Instructional Review of GoFormative

With the myriad of options available for digital assessment tools, teachers and other professionals can easily be overwhelmed.  Teachers are choosy (Molnar, 2017). What they seek is a versatile, quick, comprehensive suite of testing options that offer ease of access, use, sharing, display and data aggregation.  GoFormative is an excellent choice to meet these needs.

Formerly known as SmartestK12, GoFormative “is a web-based tool that allows teachers to create assignments, deliver them to students, receive results, and provide individualized feedback in real-time” (www.edsurge.com, 2018).  Using this free app, teachers can click on ready-made assignments and quizzes or create their own as they seek to engage their students, while assessing the development of student learning.  Assignments can be graded manually or automatically, with the option to leave guiding comments for individual students.

Formative is a valuable tool for teachers in a variety of settings, including the flipped classroom option.  Embed videos or texts within assignments for instruction and student reflection during non-meeting days, or assign a reflection piece regarding the content after a class meeting.  More creative assessments are available through Formative with the options to draw, speak or annotate responses. “Two-way communications…and group collaboration would add to Formative’s engagement factor” (Rogowski, 2018), while teachers follow class contributions, knowledge development, and note possible gaps.

SImilar to Kahoot and Socrative, Formative is more highly recommended in part because only a class code is needed (students do not have to have an account and students at younger ages are not allowed to anyway), plus it offers the option to show your work and use the library of mathematical figures easily.  The tool does not have built-in colorful displays and music in the way that Kahoot achieves popularity with students, but it does offer teachers a “cleverly designed…, flexible and attractive solution for [meeting] students where they are” (Rogowski, 2018).

Even though GoFormative works best in “banking education” settings (Behrens & Dicerbo, 2014)–meaning that the quiz options available in GoFormative generally have right and wrong answers–it is still a tool that could be used by creative teachers in a preferred “problem-posing” assignment style (Behrens & Dicerbo, 2014).  Features such as text annotation, graphing, audio response, and the whiteboard offer clever and research-based impetus to find more authentic, collaborative ways to assess student learning (Clark & Arvith, 2017).

Formative has other theoretical benefits. Because of its digital nature, it can be embedded into lessons naturally and avoid the obtrusive nature of other types of assessments.  This makes data more reliable since the environment within which assessment is happening does not stop for a test (Behrens & Dicerbo, 2014). With the option to view and share incoming answers, teachers can create a social environment for learning, also supported by constructivist educators and researchers such as Behrens & Dicerbo (2014).  

Using tools such as Formative, teachers can move toward a more transformational teaching stance.  “If our students are to succeed in this 21st Century world, it’s important that we transition from traditional, teacher-led educational practices to ones that effectively incorporate technology and focus on our students and their need for differentiated learning” (Clark & Arvith, 2017, p. 126).  Tech tools for assessment can help teaching be personalized–immediately! Students are given a voice–daily! They become more comfortable taking initiative for their learning, as lessons become more dynamic, “led by student questions, prior knowledge, curiosities, and needs” (Clark & Arvith, 2017, p. 126).  Features within Formative allow for this sort of interaction as teachers focus on the process of learning. In truth, “Formative is a teaching style, not just a type of assessment” (Jones, 2015).

Not only is Formative versatile and its use based on quality research, using it aligns with portions of ISTE Standard #3 for students:  Research and Information Fluency. This is where “students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information,…plan strategies to guide inquiry,…locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media,…evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks,…and process data and report results” (ISTE Standards Students, 2017).  Formative usage could encourage students to gather and share information, possibly strategize with a peer, synthesize information in an essay, organize concepts collected in the wordbank, graph findings, and print/share reports.

Most importantly, using Formative leads away from isolation and toward transfer of information, both goals of 21st Century learning (Behrens & Dicerbo, 2017).  Formative affords the student a chance to see and interact with the learning process of peers. As students come to understand that they have learned material, they are better able to transfer it in even more authentic assessment opportunities.  The tech tool itself does not create the learning; rather, it is the human element engaging with the tool (Daly, Pachler, Mor & Mellar, 2010). Those teachers who engage in classroom assessment understand that classroom assessment is “the most powerful type of measurement in education that influences student learning” (McMillan, J., 2013, p. 4).  Formative and other similar digital tools are logical choices in this endeavor.

 

References

 

Behrens, J. T., and Dicerbo, K. E. (2014).  Technological implications for assessment

ecosystems:  Opportunities for digital technology to advance assessment.  Teacher

College Record (116).  Columbia University:  Teachers College.

 

Clark, H., & Avrith, T. (2017). The Google Infused Classroom. Irving, CA: EdTech Team Press.

 

Daly, C., Pachler, N. More, Y, and Mellar, H. (2010).  Exploring formative e-assessment: using

case stories and design patterns.  Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 35(5),

619-636.

 

Educator Reviews (2018).  Retrieved July 8, 2018. https://www.edsurge.com/product-reviews/

formative

 

ISTE Standards Students.  Retrieved from https://www.iste.org, July 12, 2018.

 

Jones, C. (2015).   10 reasons why teachers use Formative.  Published April 28, 2015.

Retrieved July 8, 2018.  http://community.goformative.com/thoughts/2016/2/8/

10-reasons-why-teachers-use-formative-goformative.com

 

Molnar, M. (2017).  Formative assessments go digital:  Schools are expected to spend nearly

$1.6 billion this year on classroom assessment tools.  Education Week, 36(32), 28-31.

 

Rogowski, M. (2018).  Formative: Superb real-time assessment tool a fit for BYOD, 1-to-1.  

June 2018.  Retrieved July 8, 2018.  https://www.commonsense.org

Assess with Go Formative and love it!

Assess with Go Formative and love it!!

Formerly known as SmartestK12, GoFormative “is a web-based tool that allows teachers to create assignments, deliver them to students, receive results, and provide individualized feedback in real-time” (www.edsurge.com, 2018).  Using this free app, teachers can click on ready-made assignments and quizzes or create their own as they seek to engage their students, while assessing the development of student learning.  Assignments can be graded manually or automatically with the option to leave guiding comments for individual students.

Formative is a valuable tool for teachers in a variety of settings, including the flipped classroom option.  Embed videos or texts within assignments for instruction and student reflection during non-meeting days, or assign a reflection piece regarding the content after a class meeting.  More creative assessments are available through Formative with the options to draw, speak or annotate responses. “Two-way communications…and group collaboration would add to Formative’s engagement factor” (Rogowski, 2018), while teachers follow class contributions, knowledge development, and note possible gaps.

SImilar to Kahoot and Socrative, Formative is more highly recommended in part because only a class code is needed (students do not have to have an account (students at younger ages are not allowed to anyway), plus it offers the option to show your work and use the library of mathematical figures easily.  The tool does not have built-in colorful displays and music in the way that Kahoot achieves popularity with students, but it does offer teachers a “cleverly designed…, flexible and attractive solution for [meeting] students where they are” (Rogowski, 2018).

Google Forms reviewed

Professor Jones finished his presentation and asked for a show of hands indicating who understood the content just shared.  Nearly every hand went up. To be thorough, he directed his learners to the quick response survey he had made and shared in Google Forms.  As anonymous answers appeared on his screen, he realized that he had fallen for a common teaching challenge: students will not admit when they are confused.  Thankfully, “good formative assessment removes the embarrassment of public hand raising and gives teachers the feedback that impacts how they’re teaching at the moment” (Davis, 2015).  Using online survey tools serves this need well (Taylor & Doehler, 2014). The inaccuracy of assuming student understanding can be eliminated with the affordances of the formative assessment tools included in Google Forms, the free online resource available to those with Google accounts.

Assessment options on the Internet meet the goals of teachers to survey, quiz, and gather information.  Teachers need need a toolkit to meet all the needs of a typical classroom (Davis, 2015). The cloud-based assessment tool Google Forms tool, while not professing to be “an all singing, all dancing assessment engine” (Bell, 2018), is still “an extremely valuable [tool] to help educators simplify and streamline class assessment” (Bell, 2018).  

Popular uses for Google Forms include quick feedback from both peers and instructors, live quiz games, collaborative projects, presentations, screen casting, discussion guidance, data collection and analysis, reflection, lesson planning, ePortfolios, flipped classrooms, information collection from students/parents/staff, documentation of events such as discipline plans and professional development goals, and the initiation of students as leaders in the learning process (Bell, 2018; Davis, 2015; Moe, 2013; Mallette & Barone, 2013; Taylor & Doehler, 2014).  Results can be viewed, collected, linked and shared easily through Google Forms, allowing students and educators to track immediate progress and trends through the semesters.  Customizable and always saved within Google Drive, the Forms available are convenient to learn, and will work on any device (TradeRadius, 2018; Bell, 2018).

Not only are Google Forms affordable and versatile, the simple yet tremendous assessment options afforded by the tools meet every ISTE standard on the list:

Learner  — As educators utilize the tools in Google Forms, they leverage technology to improve student learning when they purposefully track student understanding and then restructure the course to ensure success for all.

Leader —  Students are empowered when educators use Google Forms to facilitate collaboration, reflection, presentation and leadership skills in courses.

Citizen/Collaborator —  Because of the global, versatile nature of Google Forms, students can participate in course activities that reach across the cohort and also encircle the globe.

Designer/Facilitator/Analyst —  Students can participate in learning community conversations by using Google forms to create authentic surveys, collect data and analyze results.

Educators have many reasons to feel confident in their choice to use Google Forms in their classrooms.  TPACK-based frameworks such as Triple E (Kolb, 2015) and SAMR (SAMR, 2013) easily support the affordances of the tool.  Students can fully engaged in course discussions and giving feedback, for example, through the use of various options within Google Forms.  The substitution of paper for digital analysis makes learning quicker and instruction more thorough (Davis, 2015). Discussions augmented and enhanced by Google Forms options yield new ways for students to demonstrate their learning.  And students are extending and redefining their learning as they participate in reflection, application of concepts, synthesis and evaluation of data collected and feedback received.

There are many applications for Google Forms (surveys and analyses, feedback, discussions, quizzes, sign-up sheets, and practice exams) and users appreciate a host of its affordances (convenience, versatility, communication, customizable, analytical functions, and integration with other Google tools), yet there are still areas for tool advancement (TradeRadius, 2018; Karlin, 2016).  While touted as being simple to learn and use, that same simplicity limits its usability somewhat. Improvements could include making available more complex form creations by allowing for the sectioning of questions, of more easily adding answers keys, adding add-ons, closing a survey time, and changing notification settings. Schools need HIPAA- and FERPA-safe products (which Google Forms are not), and businesses want to be able to customize the forms to carry their own look (which cannot fully be accomplished in Google Forms, according to a review in TradeRadius (2018).  Google products together imitate LMS functionality, yet even here, more sophisticated development is needed. Notably, the bulk of these changes are for the benefit of instructors and not students, yet these upgrades would perhaps motivate even more personal users, schools and businesses to utilize Google Forms even more fully.

 

References

 

Bell, K. (2018).  4 ways to use Google keep for feedback and assessment.  EdTech Update.

April 8, 2018.  Retrieved June 5, 2018.  www.edtechupdate.com/classroom/google

 

Davis, V.  (2015). Fantastic, fast, formative assessment tools.  George Lucas Foundation.

January 15, 2015.  Retrieved: June 4, 2018.  www.edutopia.org/blog/5-fast-formative-

assessment-tools

 

Google Forms reviews.  (2018). TradeRadius. Retrieved June 5, 2018 from

www.traderadius.com/products/google-forms/reviews

 

Karlin, M. (2016).  Google Forms: Collect, analyze, and automatically grade data for formative

and summative assessments.  The EdTech Roundup. July 9, 2016.  Retrieved June 5,

2018 at www.edtechroundup.org/reviews/google-forms-collect-analyze-and-

automatically-grade

 

Kolb, L., 2015).  Triple E framework.  Retrieved June 17, 2018 from

https://www.tripleeframework.com/

 

Mallette, M., & Barone, D. (2013). On Using Google Forms. Reading Teacher, 66(8), 625-630.

doi:10.1002/trtr.1169

 

Mo, M. (2013).  10 ways I use Google Forms in my tablet classroom.  Oxford University Press:

English Language Teaching Global Blog.  Dec. 11, 2013. Retrieved June 5, 2018 from

oupeltglobalblog.com

 

SAMR model explained for teachers (2013).  Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.

Retrieved June 17, 2018 from https://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/06

/samr-model-explained-for-teachers.html

 

Taylor, L., & Doehler, K. (2014). Using Online Surveys to Promote and Assess Learning.

Teaching Statistics, 36(2), 34-40. doi:10.1111/test.12045

Assessment Tool Extraordinaire

When teachers use assessment, they are providing information to themselves that guides present and future instruction, and even makes possible more efficient teaching and more achievement in learning (Davis, 2015).  Implementing assessment strategies saves the work of guessing, of reading student body language or of the silence that follows the question, “Do you understand this?” and replaces it with accurate, helpful information.  Teachers understand this, and it has never been easier to accomplish these goals than it is now–with technology at hand (Davis, 2015).

A major player on the assessment stage is Google Forms, a free, versatile, easy-to-use suite of assessment tools that offers templates or allows for customization, provides various ways to test, analyze, and share information, all the while supporting the best learning strategies:  feedback, peer and self-assessment, collaboration, organization, reflection, planning, and communication (Mo, 2013).  

Besides an array of tools for quizzes, surveys, exams, training, feedback, and data collection, Google Forms provides for other school needs, including student management logs, documentation of professional development activities or student behaviors and teacher actions/responses, lesson planning, ePortfolios, and rubric creating, sharing, and scoring (Mo, 2013).  Google Forms “does not claim to be an all singing, all dancing assessment engine” (Bell, 2018), but reviewers on TradeRadius (2018) give it a strong score of 8.2 out of 10.  “It is an extremely versatile [tool] to help educators simplify and streamline class assessment” (Bell, 2018).

 

Bell, K. (2018).  4 ways to use Google keep for feedback and assessment.  EdTech Update.

April 8, 2018.  Retrieved June 5, 2018.  www.edtechupdate.com/classroom/google

 

Davis, V.  (2015). Fantastic, fast, formative assessment tools.  George Lucas Foundation.

January 15, 2015.  Retrieved: June 4, 2018.  www.edutopia.org/blog/5-fast-formative-

assessment-tools

 

Google Forms reviews.  (2018). TradeRadius. Retrieved June 5, 2018 from

www.traderadius.com/products/google-forms/reviews

 

Mo, M. (2013).  10 ways I use Google Forms in my tablet classroom.  Oxford University Press:

English Language Teaching Global Blog.  Dec. 11, 2013. Retrieved June 5, 2018 from

oupeltglobalblog.com

Socratic — Homework Helper

Description:

Students have certainly discovered the opportunities afforded with Internet searches that might aid them in their homework needs.  A new app called Socratic is just six-months old but already tops the downloads from Apple’s App Store for education software.  What began as a resource for questions from middle and high school students in the content areas of science and history has developed into a wider resource.  Content areas now include English, economics and even some mathematics. Calculus is next to be conquered.

Creator Shreyans Bhansali (who used to work for Google) used artificial intelligence to teach Socratic to learn algebra.  The team at work behind the scenes “had to write an algorithm that could analyze a photo of a math problem and solve it” (Pullen, 2017).  Developers worked with teachers to provide explanations for the answers provided so students would understand how to get the answer.  The program “combines cutting-edge computer vision technologies, which read questions from images, with machine learning classifiers built using millions of sample homework questions, to accurately predict which concepts will help” (MacDonald, 2017) students solve their questions.  The step-by-step explanations that follow help students know the details about how the question is answered.

Students are able to visit Socratic.org on the Web or download a mobile app that allows them to take a picture of a homework item.  On the Web, students type in a question. Questions are given answers by the site, plus those who ask questions can also answer questions and earn points to advance in status on the program itself.  With the scan app, the program searches the Web and its own internal database for solutions. Parents can visit Socratic to help their child with homework topics that they may not have seen in many years and need to review.  Either way, Socratic is helping students get more homework done, and done correctly!

Analysis:     

For technology to gain respect in the educational world, it needs to be more than just clever, colorful, and creative.  It needs to align with the standards to which educators are held responsible. The educational website Socratic.org aligns with ISTE Standards 1, 2, and 3.  Standard 1, Learner, supports leveraging technology that improves student learning. When students attend to the explanations for the homework answers, their learning deepens.  Standard 2, Leader, supports student empowerment through technology. Since Socratic is an optional technology for students, they show empowerment when they engage in the experience of asking and learning.  And when they answer other students’ questions on the site, they are fulfilling Standard 3, to responsibly participate in the digital world (ISTE Standards, 2018).

Beyond aligning with the ISTE Standards for Educators, the program Socratic promotes thinking and reasoning skills, as supported in Bloom’s Taxonomy (Armstrong, 2018).   As a tool, Socratic utilizes four of the levels: knowledge, comprehension, application and analysis.  Students approach Socratic with a question about knowledge and in a matter of moments, acquire material for comprehension, which they then can apply to further homework problems.  As they work through the step-by-step explanations and apply it to their knowledge, they analyze and grow in their knowledge and academic abilities. With Socratic, this growth can happen quickly.  A teacher in a classroom cannot always meet individual needs at this pace.

Finally, Socratic promotes self-directed learning; in short, it motivates students.  According to Lehman and Conceicao (2014) technology “can make it possible to save time, travel, and cost” (p. 11).  Students need support to engage and advance in a class and when the affordances of technology make learning available everywhere and anytime, students are motivated.  Because they are in control, their self-efficacy grows (Lehman & Conceicao, 2014). With the help of Socratic, students can know that help is available when they need it, encouraging them to prepare better for classes

Critique:

Socratic is an innovative program that helps students get immediate help and explanations for troubling homework problems.  It also helps parents gain confidence that they, too, can assist their child when they need to review content to help. When used for appropriate purposes, Socratic is a positive asset for students and their parents.  Discussions may need to happen regarding inappropriate uses of the website. It is for the occasional struggle, not the ongoing assignments in full. It is for knowledge growth, not for plagiarism or cheating. It is somewhat social, which “helps solidify information in the brain in a very different (and sometimes more effective way) than working alone” (McQuillen. 2018).

Because Socratic is improved every day (Pullen, 2017), users benefit more from this technology option.  The resources from which it draws can be increased at will, as well. The affordances of such a broad connectivity multiply accordingly.  This is good for students who are using it of their own volition, but could Socratic be an option for teachers? It could, but only with some modification.  When students engage with Socratic, there is no record of how often they use it or what for. There is no proof that students are comprehending the explanations or are able to transfer that knowledge to similar problems.  The Socratic team could include a couple of new features. One could be supplementary problems that imitate the one involved in the question. Student knowledge would deepen as concepts are applied to more problems. Another feature could chart engagement of students which could be shared perhaps via email with instructors.  That way, students could learn and earn respectability from peers and teachers, show their increasing sophistication of skills and even perhaps receive extra credit!

References

Armstrong, P. (2018). Bloom’s Taxonomy. Retrieved May 20, 2018, from https://cft.vander

bilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/blooms-taxonomy/

ISTE Standards for Educators. (2018). Retrieved May 18, 2018, from http://www.iste.org/

standards/for-educators

Lehman, R. M., & Conceicao, S. C. (2014). Motivating and Retaining Online Students (First

ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

MacDonald, C. (2017, January 21). The Ultimate Exam Cheat. Retrieved May 18, 2018, from

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4141968/Socratic-app-answer-questions-

Just-taking-picture.html.  Socratic.

McQuillen, G. (n.d.). Socratic – Scan Homework,Get Answers and Explanations. Retrieved May

20, 2018, from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/app-reviews/socratic-scan-

homework-get-answers-and-explanations

Pullen, J. P. (2017, January 26). This iPhone App Can Do Your Kid’s Homework. Retrieved May

18, 2018, from http://time.com/4650119/socratic-app-homework-iphone/Socratic