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How can technology aid learning and assessment?

30/08/16

Understanding what students know, and what they don’t know, is central to effective learning. If pupils attempt tasks that are too difficult, they are likely to get frustrated and fail. Likewise, if they are assigned tasks that are too easy, they are unlikely to progress as they should. Accurate information about a student’s current level of understanding, is, therefore, crucial to ensuring that all pupils achieve their full potential.

Technology and assessment

Technology can be used to support assessment in many different ways; such as to track student progress over time. However, perhaps even more compelling, edtech can also be used to aid formative assessment; helping to boost engagement, identify knowledge gaps, and support further/deeper learning.

Here are just some of the ways that edtech can be used to aid learning and assessment in the classroom:

Increase flexibility

Cloud-based learning provides increased flexibility, with pupils able to access and complete online assessments at a time that best suits their individual learning style and needs. All they need is an internet ready device and a web-based or virtual environment.

With personalised learning shown to motivate students into becoming investors in their own education, this approach is becoming increasingly popular here in the UK.

Improve feedback

Cloud-based edtech such as ClassFlow, allows teachers to assess student comprehension in the moment of learning, with real-time assessments and instant polling. By immediately identifying and addressing any gaps in knowledge, educators can then tailor their lessons to the real needs of each pupil.

Research into supported assessment has also highlighted some potentially interesting insights for further development. One such example involves the use of automated feedback to help students with written assignments. Learners received comparisons with their peers’ work, with the technology highlighting the similarities and differences and visually representing these side by side. Early studies have shown that students were able to identify overlapping and missing core concepts.

Recognise and cater for differences

As everyone learns a little differently, teachers have long strived to meet the needs of all their pupils; painstakingly setting and photocopying different assessments for different students depending on their abilities. Technology designed for the classroom makes this process a whole lot easier.

There is a vast range of apps available to help teachers to assess pupils depending on their personal interests, abilities, and goals. For example, the ClassDojo mobile app can be used to record student behaviour and achievements in context.

ClassFlow can also be used to increase engagement and improve learning by setting different questions for different pupils (or groups of pupils), depending on their ability, learning style, or project. By assessing students in a manner appropriate to them, pupils are less likely to become frustrated and disengaged, and more likely to succeed.

Understand the importance of emotion

Every teacher knows that emotion has a huge impact on the overall learning experience, but understanding the varying emotional needs of pupils can prove difficult. One way that technology is being used to help teachers consider the emotional impact of their learning activities, assessments and teaching methods is Subtle Stone – a handheld tool designed to let students privately communicate their emotional state directly to the teacher.

Consolidate learning

Audio and video tools can be used by students to create podcasts and presentations; reviewing their learning that term. In doing this, not only will pupils consolidate their learning in a medium that is familiar to them, but they will also produce a valuable learning resource for other students.

In conclusion

With interest in e-assessment increasing, most teachers have come to understand the benefits of technology for assessment.

However, what is not yet widely celebrated is that technology-enabled assessment can be used for more than just tracking results and discipline knowledge. By combining data with learning analytics, technology also offers great promise when it comes to helping pupils to learn through assessment.

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