Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bringing Technology to the World of Formative Assessment

The other day, I had the pleasure of observing our high school orchestra. I spoke with the teacher about his use of SmartMusic with students. It was really amazing. I had heard quite a bit about it before, but to see how he used it in class and then seamlessly assigned the music to students so students could practice their part at home with accompaniment and record their practice session, get instant feedback, create a portfolio, and create a circle of communication between student, teacher and parent was unbelievable.

I also saw a PE class in which the students used exercise equipment to track their health. They exercised at their target heart rate for a period of time and then recorded their pulse, calories burned, etc...

It got me thinking, "How do we do this in other subjects?" Imagine students reading pieces of text into a microphone and getting instant feedback on their fluency and decoding! Then being assigned "just right" books based on the results and emailing the results to parents automatically. Imagine taking a math test online and then using the results to determine what lesson or unit that student should take next. Why can we do it in music and PE, but not in other areas?

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