Digital tools to teach and assess by.

Finding effective assessment tools and strategies can often be a difficult task as we have learned that not all tools serve the same purpose and are not suited for every grade level. On Tuesday night, we had the opportunity to listen to an informative presentation on assessment tools and were challenged to include a new digital assessment tool in our classrooms this week, discuss our experiences using them, as well as speak about the assessment tools we are currently using in our classrooms. Unfortunately, it has been a short week due to Remembrance Day and Professional Development for Teachers. Therefore, I will speak about the digital assessment tools I am currently using as well as the tools I would like to try and integrate into my classroom.

Within my professional practice, I have always made an attempt to stay up to date with the most recent software programs and apps. As a teacher who uses technology often within my daily life and teaching, I am always searching for programs that may be useful within my classroom and for my students. Kahoot is an online program I have grown accustomed to. Although it creates somewhat of a competitive environment, I’ve always found it to be fun, encouraging as well as engaging for my students. It is also a wonderful pre-assessment tool that may be used at the beginning of a new unit (to examine the students previous knowledge about a topic) or for reviewing learned content. Kahoot can also be used as a formative assessment tool and can assist the teacher with identifying students who have grasped concepts and the students who have not.

Being with Regina Public Schools, a summative assessment tool I use is called Gradebook. Gradebook is a component of PowerSchool. It provides an online environment where I can store my marking/final grades, comments, information/observations about students and record attendance. Parents and their children now have access to PowerSchool, they may view their assignments and grades as well as their attendance record. Furthermore, this program provides an opportunity for both teacher and parents to be informed about their child’s progress and learning experience. Although my experiences using Gradebook have been positive, my primary students are not familiar with this digital assessment tool as they are too young to benefit from its purposes. As for their parents’ experiences using this assessment tool, I am unaware of their thoughts or opinions about this program as it is not a conversation that arises often. Therefore, I have noted this and will make a valid effort to pose this question at the next Parent-Teacher conferences. As previously stated, Gradebook is a digital assessment tool therefore it can only be accessed online. Hence, families who do not have access to the internet will not benefit from this program and its features.

ClassDojo is an assessment tool I have not used but would like to use within my primary classroom. This digital program may be used as a formative assessment tool and is effective for building a confident and constructive classroom community. ClassDojo may be accessed by teachers, parents, and students.

Advantages of using ClassDojo:
– Children are able to display their work by creating their own digital portfolio
– Children are given a voice
– Parents can be informed about their child’s progress and learning experiences
– ClassDojo creates a fun and interactive community where each student is displayed as a cartoon character

Disadvantages of using ClassDojo:
– This program may only be accessed online
– Reward system- good behavior=rewards

Overall, we have learned that assessment needs to remain specifically focused on the student. As teachers, before we evaluate student learning we need to take the time that is needed to research and find assessment tools and strategies that are student focused. Students are proving to teachers every day that learning takes place in many different forms and is not narrowed to one specific way. Therefore, teachers should be integrating assessment tools that help us learn more about our students that go beyond simply identifying the students’ strengths and weaknesses.

What are some digital assessment tools used in your professional practice? How do you integrate them? Do you find these digital tools effective for all areas of assessment?

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13 thoughts on “Digital tools to teach and assess by.

  1. Roxanne, I have used many of the same tools as you and found very similar results/ feedback (class dojo and kahoot). My school division also uses Gradebook as a reporting system but if I am being honest, I never saw it as an “assessment tool”. I only use my for adding in marks and creating my report cards. The parents in our system don’t have access to their child’s gradebook marks until grade 6 as that is when we switch to % and not letter grades. Do you know how this is considered an “assessment tool”? I have never explored beyond the surface and would be interested in what else it could do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Allison,
      Thank you for reading and responding to my blog post this week! I can completely understand how you feel that Gradebook appears to be more of a reporting system as opposed to an assessment tool. However, I view this program as a summative assessment tool because it is outcome based. By assessing/evaluating according to outcomes, this aids with my teaching and planning. Furthermore, I am to identify the students who have met specific outcomes or those who need additional support in order to meet them.

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  2. You nailed it when you said “students are proving to teachers every day that learning takes place in many different forms and is not narrowed to one specific way” I find this to be the most difficult part of assessment.. Especially within the diversity classrooms today.
    I also was interested in how you used gradebook for assessment and also Classdojo? Do you use classdojo to award points related to their schoolwork completion?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Holly,
    Thank you for reading and responding to my blog post! In my blog this week, I wrote about how I have not used Classdojo yet but plan on integrating it into my primary classroom. Unfortunately, we had a short work week so I was unable to try it. However, I do plan on using it next week. I will let you know about my experience with it, as well as my students’ experiences using Classdojo!

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  4. Great blog Roxanne!

    I love Kahoot! We often use it in professional development for pre assessing before teachers get Pd for the day.

    Definitely a fun engaging way to assess (and I only get kind of competitive)!

    My daughters class used class dojo last year, but not al of the features (it was mostly used to communicate positive behaviours), but she certainly loved the days when ‘points’ were added!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As a primary teacher, I struggle with using Gradebook to inform parents on their child’s learning. I often tell parents that I see the value in it as students get older (middle years) but that it’s really hard to capture the processes of early learning (i.e. learning to read) as a score on Gradebook. I’ve even gone as far to tell parents that I don’t care if they’re not accessing Gradebook but rather, i’d like them to view their child’s seesaw journal where they can listen to their child read, read my comments on their reading behaviours, and get a clearly view of their child’s level of understanding. I see the value in Gradebook as a communication/reporting tool, but more so in middle years and high school once the foundations of reading and writing have been built.

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  6. I would say that SeeSaw is a preferable tool for student voice and assessment. Students are engaged and supported by being able to draw, record voice, and add media. Not to mention that it is compatible with a huge number of other apps. Love Kahoot though!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post Roxanne! I am noticing a lot of other comments on your post about the Gradebook assessment tool. Teaching in a high school, I really appreciate this tool as a way of communicating with parents. It is useful that parents and students can always see their grades and, particularly, how much a lower mark can have an impact. Although I can see the disadvantages of this, I feel that I have seen students take more responsibility for their learning as they begin to understand how important each piece of assessment is and how valuable it is for their learning and growth. One aspect of Gradebook that I did not utilize in elementary was the comment section for each assignment. I now use this to communicate with parents and students what exactly the assignment is and, more importantly, what outcomes are being evaluated in this assignment. When the assessment tools are transparent, I think their is less confusion, shock, and misunderstanding when it comes time for a complete final assessment. That being said, I also don’t want it to go too extreme where kids only care about their grades and not the knowledge they are acquiring – and I can see Gradebook causing this in students.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas!

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