Four years ago I was making the shift from the Day Treatment classroom to a mainstream grade 7 class. I was nervous and excited but mostly I was worried that I would not be able to know what my students could do and who they were. Knowing that the learning curve for the next year would be great, I enrolled in a four-day, summer course my board offers called Great Beginnings. It was there that I met Royan Lee of The Spicy Learning Blog. I was so inspired by all that I had learned from Royan over that four-day period and have continued to call on him for advice, new ideas or a fresh perspective. Therefore, it was a given that I would call on him to provide input into assessment measures in a dynamic, 21st century classroom.
Wahid Khan of Inquire & Inspire, and I met two years ago when he was instructing a Google Workshop also hosted through the board. After attending Wahid and his teaching partner Trevor’s workshops all day, I went home motivated and determined to turn to Google for all my assessment and documentation needs. Since then whenever I have questions regarding technology, apps or am looking for new ideas for assessments I call on Wahid. Wahid is a dynamic educator, an excellent sounding board and a wealth of knowledge.
Royan is a family man, educator, and all around troublemaker. He is obsessed with learning relationships and experiences that cause shifts in his thinking. More importantly, he also is easily swayed by delicious, eclectic foods, and perfectly pulled shots of espresso. You can connect with him on twitter @royanlee, like his iphoneography at instagram.com/spicylearning, or read his musings on life and learning at royanlee.com.
Documenting Thinking with Video
I find it funny that, in our day and age, we still call some people “visual” learners. If you pay close attention to millennials and younger, I would argue that everyone communicates and thinks in visual terms to at least some degree. This is why documenting learning with images and video can be a powerful assessment tool. With the magic we possess in those mini supercomputers in our pockets and purses, we are now able to take HD video of learning in our class to use in assessment as, for, and of learning. In my middle school classroom, I regularly used video to document the process of thinking, communicating, and applying knowledge and understandings. It not only helped me document and analyse progress in my students, but also was an incredible way to have learning conversations with students and their parents. If the learning process is truly just as, if not more, important than its product, then we need to think outside the binder to document and use it.
Sample/example of the measure in use:
My name is Wahid Khan and I am a teacher, researcher, photographer, graphic designer, and parent. I recently completed my graduate studies (MA) from OISE at the University of Toronto. My research during my studies focused on the use of technology inside the classroom for the purposes of teaching (health education in particular) and uncovering disparities amongst minority students. While completing my degree, I was also (still am) a full-time elementary school teacher. At this exact moment, I am a Student Work Study Teacher / Researcher in my school board. In this role I document student learning in mathematics. Outside of these professional roles, I love having music playing in the background while I hang with my family and friends. Aside from that I have been photographer for over 15 years. I enjoy photographing landscapes, patterns, lines, architecture and people. NOT weddings.
Google Forms for Mathematics Assessment
The first mode of assessment that I would love to share is one of the incarnations of a math assessment tool me and my better half Trevor Krikst (@trevorkrikst) worked on and used in our evolving mathematics classroom. We wanted something that we could easily use, input data and capture meaningful formative assessment. The Google form created through Google Drive (Google Apps for Education) incorporates a few important elements that we wanted to record; Student name, the task, strategies they used, anecdotal comments, etc. The more we added to it the more convoluted it became and took away from the instantaneousness and ease of recording data “on the fly”. In the end, what made this form so meaningful to us was that it pooled all the data into a spreadsheet (automatically) and we could then sift through each student (easily) and view the comments we had for them, using some of those comments to insert into our report cards. Huge time saver.
GAFE For Guided Reading or Language Assessment
The assessment tool that we also developed through GAFE was one for our Guided Reading sessions. This version also evolved. In the image, as you see it below, we really stripped down what we were assessing and looking at. The beauty that came from this was the quickness in how we were able to report on our students. What we found was that were were able to record 2, sometimes 3 times on a single student in a single guided reading session. Imagine that for your at-risk learners and the amount of data you can generate on any student. Safe to say we had reams of digital data that showed progression of all of our students from Sept to June. Again, this data was captured and stored in a spreadsheet automatically. One of the great benefits of using GAFE.
We felt there was a huge advantage to using assessment tools through GAFE because we could easily go back and tweak our forms to update them and adjust what we were looking for. Talk about evolving.
Quizzes with Google
The third and last tool for assessment that I will share is a good old fashion mathematics quiz. So with a Google Form you can easily setup multiple choice, or short answer, just to name a few, types of questions. And you can add images as part of your question. If you see in this screenshot of a quiz, the ABCD fraction question is actually an image uploaded into the form, the question being below it at the bottom. Theres nothing more satisfying than taking images or screenshots of other questions and reusing them in your form. Now here is the best part. If you decide to go this route, do me a favor, look up the “Super Quiz” add-on, inside Google Drive (you can just google or youtube it). Through the Super Quiz add-on, all you have to do is put in the correct answers (like an answer key) and then once all your students have completed the quiz…. the Super Quiz add-on will already have MARKED IT FOR YOU! The data in a spreadsheet, automatically.
*FIGURATIVE MICROPHONE DROP.
(Note: If you would like these forms to be shared with you Wahid has generously agreed so please contact me and I can send them your way)
A huge thank you goes out to both Royan and Wahid for sharing a piece of their practice with us.
The Evolving Educator,