As part of an ongoing exploration of the ISTE Teaching Standards, this week’s focus is on standard 2, addressing how educators can design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments to promote student learning. I am exploring these two performance indicators for standard 2:
a. design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity
d. provide students with multiple and varied formative and summative assessments aligned with content and technology standards, and use resulting data to inform learning and teaching
This teaching standard aligns with the teacher evaluation system used at my school district. Part of the teacher summative evaluation includes discussion with the building administrator on the achievement of student growth and how student data was used to plan for instruction. Throughout the year, I have used multiple formative and summative assessments to monitor student progress and to inform instruction. The challenge is to explore digital tools that provide students with a variety of formative and summative assessments. This led me to explore the following trigger question:
How can educators use technology tools to support students with formative assessments such as self-assessments and goal setting activities to inform learning and instruction?
Formative and summative assessments are used daily, weekly, and monthly in my classroom. Recently, I attended a workshop on using formative assessments to improve academic growth. A variety of assessment tools were presented to attendees such as graphic organizers, student-student talk assessments, picture or pictograph based assessments, mental imagery,and kinesthetic activities. Attendees were divided into groups and then discussed how these activities could motivate and involve students in their learning. It was pointed out that while these practices have the potential to increase student learning, it is important to note that formative assessments enable teachers to adjust their instruction during the learning process. Students can also use the results from the assessments to adjust and improve their own learning (Chappuis & Chappuis, 2008). Stiggins, Arter, Chappuis, & Chappuis(2004) argue that formative assessments should be designed to inform students of their learning, motivate them, and demonstrate achievement by involving students in their own learning (p. 11). Furthermore, formative assessments are used during the instructional process and indicates to teachers and students the next instructional steps. As formative assessments are key components in determining students’ learning, there is a clear connotation of what formative assessments are not and that is, using it for grades (Dyer, 2013).
Formative assessments are for learning, therefore the focus turns toward what practices can students demonstrate to indicate the progress of their learning? Chappuis suggests there are “seven strategies of assessment for learning” (2009) that focus on the needs of the learners. This led me to explore further on two of the strategies: self-assessment and goal setting . I noticed these two strategies were also mentioned in the assigned reading article by the Alliance for Excellent Education, indicating that self-assessment and goal-setting strategies empower students to engage in their learning process (2014).
During the exploration of this question, I decided to narrow the focus to using self-assessment and goal setting activities to assess ELL students in the speaking and listening areas. The speaking and listening checklists that I use in the classroom, provide a self-assessment of eight targets. The English Language Proficiency state standards, shown in the chart below, require a demanding set of targets, which students are expected to meet at the end of each proficiency level.
After viewing the ELP standards and the self-assessment speaking and listening checklists, I noticed these expectations were for the “end” or summative assessments of each level. What other formative assessments could be used daily or weekly to inform learning? Other than having students demonstrate their speaking and listening skills daily through conversations and class discussions, cohorts and professors recommended that I incorporate digital tools to record students’ voices. Using digital tools to record students reading a story, would provide practice in reading fluency. It was also suggested, that after students write a story and before presenting in front of a class, to have ELL students practice their presentation by using an audio tool to record and edit themselves. Several audio tools and articles were recommended to me as possibilities to use when assessing students in speaking and listening.
Exploring digital tools
Chromebooks are used in my district, so I began searching for apps that could be used with these computers. The post, 6 Good Chromebook Apps for Recording and Editing Audio, suggested tools to use for recording and editing. Graphite by Common Sense Education was used to review the six apps. After reviewing the audio tools on Graphite, the search was narrowed down to two possibilities, Vocaroo and Audacity.
This audio tool was easy to use and upload to my post. Visualizing how to use this tool, I suggest educators use Vocaroo to teach students as an introduction to recording, saving, and posting a recording. Students could easily use this tool to practice a few sentences, pronunciation, or use this for a quick one minute reading fluency assessment.
Audacity was one of the audio tools suggested by a colleague to use with ELL students. I accidently came across this tool on a district’s laptop and then noticed that it is on all the district’s computers. I envision students using Audacity to record books or reading selective chapters or practicing for presentations. Besides recording, this program has editing capabilities. At this time I am exploring the different options and learning how to use this tool with students. Once familiar with the basic recording tools, students will be able to explore other ways to utilize this program.Since Audacity was already downloaded on all of the students’ computers, I wanted to utilize this digital tool, so I explored the program with one of my older ELL students. The student and I went over the self-assessment for speaking and discussed the standards (speaking/listening) and goals on the checklist. In 20 minutes, the student had completed the self-assessment and desired goals for speaking. After learning how to use Audacity to record, my student made her first recording on the audio tool.
Reflection over ISTE 2 standard
Important learning experiences occurred between the student and I during that 30 minute lesson. First, after recording a section of the student’s report for music class, the student noticed when the recording was played back, that she was not speaking clearly or pronouncing a word correctly. Immediately, the student wanted to record the report again and to work on the two goals stated on her checklist. Next, I learned that recording students’ voices can be a powerful tool when used to assess students in the areas of speaking and listening. Using digital tools to assess speaking and listening has made me reevaluate how I instruct students when teaching them to self-assess and set goals for themselves. The use of digital audio tools to perform formative assessments can enhance the learning experience for both the student and teacher.
Coggle Mind Map for ISTE 2
Alliance for Excellent Education. (2014, March 1). Connected learning: harnessing the information age to make learning more powerful. Retrieved from http://all4ed.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/ConnectedLearning.pdf
Dyer, K. (2013, August 26). Formative Assessment Is Not for Grading. Retrieved fromhttps://www.nwea.org/blog/2013/formative-assessment-is-not-for-grading/
Stiggins, R.,Arter, J., Chappuis, J.,& Chappuis, S. (2006). Classroom assessment for student learning: Doing it right-using it well. Portland, OR:Educational Testing Service.