Formative Formative Formative!

I decided to take a closer look at Formative and I was impressed.  Going in, I wasn’t exactly sure what it was, but it is very similar to Socrative.  It is a formative assessment tool for teachers to help track data, give quick assessments, get real-time results and track student growth.  It can be used for any subject, and there are a variety of different types of questions you can create.  This was my favourite part!!  So many times, teachers are limited to multiple choice for online assessments and this tool really pushes the

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boundaries for what is offered.  You can create questions as well as upload existing documents, PDFs, or questions you’ve already made (no reinventing the wheel here!).  I think the thing I like most about this tool is that you can track and see the student data live.  There is a video that explains the process very well, and you can even give students hints, and give them feedback as they are working.  There is a ton of potential using Formative and the best part….it syncs with Google Classroom!!!!  I’ve been really thinking about moving from a paper and pencil classroom, to a more online and paperless environment, and I think this tool may help me get there.  I have also struggled with getting students to buy into my Google Classroom.  I post all notes, assignments, and due dates/exam dates on it, but I can’t get EVERY student on it.  They reject it or are too lazy to figure out how to access it and I think this tool would help me get the rest of them on board.  They will need their log-ins and if the two systems are linked then I am set!

Continuing, I think this is a great tool for teachers to use in the classroom because you can see real data, in real time!  It is quick to make, easy to integrate (as most students now have a device) and students don’t even NEED a log in; just a code for your assessment.  If you’re feeling brave and want to give my Calculus problem, a try here is the link and the code is: LSPPBN. I think it would be an effective entrance/exit slip assessment that I would be able to assign as homework or get students to do on their way out the door.  It’s flexible and provides many different opportunities for learning, and answering.  There is even Math Tools available!!  It even could have the potential to link to the outcomes of our curriculum, as it is already linked to Alberta’s.

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One thing I didn’t like was that I could assign math problems…but getting students to write out and show their work on a screen would be difficult as many of them would rather just do it on paper and I agree with them.  Showing their work on a screen is tedious and unnecessary, and unless it is a quick question, students would not benefit from the technology (so multiple choice is my limit in most cases).  I also loved that I would be able to see my students’ responses in real time,

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BUT what time?  When am I ever sitting at a computer or in from of a screen while my students are working?  Or working on phones?  It is a great asset to the tool, but not beneficial to me, as I would almost never be just sitting at my computer watching their progress on a screen.  It would be nice!  But it is unrealistic for me.  Does anyone think it would benefit them more?

The potential is great for short assessments where teachers are checking for understanding before, during or after a lesson.  In math, it is limited, and it all depends on the types of questions the teacher has in mind to ask.  Some things are better left for pen and paper, while others could definitely be used by Formative.  In class, we discussed Kahoot and I love it, but it makes everything and every question a competition.  This tool is the same, but takes away the competition and puts the focus on learning the content.  I like that!  Again, this is a tool used for formative assessment so it would make sense that full length exams should not be created in this format.  It’s possible, but then as a teacher, you need to be specific on expectations and guidelines for pulling up other resources while working.  There is a lot of monitoring that would be downloadnecessary for this to work properly, but I think with enough practice and patience, this tool could be a huge asset to a classroom.

What do you guys think?  Would you use this tool in your classrooms or have you?  What kind of questions would you ask?  Are the specific subjects you would use it with or have?

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4 thoughts on “Formative Formative Formative!

  1. Great review, Shelby! I can see what you mean about Formative’s limitations for a math class. Is it possible to use it with a touch screen and a stylus or do students have to type or use the integrated tools on the screen to answer questions? If there’s a way to use a stylus to provide input, then students could write their work on the screen as they would with a pencil and paper. It wouldn’t necessarily add to the experience but it would expand what you can do with it in a math class.
    We’d definitely be able to use it in our language classes for newcomers at Sask Polytech. Right now, we have one blended class and are looking at adding more and possibly expanding into purely online language classes. I could see this working quite well for those classes, especially if everyone was expected to be online for a while at the same time.
    I could also use it in my face-to-face language class during computer lab. I wouldn’t necessarily be using it to do different activities or to give different feedback than I would if we used pen and paper but it would give the students an opportunity to expand their computer skills, which is especially important for those students who don’t have much experience with digital technology.

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment Jennie! There is an option to “draw” or have an “open response” so this is a possible option but again, like you said, doesn’t necessarily add to the experience besides just using the tech. I’ve also found some students don’t like using tech. Only when it’s completely necessary and we have limited tools so working on their phones would be required for the questions (not the best)! I’m glad there are ways you can incorporate it in your classes, especially with your newcomers to help them enhance their tech skills!

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  2. These kinds of tools are neat, but I don’t know if they can be implemented on a broad basis into an everyday classroom. They seem more like add ons in the class rather than changing the way you teach. As you mentioned, seeing progress is nice but things like sitting down all class (my fitbit tells me that sitting down doesn’t happen for me, either) or the frustration level of slow work input would quickly put this to the wayside unless I needed something flashy to introduce a unit or reinforce a concept.

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