Students require constant feedback in order to be actively engaged and strive towards growth while learning new concepts. Technology, as an instructional tool, can be especially powerful when used to conduct formative assessments. Why? Because technology has the ability to provide feedback instantly. Feedback must be timely, personalized, and specific in order for it to truly transform our classrooms.
In this post, I would like to introduce you to 10 of my favorite formative assessments tools you can easily try in your classroom next year. The first set focuses on instant feedback tools. The second, encourages students to create a product as a way to formatively assess their knowledge. The key to understanding student knowledge when they create a product is to have students share their work and have classmates provide constructive feedback. Not only will these tools give you a compass to direct your teaching, your students will benefit from personalized, timely, and specific feedback.
1. Socrative– this is my all time favorite instant polling tool. You can ask students open answer, multiple choice, true/false, and there is even pre-made exit tickets to use on the fly. Socrative makes it easy to share with other teachers- perfect for collaborating with your professional learning community. The ability to share formative assessments with other teachers puts this tool to the top of my list. Divide key concepts in your curriculum and reduce your work load by sharing with others. Remember, we should be working smarter not harder!
2. Formative– relatively new on the edtech scene, Formative kicks it up a notch by allowing students to draw what they know in addition to asking multiple choice, true/false, and premade exit tickets. It’s free and works similarly to Socrative by allowing students to enter a teacher’s room code without having to provide any personal information.
3. Kahoot! Is it a game or is it a way to assess students’ knowledge? It’s both! Gamification provides an element of intrinsic motivation for students to “get it right” and really show their teacher what they know.
4. Plickers– perfect for a classroom that has limited technology resources. It only requires one device and students have paper cards (best when laminated for multiple uses). Students turn the paper card (paper clicker=plickers) to answer multiple choice questions.
5. The Answer Pad (TAP)– totally free, TAP allows teachers to ask questions to up to 200 students and 8 classes. It provides students with a blank page to work or graphing paper. This tool would be exceptional for a math classroom since the graphing paper is one of its unique feature.
6. Analyze My Writing– this writing tool provides students with instant feedback on writing, which is difficult to find. All students have to do is copy and paste their text into the box on the site. It doesn’t provide total feedback on all grammar and mechanic aspects, but it’s a great starting point.
7. Buncee– this tool is awesome for teachers and students to create multimedia products. No longer do you have to use a static worksheet, Buncee really makes products come to life. See the examples here for some inspiration and ideas on how to use it in your classroom.
8. ThingLink– similiar to the power of Buncee, ThingLink allows students to link video, pictures, student created texts, and websites to bring the power of a wonderful visual to the forefront of assessing students knowledge. Here is an example I made in less than ten minutes on the Pantheon in Rome.
9. StoryboardThat– by using the cartoon creations of StoryBoardThat, students can illustrate their knowledge of a specific event, figure, or process. The best part is students can combine pictures and narrative to tell a story. If students can explain it to another person, they truly have grasped the concept. Save yourself some time and check out StoryBoardThat’s extensive teacher resources. (Side note: I wrote an entire post on Digital Storytelling tools that included both ThingLink and StoryboardThat, check it out for more information).
10. Creately– this powerful tool allows students to create up to 5 diagrams for free. Representing knowledge in a different way than it was presented requires critical thinking skills, which enhances student understanding. Diagram options include flowcharts, diagrams, and infographics.
I hope that you will give some of these powerful tech tools a try to make formative assessments easy in your classroom this year. Let me know what you think! Remember: technology can really help you work smarter, not harder, and the instant feedback provided is very powerful and can transform your classroom. Enjoy!