Top Tech Tools for Formative Assessment
Formative is a digital response tool for the BYOD or 1-to-1 classroom. After a detailed tutorial, teachers can upload or create assignments that let students type, enter numbers, draw (with a mouse or their finger, depending on the device), upload an image, or answer multiple-choice questions. Teachers can create classes (manually or by filling out a template spreadsheet) and then distribute their assignments to students through classes or via an access code. Students can have an account (which allows teachers to track their progress over time) or choose to respond without logging in. Teachers can watch their students' responses arrive in real time via the teacher dashboard, and teachers can send back grades (manually or automatically) and also send longer narrative responses in reply.After teachers create an account, they receive an automatically generated email from the company's co-founder/CEO (who is a former teacher) with links to a step-by-step walk-through and a page of YouTube tutorials. A blog linked from the developer website offers further assistance.
NearPod is an interactive presentation and assessment tool. Teachers create presentations that can contain Quizzes, Polls, Videos, Images, Drawing-Boards, Web Content and so on. The students access the teacher’s presentation through a code. It is up to the teacher to then move the class through the presentation and let them interact with the media as they go.
Kahoot! is a student response system for creating and administering unique, game-like quizzes. Questions, along with answer choices, are projected onto a classroom screen while students submit responses using a personal device(laptop, desktop, iPad). Kids' devices display color and symbol choices only; the actual answer must be viewed on the classroom screen. The energized, game-like atmosphere comes from the use of bright colors, along with suspenseful music. Liveliness in the game or quiz escalates as updated ranks appear on the class scoreboard after each question -- personal points data is sent to each device.Playing a game of Kahoot! doesn't involve an account, just a game PIN from the main screen and a name. However, making quizzes (termed "Kahoots") does involve entering user information. Teachers and students over 16 have access to publicly shared quiz templates, which can be used as-is or edited. Alternately, teachers and students can create their own new Kahoots.
Plickers is a rapid-response classroom polling tool that uses paper cards rather than mobile devices for student responses.
To conduct a poll, a teacher creates a question and projects it on-screen. Students hold up their custom response cards (each card is different), turning the cards in different orientations to indicate their answers (one side up for A, another side up for B, and so on). The teacher holds up a device (like an iPad or Android) and scans students’ responses, which are recorded. Responses can be automatically projected on a screen in the classroom, and teachers can track each student's responses over time.
PlayPosit is an easy-to-use tool that lets teachers add interactivity to stream video content from popular sites like YouTube, Teacher Tube, and Vimeo. The interface is inviting, limited to 3 buttons to crop length, build questions or finish the "bulb" (the term PlayPosit uses for a finished interactive video). An upgraded "Premium" account includes the option to add free-response questions.Throughout any video lesson, students can rewind to hear any part of the video again. They can't, however, fast-forward, skipping ahead of what they've already watched. Through a dashboard, teachers can get data about students' use and performance within the embedded assessment items.
Pear Deck is a simple presentation tool designed to enhance student learning during a slideshow. Ideally, each student in the class should have their own device, and the fact that Pear Deck works on all platforms makes it a great fit for a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) setting. Students use their devices to follow along with the teacher's slideshow on a classroom screen. Throughout, teachers can pause at points where they've added questions -- a variety of question types are available. Teachers can view students' responses to these questions immediately, as well as post the results on-screen for all students to see.
On the setup side of things, teachers will need to take some time preparing presentations and adding the interactive elements that make the platform engaging. Pear Deck has made this process somewhat easier for teachers -- there's a built-in Google search tool to use when adding images and videos into slides. What's more, Pear Deck will helpfully cite any images inserted using this tool!
One of the coolest feature is that students can anonymously help each other if someone gets stuck solving a problem.
All students do to "login" is tap on the Class Kick app and enter the class code that will be provided once the teacher account has been set up.
TodaysMeet was designed to generate a secondary online conversation -- or backchannel -- among students about class content or for project collaboration. Create a name for your virtual room and provide students with the room's URL. When setting up the room, you can also decide when the room will close -- from hours to weeks of creation. Students can engage in conversation guided by the teacher writing posts of 140 characters or less; students can post as many times as they wish.
With the Teacher Tools upgrade (which teachers get by signing up), teachers can access transcripts for all rooms forever, in addition to pausing rooms. Also, teachers can control which students join the room and mute disruptive students by blocking their posts from class view. Teachers can provide and update prompt and purpose to continually engage or react to formative assessment.
Socrative is a simple, dynamic online student response system that can help spark conversation and learning through user-created polls and quizzes (multiple-choice, true/false, or short-answer questions).
In addition to polling students on a single question, teachers can also create longer quizzes, which the software grades. Teachers can choose to let students see instantly whether their answer was correct, or they can provide an explanation in response to incorrect answers.