|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on December 12, 2014 at 7:00 PM|
Last year I conducted and action research project on Mastery Learning using Instructional Technology. Much of what found and researched dealt with drill and practice and it was pretty boring. I found flash card apps, study stacks, study website, but nothing that to me seemed to catch my eye (which meant it would probably never catch a student's eye). What I needed was something that was attention getting, fun, and easily accesible to my students. Furthermore, I needed something could show me how my students were performing, what they knew and didn't know, and what areas I needed reteaching.
Of all of the tools, websites, and apps that I looked at two really stood out: Zondle and Kahoot. Both of these tools rated highly in the three criteria I mentioned earlier and as a bonus they are both free. Ease of use with both tools is very high and so is the set up. A teacher with minimum experience with either tool can be up and running in no time. However, for those that need a bit more help there are numerous tutorials available on how to set up your class, upload questions, and use the tools in your class.
Zondle is something I've been using for a few years now. Zondle is game based which immediately caught the attention of my students. Also, Zondle has numerous games students can play. First you create your account and then create a class. Creating a class will give you a class code for your students to use when they sign up. After you've created your classes you begin by creating a study topic (or copying one from zondle). Teachers can then set that topic as a formative assessment (with games) or summative assessment. The students answer questions on an acedmic topic set by their teacher and then earn the opportunity to play games. Keep in mind, these games have nothing to do with the academic topic, they're a reward and for fun. This is what adds the "fun" element I was talking about earlier. Zondle is also highly accessible. It is free in both iOS, Android, and Google and has even more features on a PC. If you're already using google or edmodo students will be able to sign in using their username and password and then join your class via class code. The best part about Zondle is the data that the teacher gets. Teachers can see how many times a student has played a topic, which questions they're missing, and their level of mastery. Zondle is best used for quick review sessions in class and for (gasp) independent studying. However, I've caught numerous students "studying" for fun during study hall on their personal devices or in the library on a PC.
For individual studying Zondle is the way to go for me, but for a class setting and or class competition nothing beats Kahoot. Much like Zondle the the teacher jumps to the Kahoot website and creates and account which takes no time at all. Once there you can either create your own topic questions or copy one already on Kahoot's website. Once you're created your game you then need to launch your game. Once you've launched the game you get a game pin for the students to use. To play students go to Kahoot.it and enter the game pin you were given and enter a username; that's it NO USERNAMES OR PASSWORDS. You can pace the game out and students can answer on a PC, tablet, or personal device. Kahoot works accross virtually any platform. Kahoot tracks student progress and can get very competitiive among the students (mine like to post a high score board throught the day on Kahoot days). Now again, what good is all of this if you can monitor student progress? At the conclusion of every game you have the option to download a printout of the results indicating which questions were most frequently answered correctly and incorrectly by individual students. Again, once you have this information you can decide what needs reteaching and what doesn't.
Formative assessment does not need to be something painful for both teacher and student; it has the potential to be one of the more entertaining and valuable things you can do for your students and teach them to do for themselves. By properly using formative assessment in this manner I've been able to help students acheive higher levels of understanding, mastery, and improve their results on summative assessments. However, the most rewarding thing about proper use of formative assessment is when many students realize that they can do it on their own and when they begin to ask other teachers to use these tools as well. Rethinking how I use formative assessment has made a huge improvement in my classroom for both teacher and student. Also, it's allowed both me and my students to have fun and learn together.