The sweep of a red pen just doesn’t cut it in today’s modern classrooms. One final grade seems insubstantial when students are using a multitude of digital devices to smash apps together in order to create products that are sharable to the world. What our students are capable of doing in today’s classrooms surpass how a teacher traditionally grades work.
If a student is fortunate enough to be in a modern classroom, how can they receive adequate feedback that confirms their growth and understanding of a concept? How can teachers continue to assess student work without shutting down the creative process? These are questions that teachers struggle with when implementing instructional technology that provides alternative ways to demonstrate understanding.
The good news is there is a multitude of ways we can provide appropriate feedback to students. I’ve found that teaching students to being open to criticism helps the process of effective assessment. We can coach our students to be open to criticism and understand the power of revision and reflection. This is an excellent example of the power of revision. I use it to coach both teachers and students of all levels to be open to positive criticism and to improve their own creations through revision.
Here are 5 ways to evaluate alternative student work
- Provide audio feedback. In using your own teacher voice with iinflection, students can gain a deeper understanding of your meaning. I recommend 3 tools for this. One is Kazeina for Google Docs. You can add this tool to your Google Doc through Add-ons. Kazeina lets you insert an audio clip directly on a Google Doc linking it to highlighted text. Another great tool for audio feedback is by using Evernote. If you are a big Evernote user, you can have students share projects with you and you can shareback audio notes back to them about their projects. And a third tool that I love is Notability. You can open notes into Notability through Google and other shared spaces and add multiple audio clips to the note.
- Video embedded reflective blogs. This might be a mouthful, but I’ve seen some pretty amazing blogs out there written by young students who have embedded videos into their posts. If utilized correctly, you could gain a lot of knowledge on student progress and performance with this tool. Many teachers like kidblog and edublogs for this. The trick is to get the kids to have their video created online in order to grab an embed code. Platforms like YouTube and Vimeo work well for this. Need a blogging rubric? Check out these from Pinterest.
- Google forms. Google forms have been around for a few years, but this tool is still a great go-to when needing a quick way to perform a formative assessment. It is also an excellent tool for students reflection on their own progress. Google forms are easy to create and easy to share. You end up with a great spreadsheet full of information upon completion. I know a teacher who uses google forms to see how each of his students are feeling every single morning.
- Crowd-sourcing through social media. This might feel a little scary to some teachers. But, imagine an assessment provided by experts in a relevant field. For example, I have worked with business teachers who have leveraged Twitter to provide feedback on entrepreneurial ideas. Celebrities on Shark Tank, for example can connect with students through Twitter to assess their work. The world truly is flat if we know who to connect with and which tools to use.
These tools are effective ways to provide assessments for modern, digital creations. Assessment needs to be relevant for today’s students. When they can post a video to youtube and get immediate feedback from anyone in the world, how are we going to match that in our classrooms? We must do everything we can to create an environment that acknowledges their creative freedoms while aligning to what we need our kids to learn. Be daring and try one of these methods for assessment and let me know how it goes!