Innovation and Assessment in the Modern Classroom

myronBy Myron Dueck

A while back I heard an educator comment, “if you went back 100 years, the only thing you’d recognize is a classroom.” I am not sure if I agree that this is the case in all schools, but many teachers are adopting current technologies in the quest to engage the 21st century learner and meet him or her on common digital turf.

What I have heard educators say on many occasions is that we need to prepare the next generation of learners. While I agree that we want to achieve this goal, I am not certain that our practices reflect it –- and no area is more obviously lacking than that of assessment. Students are immersed in current technologies and teachers are not far behind, at least when it comes to personal handheld devices.

The big question is: How do we capture and harness the power of digital technology in the area of assessment?

Technology can be unpredictable, it can pose a security issue, and to many it brings some discomfort. The legendary red pen is much more dependable and traditional forms of assessment are valuable and will likely have a place in classrooms for many years to come. That said, perhaps it is time to open the door a little wider to using emerging technologies in the arena of assessment.

Digital technologies like Google Docs allow teachers and students to obtain feedback in real time. This feedback can be used formatively with ease. Cloud-based assessments such as Coach’s Eye can quickly and conveniently provide the student a chance to respond, reflect and react.

Student engagement in the content relies on perceived relevance. Students accessing and incorporating content through digital photography and video can transform the level of engagement.

Overall, technology allows grading and assessment to be…

  • immediate
  • informative
  • personal
  • engaging
  • inexpensive
  • peer-based
  • community basedand…place-conscious
  • and…place-conscious

Myron Dueck will delve much deeper into this topic when he presents his breakout session “Innovation and Assessment in the Modern Classroom: Engaging Students Through Emerging Technology” at the 2014 Pearson ATI Summer Conference.

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