Two new apps I’ve seen implemented this week have been rather “lost in the shuffle” of my Tech Bloat epiphanies the past few days, so I felt it would be good to use today (a rather low-key, math review day) to get back to them. This first app, “Rover,” was one that answered a long-standing frustration of mine in Apple products’ inability to utilize flash player websites.
There really is no secret or complexity to this app…it is just another browser, like Safari or Chrome, but the difference is in the functionality. The app opens to suggestions, featured websites, and ideas for students, allowing a great starting point, and is a user-friendly, familiarly-formatted browser that, unlike anything else I’ve used, can open, read, and function, on Adobe Flash powered websites.
This app, named reminiscent of Socrates (my assumption…chuckle), is a practical and immediately efficient evaluation and assessment application with uses for both the teacher and the student.
We used this app today to take short 10-point quizzes, but it can be implemented on full blown assessments, as a classroom game, and as a peer quizzing tool, in addition to its traditional quiz and test uses. The benefit seen here is not necessarily in the fact that testing is taking place electronically, which can be done with any number of applications, but in the ease with which results are gathered and tabulated and the simplicity of the student app. The program is split into two distinct apps, one for the students and one for the teacher,
Once logged in with an individual classroom code, students are immediately taken to the current launched test or evaluation. This screen is simple, asks for a name, then begins testing with a “bare bones” format that is easy to understand and use.
This all looks familiar so far, though. The teacher portion is what is impressive to me. On either the app, or the desktop computer, the teacher has access to watch live results, see who has logged in, create, write, and format new assessments, edit old ones, and send score reports to themselves.
This Excel document give easy to read visual clues as to holes in instruction and concepts not mastered. This screen shot is a great example, as it is clear to see the content covered in Question #6 needs to be covered again. These were ideas and gaps not easily found or seen when grading by hand.
Ultimately, though, today’s blog is not all pictures and app explanation…and if you get nothing else out of today, and choose to use neither app, this is today’s “a-ha moment,” so tune in. I’m finding that new technology is not so much changing how we assess students, but changing how we assess ourselves as educators. This immediate feedback, in easily digestible formats like this, really allows teachers to best find “holes” in instruction, plan reteaching, and see trends in learning. These are all elements that, with traditional paper and pencil testing, the teacher wouldn’t have time to compile and analyze. With the new accessibility, though, educators are able to take an introspective look at their instruction all the time, not just standardized testing and final exams. These tools provide an excellent resource and outlet to do so, because as I strongly believe, to better assess our students, we first have to assess ourselves.