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Technology Leadership Standard IV

Educational technology leaders communicate research on the use of technology to implement effective assessment and evaluation strategies. Educational technology leaders:
A. Apply technology in assessing student learning of subject matter using a variety of assessment techniques.
B. Use technology resources to collect and analyze data, interpret results, and communicate findings to improve instructional practice and maximize student learning.
C. Apply multiple methods of evaluation to determine students’ appropriate use of technology resources for learning, communication, and productivity.

 

As I follow innovations in technology tools in the educational community I find more ways to integrate technology into student assessments beyond projects and products. Over the last few years the Anchorage School District has started integrating MyAccess, a Web-based program that assesses student writing. In Google Docs, I have been able to assess students and give formative feedback as they work using the collaborative features of the online writing program. And, of course, in Moodle, I am able to provide feedback to students in discussions, create quizzes and other assessments within the online structure that reinforces the curriculum and standards, and provide feedback to students on submitted essays.
The use of Google Docs in the writing process also allows for more peer-feedback. “Peer feedback, with its potentially high level of replies and interactions among classmates, gives the sense of confidence through a collaborative and friendly dialogue in which two-way feedback is established and thinking is negotiated between two sides (Rollinson, 2005)” (Lin, 2009). Students can collaborate as they add to or edit the writing, create comments in the text of the paper, or establish an ongoing “chat” with peers who are logged in at the same time. As their instructor, I am able to log in at any time and witness or review the interaction, looking back at a log of who made what changes. The more I use this application in the classroom the more I am able to follow the lead of my students, observing how they work together, asking questions in class and in their self-evaluations in order to head off any problems and continue evaluating and improving ways of using the tool for future classes.
The MyAccess program, because I can provide teacher feedback in conjunction with the system’s feedback, has been a great tool in getting students to write more formal essays than I might usually assign in class. I am able to use the program’s feedback tools to help students improve their own mechanics, fluency, and content within an essay. After a couple of revisions I am able to step in and use the program to write additional comments to students that build on what the program has already given them, and on the informal verbal feedback I’ve given them during class writing time. MyAccess has a huge variety of prompts available to get students started writing. During a work session this spring I went through the entire list of high school level prompts and created a list that aligns the prompts with the school district’s 9th grade English curriculum. I identified those prompts that are more appropriate for honors level classes, helping to differentiate the writing prompts for myself and the Language Arts Department.
As I learn to use these tools with greater success in my own classroom, I am better able to assist other teachers in my school and department. I informally evaluate how well students “like” a tool through conversations with them and assessment of how well they meet the standards and goals of the curriculum. If a tool is not intuitive, distracting, or unreliable, then I reevaluate its use in my classroom. Sometimes this involves changing how I depend on it and sometimes it involves finding a replacement.
Because I use backward design to create learning experiences and assessments, I am not dependent on the specific technology, rather that technology should help me to facilitate student learning. As technology improves I find that the technology tools change over time even though the essence of a lesson plan remains the same over the years.
Lin, G., & Chien, P. (2009). An investigation into effectiveness of peer feedback. Online Submission, Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Rollinson P. (2005). Using peer feedback in the ESL writing class, ELT Journal, Vol. 59, 1, 23-30.

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