Assessments, assessments, assessments! I know that many teachers feel like all they do is give assessments for their classes, the district, and the state. But assessments help us to know if students have learned the standards, as well as help us to focus on what the students still need to learn. NETS-T 2d encourages teachers to provide students with multiple and varied formative and summative assessments aligned with content and technology standards and use resulting data to inform learning and teaching.
Wayland utilizes the NWEA MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) for students in K - 8 grades as an assessment tool that can help teachers to know if there students are "on track". These assessments are online summative assessments that are given 3 times a year (fall, winter, spring). After these assessments are given, teachers should know how to access the results (through Reports Login) and use them to inform their teaching.
Next year, Mathematics and English/Language Arts students in Michigan will take the Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test using either a computer or tablet.This is replacing the MEAP, except in Science and Social Studies. This is another summative assessment for students in grades 3-8 and 11th grade. The results from these can help teachers as they prepare for teaching the next year because these assessments will be given at the end of the year.
In Wayland, teachers can also create online assessments in Data Director, Infinite Campus, and ExamView. Teachers generally use these for summative assessments, but they can be used for formative assessments as well.
For formative assessments, there are many technology tools like Socrative and Quizlet, as well as more project-based technology tools like Animoto. Any technology tool that allows the student to show the teacher that they understand what is being taught, will work for formative assessment. For more ideas please check out my webpage on Formative Assessment.
Many teachers in Wayland are already utilizing technology for both formative and summative assessments, but there is always room to learn more about different digital assessments that are available.
As teachers, we are aware that all students learn and access information in different ways. We cannot just lecture to meet the needs of our entire class. Therefore, we need to find ways to share the same information in different ways. The NETS-T or ISTE Teacher Standards list this as 2c, to customize and personalize learning activities to address students’ diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources.
With the use of technology, it can be very easy to offer multiple ways to learn about a given topic. For example, if a teacher was discussing Martin Luther King Jr. in February for Black History Month, they could talk about it in class. But it would be very beneficial for many students to view a video of one of his speeches. In addition, a teacher could find an interactive website that students could access from school or home to learn even more about him and the time period. Additionally, a teacher could engage the students with a blog in which students compare and contrast Dr. King with a modern day activist. The technology makes information about Dr. King available in many forms.
The NETS-T 2c standard also embraces the idea of UDL or Universal Design for Learning. "UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone--not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs." Technology can be a tremendous aid for a teacher choosing to implement UDL principles in their classes. You can learn more about UDL and Technology from the National Center on Universal Design for Learning.
Teachers can also offer differentiated learning experiences with the use of technology. I have seen this done in many ways from the Khan Academy Coach for differentiating math lessons to learning menus that involve technology and allow students choices of tasks to complete to show understanding.
As you continue to prepare lesson plans this year, don't forget to utilize technology as a valuable differentiated learning tool for students.