There is no shortage of formative assessment strategies, techniques, and tools available to teachers who use formative instructional practice in their classrooms. Here is an extensive list of 75 digital tools, apps, and platforms that can help you and your students use formative assessment to elicit evidence of learning. We didn’t just add any old tool to this list. Here are the criteria we used for those that made the cut:
- Supports formative instructional strategies and ways to activate learners to be resources for themselves and peers
- Is free or awful close to it (under $10 per year, where possible)
- Allows both students and teachers to take the activator role when possible (sometimes teachers need to get things started)
Before you dig into the tools, I encourage you to spend some time thinking about exactly what you want to accomplish with your students. “How to pick the right digital tool: Start with your learning goal” by Erin Beard can help you wrap your head around goals and guide you in choosing the best tool for the task.
Record audio and video
- Animoto Gives students the ability to make a 30-second video of what they learned in a lesson.
- AudioNote A combination of a voice recorder and notepad, it captures both audio and notes for student collaboration.
- Edpuzzle Helps you use video (your own, or one from Khan Academy, YouTube, and more) to track student understanding.
- Flipgrid Lets students use 15-second to 5-minute videos to respond to prompts. Teachers and peers can provide feedback.
- QuickVoice Recorder Allows you to record classes, discussions, or audio for projects. Sync your recordings to your computer easily for use in presentations.
- Vocaroo Creates audio recordings without the need for software. Embed the recording into slideshows, presentations, or websites.
- WeVideo Lets you use video creatively to engage students in learning. Teachers and students alike can make videos.
Create quizzes, polls, and surveys
- Crowdsignal Lets you create online polls, quizzes, and questions. Students can use smartphones, tablets, and computers to provide their answers, and information can be culled for reports.
- Edulastic Allows you to make standards-aligned assessments and get instant feedback.
- FreeOnlineSurveys Helps you create surveys, quizzes, forms, and polls.
- Gimkit Lets you write real-time quizzes. And it was designed by a high school student!
- Kahoot! A game-based classroom response system that lets you create quizzes using internet content.
- MicroPoll Helps you create polls, embed them into websites, and analyze responses.
- Naiku Lets you write quizzes students can answer using their mobile devices.
- Obsurvey Designed to make surveys, polls, and questionnaires.
- Poll Everywhere Lets you create a feedback poll or ask questions and see results in real time. Allows students to respond in various ways. With open-ended questions, you can capture data and spin up tag clouds to aggregate responses.
- Poll Maker Offers unique features, like allowing multiple answers to one question.
- ProProfs Helps you make quizzes, polls, and surveys.
- Quia Lets you create games, quizzes, surveys, and more. Access a database of existing quizzes from other educators.
- Quizalize Helps you create quizzes and homework.
- Quizizz Guides you through designing quizzes and lets you include students in the quiz-writing process.
- Quizlet Lets you make flashcards, tests, quizzes, and study games that are mobile friendly.
- Survey Hero Designed to build questionnaires and surveys.
- SurveyMonkey Helpful for online polls and surveys.
- SurveyPlanet Also helpful for online polls and surveys.
- Triventy Lets you create quizzes students take in real time using individual devices.
- Yacapaca Helps you write and assign quizzes.
- Zoho Survey Allows you to make mobile-friendly surveys and see results in real time.
Brainstorm, mind map, and collaborate
- AnswerGarden A tool for online brainstorming and collaboration.
- Coggle A mind-mapping tool designed to help you understand student thinking.
- Conceptboard Software that facilitates team collaboration in a visual format, similar to mind mapping but using visual and text inputs.
- Dotstorming A whiteboard app that allows digital sticky notes to be posted and voted on. This tool is best for generating class discussion and brainstorming on different topics and questions.
- Educreations Whiteboard A whiteboard app that lets students share what they know.
- iBrainstorm Lets students collaborate on projects using a stylus or their finger.
- Miro Allows whole-class collaboration in real time.
- Padlet Provides a blank canvas for students to create and design collaborative projects.
- ShowMe Interactive Whiteboard Another whiteboard tool to check understanding.
- XMind Mind-mapping software for use on desktop computers and laptops.
Present, engage, and inspire
- BrainPOP Lets you use prerecorded videos on countless topics to shape your lesson plan, then use quizzes to see what stuck.
- Buncee Helps students and teachers visualize, communicate, and engage with classroom concepts.
- Five Card Flickr Uses the tag feature from photos in Flickr to foster visual thinking.
- PlayPosit Allows you to add formative assessment features to a video from a library or popular sites, such as YouTube and Vimeo, to survey what students know about a topic.
- RabbleBrowser Allows a leader to facilitate a collaborative browsing experience.
- Random Name/Word Picker Facilitates random name picking. You can also add a list of keywords and use the tool to prompt students to guess words by providing definitions.
- Socrative Uses exercises and games to engage students with a topic.
- Spark Lets you add graphics and visuals to exit tickets.
- Typeform Helps you add graphical elements to polls.
Generate word or tag clouds
- EdWordle Generates word clouds from any entered text to help aggregate responses and facilitate discussion. Word clouds are pictures composed of a cloud of smaller words that form a clue to the topic.
- Tagxedo Allows you to examine student consensus and facilitate dialogues.
- Wordables Helps you elicit evidence of learning or determine background knowledge about a topic.
- WordArt Includes a feature that allows the user to make each word an active link to connect to websites, including YouTube.
Get real-time feedback
- Formative Lets you assign activities, receive results in real time, and provide immediate feedback.
- GoSoapBox Works with the bring-your-own-device model and includes an especially intriguing feature: a confusion meter.
- IXL Breaks down options by grade level and content area.
- Kaizena Gives students real-time feedback on work they upload. You can use a highlighter or give verbal feedback. You can also attach resources.
- Mentimeter Allows you to use mobile phones or tablets to vote on any question a teacher asks, increasing student engagement.
- Pear Deck Lets you plan and build interactive presentations that students can participate in via their smart device. It also offers unique question types.
- Plickers Allows you to collect real-time formative assessment data without the need for student devices.
- Quick Key Helps you with accurate marking, instant grading, and immediate feedback.
Foster family communication
- Remind Lets you text students and stay in touch with families.
- Seesaw Helps you improve family communication and makes formative assessment easy, while students can use the platform to document their learning.
- Voxer Lets you send recordings so families can hear how their students are doing, students can chat about their work, and you can provide feedback.
Strengthen teacher-to-student or student-to-student communication
- Biblionasium Lets you view books students have read, create reading challenges, and track progress. Students can also review and recommend books to their peers.
- Classkick Helps you post assignments for students, and both you and your students’ peers can provide feedback. Students can also monitor their progress and work.
- ForAllRubrics Lets you import, create, and score rubrics on your tablet or smartphone. Collect data offline, compute scores automatically, and print or save the rubrics as a PDF or spreadsheet.
- Lino A virtual cork board of sticky notes, it lets students ask questions or make comments on their learning.
- Online Stopwatch Provides dozens of themed digital classroom timers to use during small- and whole-group discussions.
- Peergrade Helps you create assignments and upload rubrics. You can also anonymously assign peer review work. Students can upload and review work using the corresponding rubric.
- Spiral Gives you access to formative assessment feedback.
- Verso Lets you set up learning using a URL. Space is provided for directions. Students can add their assignment, post comments, and respond to comments. You can group responses and check engagement levels.
- VoiceThread Allows you to create and share conversations on documents, diagrams, videos, pictures, and more.
Keep the conversation going with live chats
- Backchannel Chat A teacher-moderated version of Twitter.
- Chatzy Supports live, online chats in a private setting.
Create and store documents or assignments
- Google Forms A Google Drive app that allows you to create documents students can collaborate on in real time using smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
- Piazza Lets you upload lectures, assignments, and homework; pose and respond to student questions; and poll students about class content. This tool is better suited for older students as it mimics post-secondary class instructional formats.
There are several resources for learning more about formative assessment and responsive instruction strategies. Consider our formative practices workshops, where school and district teams can gain a better understanding of the role formative practice plays in instruction and the four foundational practices to use in the classroom. Or for a quick start, download our eBook “Making it work: How formative assessment can supercharge your practice.”
Jump in, try new tools and methods, and have fun!