Category Archives: ECI833

The End of a Rewarding Journey…

This is my summary of learning for EC&I 833.  This was such an engaging course and I have learned so much from Dr. Couros and my classmates.  The end of this course also brings the end of my Master’s degree in Educational Leadership.  This has been a great program and I wouldn’t trade my experiences and the friends I have met along the way for anything.  I am happy to complete this program and can now focus more on my family and other interests.

The Quest for the Summary of Knowledge: An #ECI833 Adventure

It’s hard to believe that we are at the end of another semester. Throughout this course, I have gained so much knowledge about the history and foundations of Educational Technology. Not only that, but I have also benefited from building a community with others who are passionate about EdTech. I have made great connections with my #ECI833 classmates over the semester, which has added so much value and meaning to the course.

One of the connections that I made early on in my Master’s journey was with my classmate, Catherine. We worked together during my first year of teaching and then re-connected during my first EdTech class. Coincidently, at the start of this semester, Catherine and I started working together at the online school in our division. Throughout this semester, we have had a lot of great conversations about EdTech and online learning. We thought it would be the perfect opportunity to collaborate on our Summary of Learning together!

This Summary of Learning project was a blast! We had so much fun creating and collaborating and also learned a lot in the process. Here is a break down of how we created our project:

1. We wanted to think outside of the box, so we brainstormed a creative story to summarize our learning. We sent Snapchat videos back and forth whenever we had an idea for our project. Once we had a theme, we created a shared Google Doc to organize our ideas.

2. We both had experience with WeVideo, so we decided to use it as our video editing platform. I thought I knew a lot about WeVideo before we started our Summary of Learning, but I gained even more experience and knowledge throughout this process.

3. All of our video footage was filmed in front of the green screen. This allowed us to use any type of background we wanted! Every time we filmed, we were intentional about wearing our masks and keeping our distance. Catherine says in her blog post, “We were very mindful of recording safely in person. We wore masks and if scenes included both of us, we recorded the scene separately and then edited the clips together. This is very easy to do when you are using a green screen background.”

4. When we finished our filming, we took turns editing the video. Originally we wanted to use the Collaboration feature on WeVideo, however, this feature didn’t include the crop tool. Instead, we used FaceTime and Zoom to work together virtually on the editing. We both had so much fun on this project… it honestly didn’t feel like work!

This semester was so rewarding. I am so thankful for everything I learned from my classmates each week and I know the learning will continue! Thank you for joining me on this EC&I 833 adventure. I hope you enjoy our Summary of Learning… “The Quest for the Summary of Knowledge.”

-Amanda

Let’s ‘Make’ It Happen

Co-Written By Dean Vendramin and Melinda Demeter

There are couple of movements, which although not entirely new, deserve a push, poke, and a plug.  These movements are coding, and makerspaces being infused in the classroom.  Recently, in an Education Master’s class, we examined the learning theories, tools, and complexities of these movements.  We were listening to a podcast recently about making and coding in the classroom.  It went along the lines of this … ‘the mindset that we need to prepare students to climb that ladder and be able to win the race is no longer relevant in today’s world, the ladder has been replaced by a maze that students need to be able to navigate, pivot, and create their own path in’.  We believe that this reality is true and that it is education’s responsibility to provide students with learning opportunities to best prepare them for their future. Both coding and makerspaces provide these opportunities. 

Coding in the classroom usually gets designated to Computer Science classes and maybe a math class.  However, coding should not be just relegated to a couple of specific classes.  Also, coding isn’t just a 0s and 1s thing or advanced coding language, block coding makes the entry point easier and one can even do coding ‘unplugged’ where one can use paper cutouts to create computational learning opportunities.  Exposing and engaging students with computational thinking opportunities provides them with skills to solve wicked problems.  The goal isn’t to have all students become computer scientists but to allow students to construct their learning and grow a valuable growth mindset skill set.  

As both Dr. Bryan Sanders and the Codebreaker Brian Aspinall highlighted during our interviews (http://shorturl.at/makecode ), coding has a lot to offer when it comes to teaching various subject matters, for example Language Arts. Hour of Code (https://hourofcode.com ) offers a variety of examples that can be easily implemented into teaching. Scratch (https://scratch.mit.edu/ ) is an amazing tool for story writing as well as Minecraft Education where the stories can come to life. Saskcode (https://www.saskcode.ca ) offers different ideas and lesson plans on coding as well as PD sessions. Using the Bee Bot, Ozobot, Arduino, etc. are fun and engaging ways to take learning to the next level. Having coding infused into our classrooms also helps reaching the various needs of our students. One might even call them a type of Assistive Technology.  

If you are asking yourself if implementing makerspaces is truly worth the trouble, you need to listen to Jennifer Gonzales’ podcast (https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/makerspace/ ) where John Spencer not only describes the importance of constructionism and connectivism makerspaces offer but the depth they give to the process of learning and teaching by being fully immersed in the beauty of creating.  In the above mentioned podcast, John Spencer also provides a few ideas on creating our own makerspaces and incorporating them into teaching various subject matters to help all our students play an active role in their own learning. 

Hope this provides some insights and resources that one can use to start or continue their coding and makerspaces journey.  For more resources and tips check out http://shorturl.at/makecodewakelet .  You don’t have to be an expert or have all the bells and whistles to start being a part of this journey.  There are many entry points and many people willing to offer their time, talent, and treasures.  So next time you are thinking of having your classroom experience level up, make it happen. As always you can reach out to the two of us on Twitter @vendi55 and @Melinda74108321 

Reality Doesn’t Bite

Our final ECI 833 topic was Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality in the classroom. Alec brought I an amazing guest presenter, Brett Salakas from the ‘land down under’.

I appreciated Brett’s message about VR/AR/MR tools not needing to be ‘over the top’ and inaccessible to most.  His presentation focused on his top five tool to integrate these tools into the classroom.

First up was https://quivervision.com/ This tool allows colouring pages to ‘come to life’. I noticed a few of our classmates were trying this out with great success the next day https://twitter.com/jenny1979rocks/status/1334977999460945920.  I saw a landmarks pack that would go well with the civilization unit I’m currently teaching.

Next up was https://www.360cities.net/ which takes you on some amazing tours of cities and landmarks around the world.  We might not be able to travel in this time of COVID but we can scope out some future travel plans and take in some amazing sights.  Let’s go globetrotting VR style.

We then checked out https://www.curiscope.com/ Talk about getting to the heart of the matter.  One of the products from this site is an interactive inside the body t-shirt that was out of the world (along with the space products available.  It was so cool that I shared this with a Health Science teacher at my school and we ordered a t-shirt the next day.

Ready to hold the digital world in the palm of your hand?  Check out https://mergeedu.com/cube and see it for yourself.  Many STEM and other applications are available with this tool and they even have a headset that looks very engaging.

I have played a bit with https://cospaces.io/edu/already and see great engagement opportunities with this. I want to create Castle Museums of the Middle Ages with my social 9 class. I’m hoping draw some help from our Digital Fluency Consultant Jen Owens for this one 🙂

The last tool Brett shared was https://situ360.com/ With a 360 camera, one can upload and create interactive panorama environments.  I checked out one that involve trigonometry and I see a lot of potential to make math more meaningful.  This is something I hope to pursue in the future.

Brett also shared his Teacher Guide to Virtual reality.  This infographic provides a nice over of this topic https://twitter.com/MRsalakas/status/903778658074075136/photo/1

It would be great to see VR become a reality in our classrooms.  I have some https://www.oculus.com/go/ in my classrooms and love to use them for some amazing immersive tours but would like to take them to another level.  I also think that these types of tools will become more implemented in our society and it is important to provide students with opportunities to learn and create in these environments.

Summary of Learning ECI 833

Wow! Our journey through EC&I 833 has finally come to an end! There are so many great take aways from this class that I have easily implemented and continue to implement into my classroom. I am extremely grateful to all of you who gave me advice and helped me work through the various tools shown in class. Your kindness, patience and encouragement are something I will always be grateful for.

Group projects are always something I look forward to-brainstorming, collaborating, creating and working together as a team has always been something I thrive on. This term was no different. My group members were stellar and I enjoyed our time together.

Even though we had to learn “away” from each other, it never seemed to hinder our learning, our project, or most of all, how we built relationships.

Sometimes I would come to class exhausted but as we learned together I would walk away inspired to try something new. And learn something new, I certainly did. You all are amazingly talented educators and I was grateful to learn along side such wonderful humans.

Thank you and enjoy my Summary of Learning for EC&I 833.

AT Is A-OK

Following a great presentation by the Assistive Technology (AT) group, this week’s blog post focus on the importance of understanding and providing students AT opportunities. To examine this topic, I took to my school/classroom to see where AT are at in my ‘own’ backyard. I was fortunate to connect with our school’s Learning Resource Teacher (she compiles our Records Of Adaptations and more) and a student that has benefited from AT (especially on the computer). They were great conversations (have a listen).

AT w/ a LRT

As part of my look at Assistive Technologies in the classroom, I interviewed our school’s Learning Resource Teacher (LRT) and discuss AT at our school.

AT w/ Nico

As part of my look at Assistive Technologies in the classroom, I interviewed Nico (Nico is 18 and have his permission to post), a student has used AT in his education, about how the use of AT has impacted him.

AT in My Classroom

As part of my look at Assistive Technologies in the classroom, I look around my room and examine some of the AT I have access to and use.

I loved sitting down with my two guests and talking about the way AT can impact students. The AT in my classroom tour helped me see that I’m on the right track, but could always do more.

One app that I am aware of and used (but would like to use more) is Immersive Reader. Since we use Microsoft products in my school division, this app is accessible AT embedded in many of the online tools I use such as Office 365, OneNote, Teams, Flip Grid, Wakelet, and yes even Minecraft Education Edition .

Microsoft has some great training on this and other AT in their education community – go here to check out this course – Accessibility tools: Meeting the needs of diverse learners

It’s amazing what a powerful addition this app can be for so many.

After reading the suggested passage from Assistive technology: Impact on education, employment, and independence of individuals with physical disabilities, I could only think about my talk with Nico. AT has allowed him to succeed and wish that for all students. Nico wants to be a Math teacher (even after getting taught by me) without AT I’m not sure he’d be able to follow his dreams (I told him I’ll stick around teaching so I be lucky enough to have him as an intern :-)). I also looked at the information on SETT and this helped me reflection on the interviews I did and my room AT overview. I always feel I put the Student first and I’m more than willing to make accommodations that will help students be successful, I feel the physical aspects of the Environment in my class lend themselves to AT opportunities (but I also feel there is still so much more that could be available), I try to provide opportunities to complete Tasks in a variety of ways that can play to student strength and I try to supply the Tools both electronics and non-electronic (with some knowledge of how to use as well). This was a useful video I found that brought SETT all together for me.

This article snap, from the reading Leveraging Emerging Technology to Design an Inclusive Future with Universal Design for Learning, sums it all up for me and my reflection AT.

Assistive Technology Tools to Empower Students in Online Learning

Technology gives us the ability to reach our goals, to complete tasks, and to succeed in ways that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. Assistive Technology (AT) is what makes a lot of this possible. Assistive Technology is “any device, software, or equipment that helps people work around challenges so they can learn, communicate, and function better.” In education, it has opened doors and broken down barriers so that learning is more accessible for students.

During our ECI 833 class last week, Kalyn, Megan, Leigh, and Jenny highlighted the 3 categories that Assistive Technology can fall into: Low Tech, Mid Tech, and High Tech.

Melissa Finch gives an extensive list of the 3 types of AT in her blog post “Low Tech, Mid Tech and High Tech Assistive Technology” and outlines some of the examples in the photos below.

Low Tech: Equipment or devices that do not have electronic features, can be easier to use, and are usually less expensive. This type of Assistive Technology is frequent in the physical classroom and is often used by teachers in their daily lessons and activities.

Mid Tech: These devices or equipment are harder to come by. They can be battery operated and are usually more complex to use.

High Tech: These devices are digital or electronic, are usually the most expensive, and can be the most complex type of Assistive Technology. This type of Assistive Technology is used most often in an online classroom environment.

As I reflected on the different types of Assistive Technology, it got me thinking about the difference between the physical classroom and an online classroom environment. Both types of learning experiences require Assistive Technology in order for students to succeed. There are AT tools that can be used in both types of classrooms, but over the past couple months, I have seen how specific tools can benefit teachers and students during their online learning experience.

Reading Rockets calls attention to 5 categories that AT can help with. I have decided to round up some of my favourite Assistive Technology tools that can be used by both students and teachers within these categories. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but rather a starting point.

Listening

Google Meet Closed Captioning

Google Meet has a feature that captures what the speaker is saying by typing it on the screen. This allows teachers and students to read what is being said, which can remove a barrier if someone struggles with hearing. All you have to do is click the Closed Caption button.

Math

EquatIO

I have mentioned this math tool before in a previous blog post about Google Chrome Extensions. This is an Assistive Tech tool because it has a calculator built into the extension. It also has a “Screenshot Reader” that allows you to select an equation and then it reads it out loud for the user. It creates an accessible math experience for both teachers and students.

Organization and Memory

Evernote

Evernote (@evernote) | Twitter

This has been one of my favourite tools lately! I recently transitioned into a new position at work, which required a lot of learning and taking notes. Instead of writing my notes out, I kept everything organized with Evernote. It allows you to keep your notes in “Notebooks”, which are like categories. Within each note, you can add text, links, charts, sketches, photos, attachments, and even Google Drive documents. You have the ability to copy templates of calendars or schedules, and you can even share your note with others. This is a great Assistive Technology tool to help remember important notes and stay organized.

Reading & Writing

Google Read & Write

Google Chrome Read&Write

This is a dynamic Assistive Technology tool that can assist students and teachers in many areas. With its tools like “Text to Speech,” “Talking Dictionary,” and “Screenshot Reader,” it can drastically assist students with their reading activities and assignments. It assists in the area of writing with the “Word Prediction,” and “Speech Input” tools as well.

There are so many possibilities with this tool. If you are interested in using it but don’t know where to start, this “Read & Write for Google Chrome Quick Reference Guide” describes each tool in detail.

Areas to Consider

Before implementing each and every Assistive Technology tool possible, it’s important to recognize what’s needed, especially if you are teaching in an online learning environment. It’s not as simple or straightforward in an online classroom.

It takes a lot of communication with the child and family to find out what they need at home in order for them to access their learning. The number one priority is making sure they have access to technology and the internet so that other online tools can be accessed and implemented. Above all, building relationships with the child and family before embarking on the learning journey is what’s needed first and foremost.

Technology not only gives us the ability to assist our students, but also empower them. It’s crucial that we strive to get the right technology tools into the hands of our students so that they can learn and succeed in whatever learning environment they are in.

-Amanda

Experience with Assistive Technology

It was truly a pleasure getting to learn more about assistive technology during that week’s presentation from Kalyn, Megan, Leigh, and Jenny. After listening to their presentation, it made me realize that some of the everyday tools we use in the classroom can be classified as assistive technology. I definitely agree with the presenters when they say that assistive technology can benefit all students, not just those with physical or learning disabilities.

Through their presentation, they did a great job of explaining the various levels of assistive technologies being used in the classroom. I spent some time reflecting and thinking about what tools I’ve used in my teaching practice. Here are a few examples of assistive technology from all three levels used frequently in my classroom:

Math Manipulatives (Low Tech):

  • Manipulatives are a great resources to use in the classroom as it allows our students to see math in an alternative way. I was recently teaching students about the volume of a cube and it was a great tool for students to visualize the concept. As it can be confusing for some students when calculating math concepts on paper, it helped my students to further their understanding of volume. Not only are their physical math manipulatives, there are also digital manipulatives available for students.

Adapted Seating (Mid Tech):

  • Generally classified as mid level type of technology, a wide variety of seating options are available in my classroom. In my personal experience, students naturally gravitate towards a seat that works best for them. A variety of seating options allows students to self regulate, which will inevitably lead to greater academic success in the classroom. If a different type of chair doesn’t work for a student, they can easily switch to something more traditional or something they find comfortable. If one had access to a large amount of money to purchase classroom chairs, there are so many different options you could incorporate into the classroom.
Seating Options In My Classroom

Computer (High Tech):

  • Lucky for my students, they are all equipped with their own device that has endless amounts of assistive technology built into them. Similar to choosing their own type of seat in the class, students have the flexibility to use assistive technology tools that will lead them to greater success. Whether it’s using the immersive reader in OneNote, students using a translator, or listening to audiobook on Sora, there are many assistive technology tools for all students.

Visual Timer (Low Tech):

  • One of the most used assistive technology tools in my classroom, the visual timer is part of my everyday teaching practice. A visual timer is great for time management for both the students and myself as a teacher. When the timer isn’t used, students will often ask how much longer they have to work on an assignment. With the timer, students are clearly aware of how much time they have and are able to set short term goals to complete their assignments. In addition, there are so many online versions of digital timers that can be projected on to your board in the classroom.
Visual Time

Challenges & Limitations of Assistive Technology

  • A major challenge I see with using technology is the lack of access to a good device at home. In my class for example, students have their own personal laptop that allows them to use assistive technology at school for the entire day. When students leave my classroom and go home, they don’t necessarily have the same access to quality technology. Therefore, privileged students that have access to good quality technology at home will not have the same challenges as those dealing with older technology or no technology whatsoever. This is problematic and we need to continue to work on addressing the digital divide.
  • In addition, as identified in class through our discussions, the cost of specific assistive technology can be very high and challenged for individuals to obtain. Whether it be an electrical wheelchair, laptop device, or an expensive app, the cost associated with high level technology is quite troubling. In addition, through our discussion about the Accessible Technology Program, one had to wonder the motive and end game for a variety of technology companies. Are profits put before the people they are trying to help?

Making the Impossible, Possible, with Assistive Technology

Torn small paper saying Possible
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Last class, Megan, Jenny, Leigh, and Kalyn did a fabulous job on presenting about Assistive Technololgy. Who knew there were so many tools to use to help us achieve a goal? And, as they showed, these tools have changed the lives of so many. It was extremely powerful to watch and made me wonder, am I doing my best in ensuring my students have what they need to accomplish the tasks set out before them? Is there an easier way for me to be reaching goals? What is actually even considered AT?

As Judy Heumann states, “For most of us technology makes things easier. For a person with a disability it makes things possible.”

Assistive Technology is any device, software, or equipment that helps people work around their challenges.

I actually had a hard time thinking about what I use for assistive technology in my own home. As I reflected this week on assistive technology, I became more aware of things I use that help me or could help me achieve any day to day goal. Right now our school is overflowing so we have no space for our preps so we have to go to the staff room. Next time I have a prep, I am definitely grabbing a pair of noise cancelling headphones so I can concentrate without outside noise of staff coming and going. Plus, people will realize I need to tend to the task at hand. As well, I have really been focusing on the gym right now and I actually just purchased a pair of lifting straps which enable me to lift much heavier weights when performing actions such as deadlifts. They support my wrists so that I am able to add more weight to my sets. I also use a training belt to support my core so on heavier leg or back exercises. Both of these AT devices help me increase my strengths in my sets. So assistive technology is seen everywhere.

Some of the Assistive Technolology devices I have experienced in my classrooms range from low-cost all the way to high cost. I have used Visual Cues, Wiggle Cushions, Hoki Stools, Pencil Grips, FM systems, noise cancelling headphones, all sorts of sensory tools ranging from weighted vests and blankets, fidget toys, thinking putty and chewable charms. I also have had students use board approved Ipads and computers.  With one student who was not yet approved, I allowed him to use my own phone to complete certain tasks such as writing out his Spelling list to his mom via text message or taking a picture of the agenda board instead of writing it as he struggled with writing tasks.  I even once had Snapchat approved so I could accomplish the goal of getting a student to come in for recess.  Her EA would Snapchat me a picture of them outside and add one filter. When they came in the classroom, she was allowed to come to me and see the picture they sent. It was very successful as she liked technology and otherwise it was a struggle to get her in for recess (not too sure they falls under AT or bribery, but it was a strategy that worked for all of us).

The positives I have seen with AT in the classroom is a task being able to be achieved without the struggle that may normally accompany it, due to the use of the AT, and the pride the child feels after being able to achieve that goal or task. Another positive is seeing some worry allieviated from parents when they start seeing their child succeed. The challenge is that usually an expert just recommends using some AT without letting the showing the student, teacher or parent explicitly how/when/why it should be used, especially if it is a high end tool.  It usually is a “here, use this” case scenario, so the AT isn’t utilized how it should be used and no one benefits in the end.

In watching the video about the structure of UDL Guidelines Structure, the part that resonated with me was the concept of outside-inside. What students use externally to help them process information internally will vary from student to student. The goal is to be able to process that information in a way that makes sense to them.

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The aim of the UDL framework is to create inclusive and accessible learning experiences for all students. Assistive technology can be considered a tool in order to provide these experiences. We need to make sure that everyone can perceive the world they are learning in and be skillful in things like communication (both written and spoken), so we need to give them the skills they need to get there successfully.

Some of the real positive highlights of assistive technology always included an expert who worked with either the child(ren) and/or myself until we became successful in the AT tool. One particular instance was when I was at a school where we used our data to move kids up levels in both Reading and Writing. After testing students, we were able to see their levels.  Students were tiered into groups of green, yellow or red according to the results. Red meaning well below grade level. Yellow meaning just below grade level and green meaning at grade level. From there, the LRT would group students. She would take a very small group (typically around 4) for an extended period of time (if I recall it was an hour and a half a day for six to eight full weeks) from the yellow group so they could move up to green and so on. After the time frame, they were tested again to see the improvement. The LRT followed a very scripted regime. One of the things she went over with them explicitly was Google Read and Write. When these students came back they were the experts on Google Read and Write. After that, the students were so proud of what they could do and this was their time to shine. They always felt so much pride in their work and what they could accomplish there. And to top it off, they had a skill that the other students didn’t. I would always ask them to do a Show What You Know to the other students, teaching them the other students Google Read and Write. Then all students had the option of using Google Read and Write. I know that these students would not nearly have been as successful if they didn’t have an expert beside them, teaching them explicitly for an extended period of time. They became masters of it and so it was easy for them. It was so easy they also transfered it to home so that their parents could see and they could utilize it at home. This would not have happened if someone just told me that they should use Google Read and Write. That is the downfall or challenge of Assistive Technology. Teachers don’t have the skills, knowledge or time to be able to build these AT skills successfully into the classroom as they should be.  It seems like with most things in education, we need more money and PD. More funding needs to be put into educating students and teachers thoroughly in AT so it is used in a way that will most impact the life of the child. I liked the idea mentioned in the video that there needs to be an Assistive Technology Professional hired to specifically work with students and their teachers so that the tools are being utilized to their maximum potential.

Another example, was when I got an ESL student from South Africa and I had the EAL consultant come in to observe and give me ideas for her for writing. She was so helpful. The student was able to use speechtexter in her native language and then use Google Translate to translate it. If she knew some of the English words, she was encouraged to put them in. The consultant also told me where to place her in class physically, what native tongue she may be thinking in (which means I need to give her brain time to process) and just different managerial techniques to use both at school and for parents at home. She made me think a lot more critically when it comes to ALL students.

Lots of times, I think back to the times where I got to see a child succeed in something he/she may have given up on, or become Masters of a new skill no one else knows; or I reflect on the Snapchat girl racing in from recess, with her red cheeks, to see the picture she sent me and those feelings of pride warm my heart. All a student may need is one small device to make their world change for the better, and isn’t that what this is all about?

Online Tools For Assessing Student Progress

ePortfolios in the K-12 classroom | Sutori
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During our latest ECI 833 class fellow classmates, Trevor, Matt and Dalton did an informative presentation on a number of different online assessment tools. I found this presentation to be extremely beneficial as there seems to be a constant looming cloud hanging over schools as to maybe not if, but when teachers and students will need to move to online teaching and learning. While the tools Trevor, Matt and Dalton presented on would prove beneficial if teaching online, they also provide effective ways to asses in the classroom and engage students with technology at the same time. I found the following chart to be very informative about a number of different online assessment tools teachers can incorporate into their classroom or online lessons:

https://goo.gl/TCSDt2

Formative vs. Summative Assessments - Diane Ries' Educational Blog
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When choosing an assessment tool it is important to keep in mind the type of assessment you are wanting your students to complete, whether this is a formative or summative assessment. “Formative assessment is an ongoing, flexible, and more informal diagnostic tool. While summative assessment is, as the word implies, an evaluation of the sum product of the lesson. Summative assessments are more formal, structured, and often used to normalize performance so they can be measured and compared”. (Source)

Two assessment tools that I had not heard of before, but stood out for me during the presentation were Knowledge Hook and Class Kick. I felt like these online tools could provide effective ways to assess students’ progress in math and reading.

I liked the idea of Knowledge Hook as a math assessment tool because it seemed to be extra engaging for students as they got to build a “bot” or “Avatar”; something that my grade 4 students already love to do when using Raz kids. I also liked Knowledge Hook because it seemed like it could provide a quick snapshot of where students were at in math. As we have just started our multiplication unit, I was able to use this tool as a pre-assessment tool for this unit. Most of the students found the questions easy to complete and enjoyed completing the online activity. I think I will continue to use this tool as a pre-assessment tool for our math units, rather than a summative assessment tool.

Books Read GIF
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In addition to Knowledge Hook I tried out Class Kick with my students. Recently our school moved to a new reading assessment program called Fountas and Pinnell. A large part of this reading assessment program involves students needing to orally retell what happened in the story that they read. I found this to be challenging for many of my students. I like how Raz Kids provides assessments where students can record themselves orally reading a short story and then can record themselves retelling the main parts of the story. One challenge is that there are only 4 assessments per reading level, and some students need additional practice with this skill.

This is where Class Kick was and will continue to be very beneficial. I was able to find reading passages in the pre-made activity section of the app. I could then assign the reading piece to students where they were able to record themselves reading the piece and could orally answer the questions presented on the page. It did take some time to teach students how to use the “record” feature for this app, but I feel it was time well spent for the long run.

What really stood out for me with this app during our class presentation was the student connection feature. This feature allowed students to ask a question, where a fellow peer could then assist them. In addition, students did not know who they were helping, but those who were receiving the help were notified who helped them. I found this to be a unique feature for students to engage with. I am planning on utilizing this feature when I have students complete their unit review for our Rocks and Minerals Unit. Check back later to see how it went!

In conclusion, there are a variety of online assessment tools that can be utilized to engage students in meaningful ways while still being able to effectively assess their progress whether it is in the form of a formative or summative assessment. The following article provides further insight on how technology is transforming everyday assessment.