Tuesday, February 27, 2007

EME4401 Assessment Article

Johnson, D., & McLeod, S. (2005). Get answers. Learning and Leading with Technology, 32(4), 18-23.

This article discussed how assessment is used in the classroom, and how it can be improved upon by technology, specifically a student response system.
The author states that “Tests, quizzes, papers, and projects are time-honored ways to assess student learning, but they often are time consuming to administer and grade, and there are inherent delays between submission, assessment, and feedback Teachers also use interactive questioning techniques, class discussions, and one-on-one meetings to assess students' knowledge and skills, but these often are neither systematic nor all-inclusive.” It then goes to report how while feedback in the classroom is an appropriate method for assessment there are many hindrances to it, and it is not used frequently in the classroom.
Here is where the electronic student response systems come into play. The student response system is system set up in which the students have access to some type of keyboard in which they can direct comments, questions, and answers to teachers prompts directly to the teachers computer. The students use keyboards with screens, or some type of computer program which allows the teacher access to what the students are doing, and allows the students to send immediate and direct feedback to the teacher. The teacher has power to look through all the students work, questions, or answers and can either reply to it, or display it. These student response systems can be used with class to play games, bring about class discussion, and to allow the teacher to check students work fast.

With this article I really liked the idea behind this technology, and how it can be used across a span of different age levels for multiple purposes. The end of the article contained many great ideas of how teachers had already implemented this software. I really liked the point the author made about how this can build students confidence in themselves, and can encourage students to ask questions and make comments to the teacher, that they might not have made in front of the class. I do see the problem where this technology can be very expensive. I think as this becomes more popular, it may become something that will end up being cheaper to do. It would be worthwhile though, to have some type of program set up like this in the computer lab, so that the teacher could set up lessons around this technology that would be worked on only during lab hours.
Some of these ideas of immediate feedback during writing, or discussions could be worked into using class notebooks or sticky notes, if the classroom could not provide electronic student response systems. While reading a text students can write sticky notes of what they are thinking or questions they have. These could be color coded according to purpose, and then the teacher can easily spot who has questions etc. With notebooks during class discussions students can be prompted to write things they think or questions they have. Later, they teacher can read over the students comments and questions to see what they are getting, and what they still need to know. They teacher may also want to point out good questions and comments so that students begin to have more confidence in themselves and speak out during class.
Overall, I liked the ideas. I think the technology would be simple enough that students would easily be able to learn it, and become used to it. I hope that this type of technology can become more popular in the future, and become something we can see in a everyday classroom. This type of technology really makes you think about how much there is out there that we can use to work with our students and help to increase their learning.

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