As I’ve stated elsewhere, I learned about OpenEd in the summer of 2013 while looking for flipped-learning style videos for my 7th grade math classes. After years of going to school at Fresno Pacific University, in the summer of 2013 I was asked to be an adjunct faculty member. Specifically, Education 644, a one unit technology in education class for student teaching candidates.
I received the course shell from the amazing Stacey Stansberry and the first semester, didn’t change much of anything! But I eventually focused the 8 weeks and 4 class sessions I had available to me on four main areas:
1) Google Apps for Education
2) Digital Storytelling tools
4) Presenting their Technology Based Lesson Plans
The part I’m going to talk about in today’s blog is Assessment. I started incorporating OpenEd into my previous professional development presentations in the Fall when doing a training session with new teachers. They wanted to know about flipping the classroom, and I told them they really shouldn’t need to make their own videos – OpenEd already had it organized! Then as OpenEd starting making assessments, the coast was clear. I had Adam and Lisa Blum, two of the founders of OpenEd, do a webinar with my student teacher candidates in the spring of 2014, and became very intrigued by the company and its philosophy of assessment to instruction.
The assignment I gave on the most recent iteration of my EDUC 644 class had them take two assessments from OpenEd that I had assigned. I gave them access to the teacher account to be able to view the Mastery Chart.
Next, I asked students to put themselves back as the teacher looking at this data and analyze it to make meaningful instructional choices. Teachers are able to see individual student answers from this view as well as resources viewed by students in response, so I got some very detailed responses.
According to the statistics in the class mastery chart I will need to conduct a full class review of “Write Claims and Counterclaims”. The class average for this assessment was 43% which is far below mastery. No student reached the nearing mastery level of 70%.
This particular student went on to explain that offering the same content in a variety of instructional methods might be more conducive to some students. In addition, because OpenEd allows the teacher to assign resources to that student before they come to class the next day, a student could in effect get a head start on the learning through the use of the technology available.
Other things I’ve tried with my student teachers is creating a formative assessment tool matrix and analyzing each tool’s strengths and weakness as part of an overall discussion of ed-tech effectiveness. However I found that was a mostly meaningless task because it should never be just about the tool being used, but the “why” of the tool and if it is being used to help teachers and students or just is shiny and new.
This kind of thinking demonstrates that student teacher candidates were able to quickly look at assessment data and make the needed adaptation to instruction. Doing this in the university setting allowed for more time and sharing of responses to the mastery chart on a forum (Moodle) where others could learn, comment and even disagree on next steps. The week after this assignment, we were able to talk about it on context and highlight that too often as teachers we see data, but aren’t able to uncover the root causes of the poor or stellar performance. OpenEd makes it easy to re-assess students, help them with specific misunderstandings and bring the entire class to mastery of a topic through personalized learning.