Using Tech to Showcase Student Work

flickr photo by tobiastoft http://flickr.com/photos/tobiastoft/3209413578 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

InformEd recently ran a piece by Saga Briggs on 24 ways to showcase student work using technology.  It’s got some great ideas for why to use tech as well as different platforms and ways to use them.  Take a peek and you’ll discover at least one new, intriguing tech tool.

Read it here.

Asking Better Questions

flickr photo by Steve Corey http://flickr.com/photos/stevecorey/20177350301 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

flickr photo by Steve Corey http://flickr.com/photos/stevecorey/20177350301 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license 

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers. – Voltaire

Over at informED, writer Saga Briggs explores ways to ask better questions of ourselves. Suggestions include replace mission statements with questions and recognize and confront your biases.

“There’s plenty of literature on how to ask other people questions, but what about directing questions to ourselves? We can ask our students all the tricky questions we can think of, hoping to boost their critical thinking skills, but the ability to ask questions oneself–rather than just answering them–separates true learners from the rest.

Of course, this is similar to something like the Socratic method, where a series of questions help you reveal what you think about an argument or idea. Regardless of how you approach it, the end goal is to learn to think critically and analyze everything. As we’ve seen before, it’s important to always ask yourself why something is important and how it connects to things to you already know. As you do that, you train your brain to make connections between ideas and think critically about more information you come across.”

Read the entire piece, including 12 tips, here

Checking for Understanding ~ Dozens of ideas and strategies

flickr photo by Thomas Hawk http://flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/176785431 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

What are the best ways to check for understanding? Below are two articles with strategies to keep your assessment checks fresh and engaging.

From informED:

“The ultimate goal of teaching is to do just that – teach, not stand up in the front of the room and talk. But sometimes it’s easier to talk than to teach, as we all know, especially when we need to cover a lot of material in a short amount of time. We hope students will understand, if not now then before test time, and we keep our fingers crossed that their results will indicate we’ve done our job.

The problem is, we rely on these tests to measure understanding, and then we move on. Few of us take the time to address weaknesses and misunderstandings after the tests have been graded, and by that time it’s too late for students to be interested. This means we need to rethink how we approach assessment during class.

The most effective way to test student understanding is to do it while the lesson’s still going on. Asking students to fill out a questionnaire and then correcting misunderstandings during the next class period won’t work because students have already moved on. You’ve got to take advantage of the moment. If you hope to spend the majority of your time getting through to students, and not just talking, then understanding must be measured and dealt with as soon as the first frown appears on a face.”  Read the entire piece here.

Over at Edutopia, Todd Finley has compiled a list of 53 ways to check for understanding. Check out the PDF here.

“What strategy can double student learning gains? According to 250 empirical studies, the answer is formative assessment, defined by Bill Younglove as “the frequent, interactive checking of student progress and understanding in order to identify learning needs and adjust teaching appropriately.”

Unlike summative assessment, which evaluates student learning according to a benchmark, formative assessment monitors student understanding so that kids are always aware of their academic strengths and learning gaps. Meanwhile, teachers can improve the effectiveness of their instruction, re-teaching if necessary. “When the cook tastes the soup,” writes Robert E. Stake, “that’s formative; when the guests taste the soup, that’s summative.” Formative assessment can be administered as an exam. But if the assessment is not a traditional quiz, it falls within the category of alternative assessment.”

Read the entire piece here.