In EPSE 310, Assessment and Learning in the Classroom, you will learn about the principles and practices for effective, high quality classroom assessment. As part of any study into current assessment practices, you will also want to explore the potential of integrating digital technologies, such as student response systems, into your teaching. To help you get started thinking about this, please read on…
Educators and researchers have long considered the benefits of students actively engaging in the classroom and how this can lead to gains in student learning. One way to achieve such engagement is by effectively incorporating a student response systems (SRS) as a part of your classroom assessment approach. It is important to consider the benefits and the potential drawbacks of various systems available to you as a K-12 educator in order to select one that meets your (and your students’) needs. Be sure to keep in mind that the efficacy of any student response system depends on the quality of the questions and how you use the system. You will learn, as part of your course work, how to develop effective selection and supply questions. This work will be helpful in selecting an SRS and constructing your poll or quiz.
According to this article in Educause, research has shown that the use of an SRS can lead to student engagement and that the efficacy of assessments and increases in student learning are achieved when an SRS is coupled with socio-constructivist methods. The use of these systems along with student discussion and pair share can also leads to greater student satisfaction. The notion that engaging the ‘backchannel’ during lectures and classes also adds an active component to this more passive form of teaching is taking hold with the growth in BYOD (bring your own device) in secondary and post-secondary classrooms.
The value of anonymous responses… We know that adolescent learners appreciate, or some would even say require, the opportunity to participate anonymously. Due to their sometimes heavy reliance on peer approval, students at this age can be reluctant to share their views orally. For this reason, employing an SRS can give voice to quieter learners and generate more honest responses. Of course, anonymity comes with drawbacks so be sure to consider the following:
- How are responses published, shared or viewed?
- Can I moderate responses?
- Can students change their responses?
- Can I archive or track student responses in some way?
- How will I respond if a student posts an inappropriate response?
- How can I create a class climate the promotes risk taking and accountability?
Student Response Systems: getting started with resources on the Scarfe Digital Sandbox
- Plickers – all you need are free printable scan cards, a teacher account and one mobile device to record and track responses
- iClickers – a Mac and PC set are available on loan in the Education Library
- Poll Everywhere – students answer poll questions using browser, mobile app or text response
- Socrative – create a class account to track responses, students answer using browser or mobile app
- Answer Garden – instantly generates a word cloud of responses, no account needed
- Kahoot – gameify learning in your classroom with ‘Kahoots’
- Padlet – this digital wall is great for brainstorming, checks for understanding and formative assessment
Visit the Scarfe Digital Sandbox Resource tab and click on ‘assessment’ for more digital tech integration options for engaging and assessing your students.
Download this handout for more info and some links to research: Sandbox_iClicker_Mar2015 update
or this SRS Comparison Chart for an at a glance view of each of the above systems.