20 formative assessment examples to use in your online classroom — from tophat.com
Informal assessments are an easy way to stay connected with your students and understand their progress in your course

Excerpt:

As learning environments evolve to incorporate online and remote learning, so too has the need for different approaches that provide flexibility in assessing students in-class, online or in blended learning environments. The following examples of formative assessment techniques can not only help you share more regular, reliable and useful feedback on student progress, they can also help you get started in thinking of other formative assessment strategies to incorporate into your lesson plans.

 

From DSC:
After reading the following item from Jeremy Caplan’s most recent e-newsletter entitled, “Tiny Stuff I Love“…

Alfred = Saves me time on copying and pasting
If you copy and paste stuff frequently, get a clipboard manager. I use Alfred throughout every workday. It keeps the last 100+ things I’ve copied in a neat list so I can paste anything I’ve used recently into a browser, document, or wherever else.

This is super-handy when I’m copying and pasting things repeatedly from one place to another. Sometimes I’m moving a bunch of stuff from a document into an email. Or putting several links or notes into a Zoom chat window.

Lots of tools do something similar. I also like the Copied App, $8 on the Mac App store. It has a companion iPhone app.

 

…I instantly thought of how useful this type of tool would be for teachers, professors, and perhaps trainers as well — especially when grading!

From this page (emphasis DSC):

What Does a Clipboard Manager Do?
The default clipboard in Windows works well, but it’s quite basic. The biggest limitation is that it can only hold one item at a time. If you copy a piece of text, forget to use it, then copy an image later, the text will be gone. Another hassle is that you can’t view what you’ve copied without pasting it.

For anyone who copies and pastes all the time, these are big problems. Thankfully, this is where clipboard managers come in. They greatly expand the functionality of your clipboard by remembering dozens of entries, allowing you to pin frequently used snippets for easy access, and much more.

 

Afred 4 for the Mac

Alfred is a clipboard manager for the Mac

 

Readers of this blog might also be interested in some of the other tools that Jeremy mentions, including:

  • Toby = Save and share my browser tabs

Toby -- save and load sets of browser tabs

 

From DSC:
NOTE: The K-12 education system that I’m talking about in this posting is the pre-COVID-19 education system.



What Cory Henwood describes here…

The paradigm of one -- as described by Cory Henwood

is what I describe as the quickly moving K-12 education train that stops for no one!

K-12 education in America is a like a quickly moving train that stops for no one.

(image source)


This becomes especially troublesome for those on either side of the 80% bell curve.
I know about this, as one of our daughters has been living through this phenomenon for years. We are seriously considering homeschooling for her as we want her learning experiences to be more positive ones for her. We want to provide more choice, more control for what she wants to learn about — and the pace at which she can go through those experiences. We want there to be more joy in her learning experiences. This will hopefully help her build more positive perspectives about learning in general.

This is not a mute issue…nor is this a topic that’s focused on just students with special needs. In fact, this topic is relevant to every single student in America — as everyone is now required to be lifelong learners these days. Grades need to diminish in importance. The enjoyment of learning needs to rise.

Note: There were some times in public and charter schools that provided courses and topics of great interest to her, and provided some great joy to her. Plus, there were some incredibly-dedicated teachers and staff that created a team around our daughter. I’m very grateful for them and for their efforts. But positive learning experiences were becoming too few and too far between. The train left the station *for everyone* at such-and-such a time, and stopped *for everyone* at such and such a time. The education system required that she and her classmates move at a certain (high) speed — regardless of their mastery of the content. Teachers know what I’m talking about here…big time.

We need to get to what Cory discusses about when he discusses competency-based education.

We need to get to what Cory discusses about competency-based education.

Plus, we need to get to a place where there is:

 

Q: For those who prefer or need to handwrite their essays, what are some ways/methods that students can use to scan in — and then submit — their essays into Canvas?

A:  Below are a few different options, potential solutions, and resources:

 

The Best Mobile Scanning Apps -- 2020

 

  • Students can also scan in their essays via most combination printers/scanners these days. Then they can insert those scans into a Word doc and submit it.
  • A Google search presents many different ways to scan in items into a Word document. That Word doc can then be submitted or saved as a PDF file (and then be submitted as as PDF file).
  • Also see How to create a PDF of handwritten assignments — from Canvas @ Yale. Yale recommended the following apps:

Yale recommends Scannable

 

Yale recommends Genius Scan for Android devices -- i.e., for scanning documents

 

Also see:

  • The new Office app now generally available for Android and iOS — from microsoft.com by the Microsoft 365 team
    Excerpt:
    Integrating our Lens technology to unlock the power of the camera with capabilities like converting images into editable Word and Excel documents, scanning PDFs, and capturing whiteboards with automatic digital enhancements to make the content easier to read.
 

Measure for assessing how investing in spaces for learning results in a robust return for students, for the institution, & for the community beyond the campus — from pkallsc.org

Excerpts:

How do you make the case that the investment in institutional investment in the physical environment for learning makes a difference? How will you know? What evidence makes that case? From the LSC spaces that work collection II, some potential measures of success can be distilled. These stories about recent projects embrace but go beyond attention to impact of learners while students and alumni; they set forth project goals that are measurable, returns that will be benefit the institution in the future—in regard to increased enrollments and graduate rates, of collaborative research between campus and community and more.

 
 

Making (low-stakes) practice tests more effective — from edutopia.org
Practice tests not only help surface gaps in knowledge—they also strengthen memory.

 

 

 

The inaugural winners of Training Magazine’s Network Choice Awards — from trainingmag.com
Training magazine reveals the winners of its inaugural crowd-sourced vendor awards program: the 2019 Training Magazine Network Choice Awards.

Categories include:

  • Authoring Tools
  • Custom Content/Program Development
  • Gamification
  • Learning Portal/Learning Management System (LMS)
  • Measurement, Testing, and Assessment

 

 

On the care and handling of student ratings — from rtalbert.org by Robert Talbert
Student evaluations of teaching are not true evaluations. We should call them what they are — perception data — and use them accordingly.

Excerpts:

How to handle student perception data as a department

  • Never use student perception data as the sole, or even the main source of information about a faculty member’s teaching. Teaching, as I said, is a wickedly complex problem. It simply cannot be reduced to a set of data, or in some cases to a single number. To get an accurate picture of faculty teaching, you need more than just student perceptions. Use faculty self-evaluations, peer evaluations via class visits, faculty-initiated data collected through pre- and post-testing… Insist on using multiple sources of data for faculty evaluations and make it easy to include them.
  • Never compare one faculty member to another based on student perception data.
  • Look at trends over time and how faculty respond to their data.

 

 

Coming down the pike: A next generation, global learning platform [Christian]

From DSC:
Though we aren’t quite there yet, the pieces continue to come together to build a next generation learning platform that will help people reinvent themselves quickly, efficiently, constantly, and cost-effectively.

Learning from the living class room

 

Learning from the living class room

 

Learning from the living class room

 


Per RetrievalPractice.org:

Download ALL our free guides, research, and resources!

We’re here to make your life easier. In order to unleash the science of learning, we strive to make it easy to access and quick to implement.

That’s why we really want you to download everything from our library, including free practice guides, book club resources, research, and more.

 

Colleges see equity success with adaptive learning systems — from edtechmagazine.com by Shailaja Neelakantan
Powered by advanced algorithms, adaptive learning technologies boost completion rates and give students confidence.

“I used to teach one class of 100 students, but now I teach 100 classes of one student each,” said Doug Williams, the adaptive learning coordinator at Arizona State University, in the white paper, describing the effect of using such a technology-driven system to improve learning outcomes.

 

From DSC:
I post this item because I believe that this is the type of thing that will be a piece of our future learning ecosystems. Learning agents. Systems that accommodate each individual’s learning preferences. Real-time formative assessments…that impact what you see and experience next.  Intelligent systems. Intelligent tutoring.

People demonstrate mastery at different times — let that be part of our futures — versus this one-size fits all, hop-on-board-or-you-miss-the-train…a train that stops for no one.

 

 

A quick tip from RetrievalPractice.org’s e-newsletter today:

#1: Remember your lesson plan with a 1-minute reflection
Can’t remember how a lesson from last semester or last year went? On the bottom or back of a lesson plan, include two questions:
What went well? What should I do differently next time? 
As soon as you’re done with the lesson, take just one minute to write down a note to your future self. Stuff all your lesson plans/reflections into a folder. The next time you teach the lesson, future-you will be glad that past-you retrieved!

 

 

 

Four research-based strategies every teacher should be using — from cultofpedagogy.com  by Jennifer Gonzalez

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

[Per Jennifer] Cognitive scientist Pooja Agarwal and K-12 teacher Patrice Bain have collaborated on a new book, Powerful Teaching: Unleash the Science of Learning. In the book, they go into detail about what it looks like when we actually apply four research-based “Power Tools” in the classroom: retrieval practice, spaced practice, interleaving, and feedback-driven metacognition—which is one we haven’t covered at all on this podcast. Today I’m going to talk with Pooja and Patrice about these strategies, the research behind why they work, and some ways you can start using them right away in your instruction.

 

Instead of assigning homework to give students practice with course material, give mini-quizzes at the start of each class that ask 3-5 questions about the prior day’s learning. These should either receive no grades or be given a very low point value, because the goal of these is to reinforce the learning, not measure or grade student work. 

In her social studies classroom, Bain used to assign homework most nights, and found that not only was she spending up to two hours a night grading it, it also was doing nothing to help students retain information.

 

 

 

Belief in Learning Styles Myth May Be Detrimental — from apa.org
Many people believe learning styles predict academic and career success, study finds

Excerpts:

WASHINGTON — Many people, including educators, believe learning styles are set at birth and predict both academic and career success even though there is no scientific evidence to support this common myth, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

Previous surveys in the United States and other industrialized countries across the world have shown that 80% to 95% of people believe in learning styles. It’s difficult to say how that myth became so widespread, Nancekivell said.

 

Also see:

  • Maybe They’re Born With It, or Maybe It’s Experience: Toward a Deeper Understanding of the Learning Style Myth — from apa.org by Shaylene E. Nancekivell, Priti Shah, and Susan A. Gelman
    .
  • Learning Styles are NOT an Effective Guide for Learning Design — from debunker.club
    Excerpt:
    The strength of evidence against the use of learning styles is very strong. To put it simply, using learning styles to design or deploy learning is not likely to lead to improved learning effectiveness. While it may be true that learners have different learning preferences, those preference are not likely to be a good guide for learning. The bottom line is that when we design learning, there are far better heuristics to use than learning styles.
    .
  • Learning styles: Worth our time? — from Cathy Moore
    .
  • Learning Styles Debunked: There is No Evidence Supporting Auditory and Visual Learning, Psychologists Say — from psychologicalscience.org
    .
  • Learning Styles FAQ — by Daniel Willingham
    Excerpt:
    How can you not believe that that people learn differently? Isn’t it obvious?
    People do learn differently, but I think it is very important to say exactly how they learn differently, and focus our attention on those differences that really matter. If learning styles were obviously right it would be easy to observe evidence for them in experiments. Yet there is no supporting evidence. There are differences among kids that both seem obvious to us and for which evidence is easily obtained in experiments, e.g., that people differ in their interests, that students vary in how much they think of schoolwork as part of their identity (“I’m the kind of kid who works hard in school”) and that kids differ in what they already know at the start of a lesson. All three of these have sizable, easily observed effects on learning. I think that often when people believe that they observe obvious evidence for learning styles, they are mistaking it for ability.

 

From DSC:
While I’ve heard and read through the years that there isn’t support for learning styles — and I’ve come to adopt that perspective as well due to what I’ve read, such as the items listed above — I do think that each of us has our learning preferences (as the debunker club mentioned as well). That is, how we prefer to learn about a new subject:

  • Some people like to read the manual.
  • Others never pick up the manual…they prefer to use the trial and error / hands-on method.
  • Some people prefer to listen to audio books.
  • Others prefer to watch videos.
  • Others like to read about a new topic.
  • Others like to study in a very quiet place — while others prefer some background noise.
  • Some people love to learn in a 100% online-based mode…some people hate it, and that delivery method doesn’t work as well for them.

Along these lines…in my mind, offering learning in multiple media and in multiple ways maximizes the enjoyment of learning by a group of people. And now that we’re all into lifelong learning, the enjoyment of learning has notched waaay up in importance in my book. The more we enjoy learning, the more we enjoy life (and vice versa).

In fact, I’m getting closer to the point of putting enjoyment of learning over grades in terms of importance. Grades are a way to compare people/school systems/colleges/universities/etcetera…they are the currency of our current systems…and they are used to “incentivize” students. But such systems and methods often produce game players, not learners.

 

 

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