Assessing My Assessments

This week’s presentation by Christina, Janelle, Laurie and Ramona on assessment technologies provided a well-rounded look at assessment tools. The group highlighted the foundations of assessment and informed me of some tools I had not heard of before, including Class Dojo. I won’t get into Class Dojo, but I will say “Yikes!” As I reflect on the assessment technologies I have used in the past, and ones I currently use, I typically ask myself two things. The first is how does the tool support student learning? And two, how does it help students show me evidence of their learning? If it misses the mark on these two questions, I steer clear. 

Applying Assessment Technologies

In my classroom teaching, I use assessment technologies to assess my students formatively. This week’s article “7 Smart, Fast Ways to do Formative Assessment” by Thomas, highlighted several effective ways to do formative assessments. I agree with Thomas, in that teachers need a variety of low-stakes, quick and easy formative assessment tools to gauge student understanding. Some of the go-to’s in my toolbox are low-stakes quizzes and polls like Kahoot, Quizlet, Socrative and Plickers. 

I also use Seesaw as a tool to demonstrate and share student learning throughout the learning process. I like the versatility and user-friendly nature of Seesaw. My students are able to show learning through text, videos, recordings, drawings and photos while incorporating differentiation and accommodating different learning styles. Seesaw does a great job engaging students, showing evidence of learning and encouraging self-reflection. I give feedback directly to students through the app and can share this evidence with family members. All of this is stored as a portfolio so all stakeholders can see student growth throughout the year. 

After seeing first hand through this course, how beneficial blogging has become in my learning, I decided I would like to incorporate blogging with my students this year. I did a bit of online searching and found that Seesaw has a blog feature that allows students to connect globally with others to showcase their learning. I’m not going to lie, I am super excited about this!! Side note: This year will be the first year that I start teaching a class at the beginning of the school year. My previous teaching assignments had me starting mid-year, so being able to plan for the duration of the school year has me pumped. It will take a bit of time to get my Grade 2/3 students set up and moving forward with this (parental permissions, connecting with the other educator(s), and determining what we will post, etc.), but I am excited to see where the connected blog will take us. 

 A few things that have me excited about Seesaw Connected Blogs are:

  • Students will have an authentic audience.
  • Students will be encouraged to do their best work knowing that it will be “published.”
  • Students will get real feedback from other students and parents.

According to Seesaw, posting to the blog is simple and seamless. The video above shows how you can get started and answered a few of my questions. The blog can be password protected so only those authorized will have access (the other class/educator and parents). All posts are moderated by the teacher before they get published. Last names of students are private. And comments require teacher approval before going live. Through Seesaw Connected Blogs students will develop 21st Century skills and have an opportunity to connect locally or globally. Have you or anyone you know tried Seesaw Blogs? I would love to hear your feedback.

In addition to trying Seesaw Connected Blogs, I am hoping to improve my assessments by utilizing digitized verbal feedback on Seesaw. In the past, I only gave text feedback on student digital work, but after reading the article, “The Importance of Using Digitized Feedback” this week, I see how beneficial voice feedback could be. I’m really shocked that I hadn’t thought about this before! I like to think that I am open-minded and willing to try out new things, but this just proves that I can get complacent in the way I do things. Not only would this be quick and easy for me to do as a teacher, but it would definitely add that “human” element to feedback that Chohan wrote about. 

“Digitised verbal feedback allows for the teacher/student emotions to be conveyed through voice. This is extremely powerful and often a major motivating factor for students.” 

Chohan (2021)

I know my students would benefit from hearing me give them feedback and it would be so nice for them (and parents)  to hear my excitement and encouragement about their work!

6 thoughts on “Assessing My Assessments

  1. It sounds like SeeSaw blogs are a really great tool to make connections, do their best work, learn how to give and take feedback, etc. Last semester, some of my peers in Regina Catholic School Division also had such good praise to give about the SeeSaw blogs and how they were using them and were getting great results. Although my colleagues in Regina Public Schools were not allowed to use this function of SeeSaw and were perplexed as to why. It seems like there isn’t a ton of consistency from division to division, let alone school to school. If it has been such a great tool, and teachers have been getting quality work from it where students are engaged and learning, then why can’t we use it? I too think that I could do a better job of giving students more oral feedback, whether that is in the form of a voice note or spending more time giving individual one-on-one in-person feedback. Sometimes this can be tricky with 30 kiddos in your classroom, but I think it would be beneficial for them for sure.

    1. Hi Kelly,

      Thank you for your comment. It is great to hear that Regina Catholic teachers were able to see some growth using the connected blogs. Hopefully, Regina Public will get on board. And yes, I agree with you on how tricky it would be to give more oral feedback to a larger class. Thanks again!

  2. I have not used SeeSaw blogs, but it sounds like a great idea. The first time that I ever received verbal feedback was last semester in a course with Dr. Cristyne Hébert. I honestly really enjoyed this format. For my paper, she provided a five or six minute audio clip talking about various aspects of the paper. Being able to hear her tone of voice in the feedback added a new dimension to it, and it felt much more organic than reading some bullet points or a paragraph. I’m not sure in a class of thirty students that I would be able to provide feedback to that degree, but I feel as though it would be much more meaningful for the students. Is it work the time, though? For every student that looks at a rubric that I hand back there are three that skim it to find their numerical grade and then throw it promptly into the recycle bin. Maybe if they had to respond to the feedback and make it more of a dialogue it would be more valuable.

    1. Hi Mike,

      Thank you for the comment. I definitely agree with you that some students don’t care enough to read and use the teachers feedback. I have also heard stories of parents who don’t look at report cards or read the comments that teachers put a lot of effort into. It really gives merit to face-to-face feedback.

  3. It is so wonderful to hear how your learning this semester will impact your classroom. I have not seen anyone use the blogging feature in SeeSaw but it sounds like you have done some investigating! Blogging will give them a new purpose for writing and I’m sure you will see some remarkable things. I am also like Mike, the only verbal feedback I have received was from Dr. Hebert. It was odd at first but like you discussed above, it provided a human element to what she was saying about the paper I wrote.
    Best of luck as you try out both of these techniques!

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