Sunday, December 2, 2012

Techniques for formative assessment

Here are a couple more tools you can use for formative assessment (activities that provide you with information about how to design future learning activities).

Analogy Prompt
Occasionally, when you are eliciting information from students about how well they understand the material you are teaching, get them to complete this sentence: "(a designated concept, principle, or process) is like ___ because ___."

3-minute Pause
The 3-minute Pause gives students an opportunity to stop and reflect on new knowledge recently acquired. Get them to complete the following statements:
  • I changed my attitude about ... because ...
  • I became more aware of ...
  • I was surprised by ...
  • I felt ...
  • I empathized with ...

Ticket to Leave
This is a closing activity where students respond in writing or verbally to short assignments before they leave the room.

Formative assessment: index card summaries

Distribute index cards in class if your are teaching face-to-face, or set up a bulletin board discussion if you are teaching online.

Instructions to students:
Side 1 / Question 1: Based on our study of (topic), summarise one of the main ideas you have encountered as a single sentence statement.
Side 2 / Question 2:  In one sentence, identify something about (topic) that you do not yet fully understand.

Collect and read the material and use it to provide students with extra learning resources, or to guide their future learning.

Web-based tools for teaching

There are a range of tools available that facilitate collaborative and group work on the web. Perhaps surprisingly, they are often free. Here are some I have come across recently. These can be used in online classes, but are equally useful in supporting face-to-face teaching.
Titan Pad
This a tool that provides for multiple writers and editors on the same document. Updates happen in real time, there is an infinite undo button, and each contributor gets his or her own colour.
Crocodoc isn’t free, but you can sign up for an evaluation account. Crocodoc is a tool designed to convert Microsoft Office and PDF documents to HTML5. These documents can be embedded in any web or mobile application using iFrame or Javascript. The application has a range of commenting and mark-up tools, so that multiple authors can comment, highlight, and drawing on the document in creation.
iResponse is two iPhone/iPad apps – one for the teacher and one for the students. It allows students to use their mobile devices as classroom clickers, responding to multiple-choice, true-false, yes-no, and survey questions. The teacher can view the class results on a Mac. It’s a pretty nifty Mac application that means that institutions can get students to use their phones and tablets to replace the hand-held classroom response devices that have been around for several years.
VotApedia is an audience response system that makes use of mobile phones. You can set up surveys, questionnaires, quizzes, anonymous texting, identified texting, and ranking, e.g. of conference presentations. It's a great tool: free, and invented up the road from me by the CSIRO.
Lino It
Lino It is a “free sticky and canvas service that requires nothing but a web browser”. Those who have access can post a sticky note to their canvas from anywhere at any time. The canvas can be shared by several people.
Wallwisher is similar to Lino It. It’s a free shared web-based notice board that allows you to make noticeboards, teach, bookmark sites, discuss things, moderate discussions, brainstorm, send messages, plan events, keep notes, make lists, watch and share videos, and collect feedback.
This one isn’t free, but you get a 30-day trial of the application, which is a tool to help students to write. It looks pretty good.
A tool to make online quizzes.
Another tool for making online quizzes.
This certainly isn’t free, but it looks like a great tool. Here’s what they say they do:
“With VoiceThread, group conversations are collected and shared in one place from anywhere in the world. All with no software to install.
“A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos and allows people to navigate slides and leave comments in 5 ways - using voice (with a mic or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam). Share a VoiceThread with friends, students, and colleagues for them to record comments too.
“Users can doodle while commenting, use multiple identities, and pick which comments are shown through moderation. VoiceThreads can even be embedded to show and receive comments on other websites and exported to MP3 players or DVDs to play as archival movies.”
 If you are using something along these lines, post a comment and a link.