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Assessment; there more to it than paper pencil

When I say the word test, you likely envision Scantrons, scratch paper, and pencils. I want to really switch gears in our thinking from this "test" to a truer assessment of student knowledge, where they can display their thinking. I believe many teachers would agree with this vision, but may not know what direction to head. I hope to show you some different options in this post from the "baby step" option to the full blown project based option(s).

Kahoot: Baby Steps

What the teacher displays while Kahooting!
Kahoot is an online assessment tool that allows you to assess your student in a game based online environment. Let me explain more. Kahoot is a multiple choice game where your student earn point in the game based on how quickly they can correctly answer your given questions. (While Kahoot assigns points based on speed, when you look at your spreadsheet of results, you can view student correct/incorrect and simply assign points based on correctness only as you would have with a paper/pencil assessment.) During game play only you see the questions and would display them with a projector in your learning space. 

Student View in Kahoot
Once your student enter Kahoot, they will see just the shapes on their screen as a choices to answer the question. It forces you into a game show host role, where students get to play the role of game show contestant. You will later download the results of in a spreadsheet to see how student knowledge. While it doesn't step too far away from the multiple choice nature of Scantrons, it is a baby step and much more fun! 

A larger step up the SAMR ladder and bigger leap away from the Scantron would be Digital Storytelling. 

iMovie (or other movie creation tool, like Youtube Creator)

Typically when we think of Digital Storytelling, I believe people think of creating a narrative movie. This is to some degree what I'm suggesting but not 100%. Let me explain. 

In a unit where my students learned the working parts of an Electric Circuit as well as how to connect them together to make many different types of operational Electric Circuits using these pieces, I gave an assessment using iMovie. The students task was to answer the Unit Essential Question using an iMovie trailer. Here's an example of what one student came up with: 

These short formatted trailers gave my 4th graders enough structure and a small enough scope that they could manageable complete this assessment by creating their trailer in the same amount of time that I would have traditionally given them to complete a Scantron test. They knew from day 1 this was their end of the unit assessment so they'd been preparing for this along the way. There is nothing that I'm going to learn from a Scantron that Alex didn't show me in this iMovie that demonstrates that he knows what we learned about Electric Circuits. 

Digital storytelling assessments like this one are a great way to get students to summarize and reflect on their learning. This not only bumps up the SAMRness, the engagement, the student motivation, but also gets me to a higher D.O.K. (depth of knowledge) that I'm assessing the student on.

Now that's the tasty complex flavor of divergent thinking and authentic assessment if you ask me.

Touching on one at each extreme is where I'll leave this post, with future posts on this topic to come! Until then, please let me know what I can do to help you #edtech on! ~ Ryan 


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