I came across a great blog post the other day – Formative Assessments Are Easier Than You Think – that told the firsthand account of a teacher, Steven Anderson, who implemented formative assessment in his classroom. He used a sticky-note version of an exit ticket to elicit evidence of student learning and in his words, “what a difference that made.”
Formative assessment is ‘easier than you think’ and with all the digital tools and apps now available for mobile devices it’s even easier. We’ve shared some digital tools before and with the five tools that Steven shared combined with our earlier suggestions there are now 33 digital tools that we’ve uncovered that are free or inexpensive and help teachers implement formative assessment in their classrooms. Here they are:
A few of Steven’s discoveries:
Lino – A virtual corkboard of sticky-notes so students can provide questions or comments on their learning. These can be used like exit tickets or during the course of a lesson.
Poll Everywhere – Teachers can create a feedback poll or ask questions. Students respond in various ways and teachers see the results in real-time. As Steven indicates, with open-ended questions you can capture data and spin up tag clouds to aggregate response. You should note that Poll Everywhere has a limit to the number of users. Mentimeter (which we’ve listed below) does not which makes it a little more functional.
Socrative – Engaging exercises and games that engage students using smartphones, laptops and tablets.
A recap of those we’ve previously blogged about:
AnswerGarden – A tool for online brainstorming or polling, educators can use this real time tool to see student feedback on questions.
Ask3 – This app for the iPad allows students and teachers to collaborate on lessons both in and outside of the classroom. Questions can be posted to specific classrooms set up in the app, and students can add their thoughts, answers, and thinking to the whiteboard.
AudioNote – A combination of a voice recorder and notepad that captures both audio and notes for student collaboration.
BubbleSheet – An app that allows students to complete assignments and common assessments using an iPhone or iPad Quizzes up to 10 questions are free.
Coggle – A mind mapping tool designed to understand student thinking.
Conceptboard – This software facilitates team collaboration in a visual format – similar to mind mapping, but using visual and textual inputs. Compatible on tablets and PCs, Conceptboard can work from multiple devices.
Five Card Flickr – Designed to foster visual thinking, this tool uses the tag feature from photos in Flickr.
ForAllRubrics – This software is free for all teachers and allows you to import, create and score rubrics on your iPad, tablet or smartphone. You can collect data offline with no internet access, compute scores automatically and print or save the rubrics as a PDF or spreadsheet.
Formative Feedback for Learning – An iPad app that is designed to foster and encourage communication between students and teachers. Through a conference setting it uses icons to prompt discussions. Dylan Wiliam, our resident formative assessment expert, says, “Formative Feedback for Learning looks very useful. I can see myself recommending it to others.”
Google Forms – A Google Drive app that allows you to create documents that students can collaborate on in real time using smartphones, tablets and laptops.
iBrainstorm – An iPad app that allows students to collaborate on projects using a stylus or their finger on screen.
I>Clicker – A device that helps facilitate all student response to polls, questions and other teacher-led discussions.
iLEAP Pick a Student – Helps the teacher pick a student from the class, and uses turn-based selection so every student is selected before a student is picked again. Supports multiple classes and has a number of selection options.
InfuseLearning – A platform by which teachers can engage all students on any device, getting valuable formative feedback along the way.
iThoughts – This mind mapping app for Apple’s iFamily® is a great visual tool to help you brainstorm ideas, plan projects and themes, and set goals. As students discuss ideas and possible answers to discussions, educators can visually see the path that their thinking takes, helping to understand how students are learning.
Mentimeter – Allows you to use mobile phones or tablets to vote on any question a teacher asks, increasing student engagement.
Padlet – Provides an essentially blank canvas for students to create and design collaborative projects. Great for brainstorming.
Pick Me! – An easy to use app for the iPod, iPad and iPhone that facilitates random student selection. Can be organized by class for convenience.
PollDaddy – Quick and easy way to create online polls, quizzes and questions. Students can use smartphones, tablets, and computers to provide their answers and information can be culled for reports.
RabbleBrowser – An iPad app that allows a leader to facilitate a collaborative browsing experience.
QuickVoice Recorder – Another free voice recording app for the iPhone or iPad that allows you to record classes, discussions or other project audio files. You can sync your recordings to your computer easily for use in presentations.
Random Name/Word Picker – This tool allows the teacher to input a class list and facilitates random name picking. You can also add a list of keywords and use the tool to have the class prompt a student to guess the word by providing definitions.
SMART Response VE (for SMARTboards) – A cloud-based software that enables students to respond to planned and spontaneous questions and take quizzes using any of their favorite Internet-enabled devices, from anywhere.
Tagxedo – A tag cloud generator that allows you to examine student consensus and facilitate dialogue.
ThinkBinder – A collaboration tool that allows students to ask questions and discuss topics in a group, share, create and work together on almost any project.
TodaysMeet – This online collaboration tool allows educators to create a “room” in which students can share ideas, answers and thoughts to lectures and lessons. Educators can view student responses in real time for evidence of learning.
VoiceThread – Allows you to create and share conversations on documents, diagrams, videos, pictures or almost anything. This facilitates collaborative student discussion and work.
Vocaroo – A free service that allows users to create audio recordings without the need for software. You can easily embed the recording into slide shows, presentations, or websites. Great for collaborative group work and presentations.
Wordle – Generates tag clouds from any entered text to help aggregate responses and facilitate discussion.
XMind – A mind mapping software for use on computers and laptops.
This is a great list of digital tools and we’d love to have your suggestions on what we can add to it. What other tools are you using in your classroom or school? Share your additions in the comments section below and let’s build an even larger list!
Kathy Dyer is a Sr. Curriculum Specialist for NWEA, designing and developing learning opportunities for partners and internal staff. Formerly a Professional Development Consultant for NWEA, she coached teachers and school leadership and provided professional development focused on assessment, data, and leadership. In a career that includes 20 years in the education field, she has also served as a district achievement coordinator, principal, and classroom teacher. She received her Masters in Educational Leadership from the University of Colorado Denver.
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