Assessments,” Brown discussed digital tools students and teachers can use to demonstrate and celebrate learning. “Digital tools engage students and provide teachers with quick feedback they can use to personalize learning experiences for their students.

These strategies also address the ISTE Standards for Teachers indicator on designing and developing digital age learning experiences and assessments.

The tools Brown recommends, including innovative uses of video camera capabilities and websites and apps such as Kahoot!, Quizizz and Twitter can be adapted to meet the needs of all kinds of kids, classrooms and teachers. “These tools can be used at any grade level, starting in kindergarten all the way up to 12th grade and beyond,” Brown says.  

Different ways to demonstrate learning

Having a wide variety of tools and techniques at your disposal allows you to better assess student learning. Students who don’t do well on written tests, for instance, can use alternate approaches to demonstrate their learning.

Use Twitter to quickly and easily assess older students’ learning at the end of a lesson. “You can have students tweet out what they learned in class that day, and use it as an exit slip as they leave your classroom,” Brown describes.

Such creative approaches appeal to today’s learners. “Any time you can take a tool that students use every day and use it for learning, you’ve got a win.”

Webinar participants will learn how to:

  • Save time assessing students.
  • Choose and adapt digital tools for assessment.
  • Help students creatively demonstrate learning.
  • Have fun with formative assessments.

ISTE members can watch a recording of the free webinar “Ed Tech Tools: Get Creative with Formative Assessments.” Not an ISTE member? Join today!