As an Apple addict I’m always either on my iphone or my iPad and the use of apps has transformed the way that I learn – however that’s for another post. Today I’m going to introduce you to a few of my favourite apps that can be used for assessment purposes. I’ve been meaning to start writing posts about the use of apps in education for a while but hadn’t managed to get round to it. However today I attend a fantastic training session on the use of assessment in FE which was delivered by Nine Jackson (@musicmind) and as educational apps were covered I’m feeling all inspired.
The two main reasons that SimpleMind+ is a fantastic educational app are that it is free and easy to use. Simply download the app, type in your central idea then press the plus (+) icon to create your branches. Mind maps are fantastic assessment tools; you could use them to ‘preview and review’ at the start of a topic to find out what learners already know and then again at the end to measure how much they’ve learnt, or learners can work collaboratively on them.
A fun way to check students progress on a topic is to set quizzes for them. Socrative is a wonderful – and free – app which you can create true or false, multiple choice or short answer quizzes for the students to do at their own pace or under timed conditions. At the end of the quiz the results can be exported as a spreadsheet so you can see how well each of your students have done. This feature also helps to cut down on the amount of time you’d need to spend marking.
Twitter is a social networking tool that enables users to send (tweet) short messages that are 140 characters long. By creating a hashtag for your class e.g #mmel12 you can use the Twitter app as an educational tool. This could include home work tasks which you could set by tweeting out a question such as “Find me one newspaper article that is written in a sensationalist style’. Students could then take a picture of the article, copy the web address or send you the name of the article so you can check whether they understand what a biased opinion is. Alternatively tutors could engage learners by asking them to role play e.g two solicitors arguing a case. This could be particularly useful for engaging quiet learners.
Skitch is a fantastic tool for annotating images including web pages, maps or photos. Once you have created your Skitch you can share the document in a number of ways including email, Twitter, Facebook etc.
Below is a ‘Skitch’ that I created during today’s training session. For this activity we were asked to record the things that ‘get our back up’ relating to behaviour management. We were able to record this information in any medium and as I didn’t want to keep looking up at the question (I’m a dyslexic who has a really short poor term memory) I took a picture of the ppt slide and decided to annotate it in Skitch. This made the activity more interesting for me as I was not only able to create a visually interesting image but it also took a lot of pressure off me as when I was typing I was able to use the spell check function so I didn’t have to worry about any of my colleagues seeing my appalling spelling.
This app has a lot of potential for use in the FE classroom. It would make a fantastic tool to take on field trips, for example students could take a picture of an archaeological ruin and make notes about it’s age, it’s purpose and how the environment it is in has effected it’s condition. In Biology related classes students could add information about the names of bones that they have learnt by either taking a picture or a screen shot of a skeleton and annotating it.