March Madness, commonly known as 2 weeks of state standardized testing, is finally over. Prior to testing, I attended professional development with the focus of integrating iPads into daily instruction beyond skill driven apps and web curriculum. Not only was it refreshing to be around enthusiastic teachers from around the city, but it was also awesome to observe the creativity in action during a normal instructional day. Immediately after the workshop, I selected a handful of recommended apps implemented by teachers to download on my iPad and started brainstorming an action plan of ways to implement them into my classroom. I’m still exploring some of the more creation based apps, but I’ve highlighted 2 great tools (available via iPad App and URL) to support a collaborative digital learning communities and assessment.
1. Edmodo offers teachers and students a safe place to collaborate through assignments, discussion boards, and providing a green way to share readings, rubrics, projects, etc. Back in college I explored Edmodo, but remember it being overwhelming to navigate and not teacher/student friendly. Today Edmodo’s current site/app is totally student friendly and gives off a certain Facebook-y, social networking feel, which definitely won over my students. Both teacher and student accounts have a home page feed in which assignments, polls, links to websites, video clips, homework etc. are located. Students can access documents that teachers post as opposed to running off copies which is especially when students end up leaving it in a locker or at home. Students can respond to poll questions, quizzes, and discussion board questions all via the app or website. Parents can have access to your classroom digital community as well with unique parent ids for each student. Initially I was worried about students abusing the site, but Edmodo even offers options to have read-only access and/or comments moderated by the teacher.
2. Socrative: Looking for a quick, easy, paperless formative assessment after any lesson? Tired of review with jeopardy or lecturette style review session? Want instant data to differentiate small group instruction? Socractive offers all of the above when assessing students. I recently created a teacher account and classroom where I can create multiple choice, short answer, true/false quizzes for students as a bell ringer or exit ticket review concepts explored in class. Students log on to the app or the website and type in you classroom code to answer questions you designed specifically for the lesson you just taught. Within seconds, students have access to you quiz! After the quiz is completed, students can log off and results are emailed or downloaded via excel spread sheet. You can easily find out which students have misunderstandings, need reteaching, and which are ready for enrichment. Also, Socrative offers game versions of quizzes and short response exit tickets such as 3-2-1 responses if you do not want to create your own questions.