Our next applications align with the popular activity of assessment. We operationally define assessment as gathering behavioral data. There are many ways to gather this data and many ways in which we can use and make inferences from the data. Typically, the more, well-aligned data we can collect, the better our inferences can be made about quality. We can gather student behaviors while they are “forming” conceptual understanding, which we call formative assessment. This type of data can be gathered by observing and documenting their engagement, providing active learning prompts, such as one minute papers, concept maps or reflective journals (perhaps a blog). Data can be collected individually or in aggregate, depending on the instructional goals.
One method to provide formative assessment is to allow learners to create screencasts, which represents their understanding. Screencasts are electronic files, which capture students actions on a computer along with their voice. Most screencast create MP3 files, which can be shared, reviewed and used as evidence of learning. One easy to use, free screencast app is Explain Everything. Explain Everything allows the learner to annotate, animate, narrate, import, and export anything to and from almost anywhere.
Another formative assessment app is Socrative. Socrative engages, assesses and personalizes instruction through just in time quizzes and quick question polls, which produces instant result aggregation and visualization. In this way, teachers can quickly observe if and how many of the students have understood a concept and if so, safely continue to the next lesson.
A final formative assessment app is Nearpod, which allows teachers to share their dynamic presentations with students with embedded questions. Students provide their responses through a mobile device. Teachers can monitor and measure student results on an individual and aggregate basis.