ISTE Standard 2 recommends that teachers utilize modern digital resources while designing, developing, and evaluating learning experiences. When effective technology tools are integrated as part of student learning, then learners become more actively involved in their education. Using digital tools also provides opportunities for teachers to modify lessons according to student learning styles while continuing to develop individual student’s knowledge, skills, and abilities.
After thinking about ISTE Standard 2, I was curious how I could design digital student assessments for fifth grade students and myself to evaluate their skills, knowledge, and learning goals. There are two core objectives as part of this inquiry since part is focused on what can help me facilitate the learning process while the other part focuses on how students are responsible for their learning. First, what digital tools might assist me to quickly provide feedback and evaluation during class? Second, what digital resources allow interaction between me and myself as they create learning goals and monitor their progress?
Numerous educational platforms are fun and engaging for students to use while practicing their knowledge and skills. These resources frequently provide teachers the ability to review how students have progressed. Socrative is an app that students use to submit an electronic version of their work so teachers can evaluate comprehension (Harold, 2014). This is an example of a resource that provides opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and teachers the ability to provide quick feedback. If students submit their work during class, then teachers can take a moment to review everyone’s work and modify instruction as necessary. Figure 1 below is an example of the teacher’s dashboard when logging in to Socrative.
Another useful program for teachers is VoiceThread. VoiceTread is an online tool that allows teachers to upload digital content like a video, image, or document, so students can then collaborate by interacting with the content (Cicconi, 2013). This platform offers students options since they select from different methods to communicate and they can collaborate with their classmates (Cicconi, 2013). This is a functional tool for teachers to incorporate as part of any lesson and provides students the possibility to gain a better understanding of different perspectives and learning styles. Both of these resources offer the instructor the ability to digitally assess student work. Then teachers can decide the best way to continue facilitating lessons for individual students or the entire class.
Finding a program that allows students to be actively involved in their learning while evaluating their critical-thinking skills is challenging. I initially found a digital program called PEAK (Personalize, Engage, and Achieve with K12). PEAK is a functional tool for teachers to track students progress since it combines digital content and assessments from various sources such as the company itself, third-party vendors, and any sources teachers upload (Harold, 2014). The advantage of this program is that it is a single source for teachers to monitor all the data from multiple platforms. Another benefit is that teachers can easily review each student’s information and modify instruction as appropriate. A disadvantage of PEAK is that it usually tests basic comprehension skills. Another downside is that the platform is for teachers to assess learner information so students are not involved in monitoring progress. Student involvement is essential in the creation, evaluation, assessment, and reflection process.
One of my cohorts shared an article that examined an electronic portfolio program called ePEARL (Electronic Portfolio Encouraging Active and Reflective Learning). ePearl is a comprehensive tool for students to create learning goals, monitor and reflect on individual progress, share and comment on each other’s work, and teachers provide feedback during each step (Abrami, Venkatesh, Meyer & Wade, 2013). ePearl is used throughout the school year so teachers and students are consistently engaged in reflecting on the learning progress. ePearl researchers also discovered students demonstrated a notable increase in reading and writing skills when test evaluations were compared to classes that did not integrate ePearl (Abrami, Venkatesh, Meyer & Wade, 2013). This result is significant because the purpose of integrating technology is to guide and improve the learning process. ePearl is Canadian platform so I am interested in finding an alternative that incorporates American education standards. Otherwise, ePearl appeared to be a fantastic solution for teachers and students to use during the school year.
While digital tools have advanced over the last two decades, the integration of technology in the classroom is becoming increasingly more common. As the Internet and computer technology have evolved, teachers have attempted to effectively combine digital tools with student learning. According to Hew and Brush, three obstacles have made it difficult for teachers to utilize technology in the classroom (Cicconi, 2013). These issues are: 1) lack of proper resources; 2) inadequate support when implementing technology; and 3) difficulty creating meaningful content. These are important considerations teachers should be mindful of when determining the appropriate technology to integrate in lessons. Technology tools can enhance the assessment process for teachers and students when realistic options are selected and proper time is spent on training how to use the platform. When students and teachers collaborate to use these resources, the result is likely to be a better understanding and appreciation of the learning process.
Abrami, P., Venkatesh, V., Meyer, E., & Wade, C. (2013). Using electronic portfolios to foster literacy and self-regulated learning skills in elementary students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105 (4), 1188-1209. doi: 10.1037/a0032448
Cicconi, M. (2014). Vygotsky meets technology: A reinvention of collaboration in the early childhood mathematics classroom. Early Childhood Education Journal, 42, 57-65. doi: 10.1007/s10643-013-0583-9
EdTech Team. (2013). Teacher’s guide to socrative 2.0. Retreived from: http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/12/teachers-guide-to-socrative-2o.html
Harold, B. (2014). Building better feedback loops. Technology Counts, 33 (25), 8-12. Retrieved from: http://ezproxy.spu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=ip&db=aph&AN=94901239&site=ehost-live