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Using TodaysMeet as a Formative Assessment Tool

by Brandon Juarez on September 9, 2014

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This Free Backchannel Chat Platform for the Classroom can be Great for Assessment and Much More

Brandon C. Juarez manages the College of Education Full-Time Online Faculty team at Grand Canyon University. He will be presenting the session “Removing the Shackles to the ‘Sage on Stage’ Approach to Teaching” at the 2014 Teaching and Learning with the iPad Conference this November in Raleigh, NC.

Active learning and engagement starts with proactive teaching. Formative assessment strategies, including Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs), provide tremendous value to students and teachers alike. Angelo and Cross provide a wonderful framework to the many successful approaches to creating effective formative assessment strategies (Angelo & Cross, 1993).

The biggest limitation with most strategies is that they often take time to collect the requested student data. TodaysMeet solves that problem by creating a web-based running feed that educators can use in real time. When teachers monitor learning throughout the lesson, student engagement and learning dramatically improve.

TodaysMeet

A key advantage to using TodaysMeet is the ability to autonomously track student progress and learning. This provides holistic assessment that the teacher can use to monitor class progression without students being singled out and the threat of being embarrassed. Regardless of the grade or age range, students are eager to demonstrate their level of mastery and seek necessary support with fidelity when their fears of being in an uncomfortable environment are quelled. When pupils feel they can respond with honest and real feedback, it is more likely the results will be authentic and viable.

TodaysMeet also supports the increase in Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) pedagogy. In a 2013 study, The Pew Research Center documented, “three in four (74%) teens ages 12-17 say they access the internet on cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices at least occasionally” (Madden, M., Lenhart, A., et.al., 2013). Teachers benefit exponentially in terms of their ability to formatively assess learning when technology is considered and used accordingly. Moreover, by providing authentic use of edtech tools, students understand the potential their personal device(s) have on their continued development.

“Putting the power of learning in the hands of students …”

Another great use of using TodaysMeet is to show students their responses via the live feed during instruction. For example, when a teacher poses a formative assessment question, students will respond (individually or in a group setting). Their results/responses appear for others in the class to view and note. This peer-to-peer learning fosters and encourages a classroom environment that supports self-reflection and personal assessment. As discussed by Rony Zarom in his article, How to Drive Engagement with Mobile Devices, “keeping students connected through interactive mobile tools fosters student-centered learning and discipline-centered skills [including] … peer-to-peer feedback, and more – both of which are crucial to increasing student engagement …” (Zamon, 2014).

A potential hurdle to using this teaching strategy occurs when a student posts a message on the feed that is unrelated to the topic of discussion. Thus, it is an important classroom management technique for the teacher to monitor and peruse student responses before showing class responses.

In my classes, I have found TodaysMeet to be the fasted way to collect and evaluate student perceptions, data and learning outcomes. Putting the power of learning in the hands of students has created an atmosphere that fosters engagement. I have found when students witness my eagerness to see their performance of the curriculum, they are equally enthusiastic to provide support that I can use to enrich and facilitate their learning. It is important to note, this process did not come easy.

Like most supplemental support systems, processes and pedagogical procedures student buy-in is crucial. As previously discussed, classroom management is a cornerstone to healthy participation and formative assessment. I found however, students care and defend this practice when they observe the impact it has on their learning and my ability to package the learning objectives in a way that is best understood and applicable.

Come and learn more from Brandon and dozens of other practitioners at the original iPad focused education conference – Teaching and Learning with the iPad, November 20 – 22, in Raleigh, NC. Hope to see you there!

ipad education conference

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
20 Fun Free Tools for Interactive Classroom Collaboration
The Annual TLIPAD Conference – “A Conference Like No Other”
Kahoot is a Fun Free Game-Based Classroom Response System


REFERENCES

Angelo, T., & Cross, K. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers (Revised/Expanded ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Madden, M., Lenhart, A., Duggan, M., Cortesi, S., & Gasser, U. (2013, March 13). Teens and Technology 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2014, from
http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/03/13/teens-and-technology-2013/

Zamon, R. (2014, August 11). How to Drive Engagement with Mobile Devices – eCampus
News. Retrieved August 14, 2014.

About 

Brandon Juarez manages the College of Education Full-Time Online Faculty team at Grand Canyon University, where he previously held various Faculty positions. Brandon also enjoys supporting GCU’s academic mission through his involvement as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) on special projects and site supervising Ed. Admin interns and secondary education student teachers.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

paul November 23, 2014 at 11:17 am

Today’s Meet is great – but how about tech for teachers in low-resource contexts? This includes schools with ‘not good enough’ wi-fi – a lot of schools!

Check out my lessons ‘Paper Websites’ and ‘Paper Emails’ – bringing tech to all learners. Without the tech. http://decentralisedteachingandlearning.com/2014/11/06/low-tech-teaching-paper-websites/

Great site.

Holly Berg September 9, 2014 at 8:52 am

I absolutely love Today’s Meet, but at the elementary level, and even some middle school students, it is off limits per their terms of use. Their terms of use state that the website “is available only to individuals who are at least 13 years old”. I would be thrilled to see it if they required parent permission so I could at least make it available to my teachers to use in our BYOT setting.

Do you have any other ideas for products that are similar but available to students under 13?

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