Technology Tools & Formative Assessment

As I continue to explore the role that technology plays in the learning process, I am finding that there are a number of tools available to support and enrich almost every aspect.  This week, I investigated the area of assessment, specifically formative assessments, and ways in which certain technology tools can go beyond improving–they can begin to transform this aspect of the learning process. At first glance, the wide range of availability may be overwhelming, but I am finding that the best way to proceed is to identify the need to be fulfilled and then select THE best tool to support that need.  Also, it’s important to consider what is available to my students, by way of devices, as well as existing infrastructure. Additionally, I need to be fluent in using the tool, so that I may guide and assist students. I know that when carefully selected, technology tools can be a powerful differentiating tool and as I continue to examine ones that may be appropriate for my students, I will consider when/how I will include time for students to learn how to use the tools. An initial thought is to include multimodal tutorials on my learning hub.  

One of the key benefits of employing technology tools such as Google Forms, Documents, Classroom, as well as Kaizena and Socrative is that students can receive feedback in real time, which offers them opportunities to reflect on, and revise/redirect strategies to further, their learning.  Personally, my work this week reminded me of the value of giving students the opportunity to use formative assessments to direct their learning.  Many times, teachers assume full responsibility of assessing and re-directing, but students need to be familiar with the language and methods of formative assessments so that they ultimately become self-directed and equipped with using the information to further their own learning.

For more information on my learning this week, please view:

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Infographic: Physical Book or Digital Device?

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Research Topic:

When I chose to research the dynamic of reading on digital devices, as compared to physical books, it was because I wanted to learn a bit more about what researchers have found  about the advantages and limitations of each.  

Rationale for Topic Selection:

As an English teacher, I have certainly seen the change in reading habits from 2000, when I first entered the classroom, to now and wanted to inquire further.  I also chose to research this topic because my own children, ages 9 and 11, have been turning to digital devices for their reading. As I observe their reading habits, I notice that there was a difference in their reading experiences and abilities to relay what they read when they used physical books, as compared to digital devices.  I hoped that my inquiry would shed some light in this area and allow me to further support my children and students.  

Results:

Essentially, I found that younger and developing readers have should spend time reading physical copies of books and less time on digital reading devices.  Essentially, books allow for tactile and sensory, as well as aesthetic experiences that encourage positive reading habits.  An interesting finding is that the entire landscape of the text supports the reader’s mental picture construction and visible locations act as footprints through the journey of the text.  While digital devices are extremely convenient in that an entire library may be carried around in one’s pocket, they are dependent on battery power and connectivity to WiFi or the Internet.  Other positive features of digital devices include access to dictionary definitions and voice readers.  However, both research and anecdotal evidence suggest that readers are most likely to skim when reading on digital devices. A very interesting finding is that is that avid and mature readers do well with digital devices; however, for younger readers, the tactile experience of a physical book is key to support reading comprehension and foster positive reading habits.

Creating an Infographic:

Like anything new, communicating my findings in the form of a infographic posed some challenges; however, I feel like it was important for me to have this experience because it forced me to consider purpose, form and audience in a new way.  Personally, I am a lover of words and that is where my comfort, as a communicator, lies. However, as I went through the process, I became increasingly comfortable with the task. Below is the procedure that I followed and it is also a suggested procedural list for anyone who would like to take on the task of creating their first infographic:

  • Topic Selection
  • Gather information from multiple (reliable, credible, varied) sources and synthesize that information to begin drawing conclusions
  • Engage in follow-up research and continue to draw conclusions
  • Research infographics as a form, including norms, variations and available tools
  • Identify targeted audience
  • Begin creating infographic to fit the needs of  purpose and audience.
  • Keep track of all resources used for works cited and works consulted pages
  • Edit and Revise as necessary to support purpose
  • Publish content