For quite some time now I’ve been modeling my classroom after the thoughts and ideas popularised by Dylan William. I’m speaking of formative assessment and how you, as a teacher, can implement that in the classroom.
In this post I won’t cover the basic idea behind formative assessment but just give you a glimpse into how I, with the use of iPads, and app called Whiteboard and the new Apple Classroom app, have used some of Williams ideas in the classroom with ease.
I will break this down into three parts; the assignment my students got, the apps I uses and how this all comes together with the help of Apple Classroom.
Apple Classroom is truly a game changer in the classroom. But when I’ve read what teacher love about it they tend to focus on the “control aspect” of the app. What I mean is that people primarily seem to use it as a tool to control the students use of their iPads.
For me this is almost secondary and I tend to use it more to promote the use of the iPads in my classroom. So this blog post is more about giving people an insight in how Apple Classroom can be an integral part of the learning that occurs in the classroom.
The object of the lesson was to talk about how Sweden is divided into counties and municipalities and how this is an important part of the democratic system in Sweden.
To better understand how this works it helps if you have an, at least basic, understanding of how many counties and municipalities there are and also some knowledge of their size. The students should have this knowledge since it’s taught in the lower grades in Sweden. But I wanted to refresh their memory and also get an overview of their knowledge.
The problem is that with 28 students this can be a hassle. You could start with some kind of test but it would take time so sift through this and I wanted both them, and me, to get instant feedback. If I just had asked them “how many counties are there in Sweden” only a hand full would have raised their hands. Even if those students had given the correct answer it wouldn’t tell me anything about what the rest of the class knew about the subject matter.
So I wanted to create a situation where I easily could ask questions, get every student to give me an answer and be able to give them instant feedback on their answers.
The way I did it was by having the students use whiteboards. They could then write the answers on the boards and hold them up so that I could see them.
A breakdown of the apps used
Instead of using small physical whiteboards I opted to use an interactive one since all my students have iPads.
I’ve tried quite a lot of different apps but the one I like to most, and the one that all my students have installed on their iPads is called IPEVO Whiteboard
The layout of the app is really simple. You can choose to write with your fingers or type text. My students tend to prefer to write with their fingers since it’s quick and easy.
How Apple Classroom combines the parts into a whole
So I started the lesson and gave the students an overview of what we were going to do.
I told them that Sweden has 21 counties and I gave them the first question: “Which one is the largest, in regards to area?”
I had already opened the Classroom app on my iPad. I now had a view of all my students and their iPads.
So I clicked on Open and then selected IPEVO Whiteboard.
In an instant, the whiteboard app opened on all the iPads in the classroom. I told the students to write their answers on their iPad and then hold the screen up to me.
By using this method I could within 60 seconds see what my students knew and give them feedback. We then continued with the question: “which one is the largest in regards to population?” and the students once again wrote down their answers.
By combining these different methods and apps my students could in a very simple and engaging way present their knowledge. As I teacher I could in an instant see what my students knew and give them formative feedback.
Of course you can to this without devices. You could easily use a pen and paper or small whiteboards. But by using iPads, the IPEVO Whiteboard app and Apple Classroom, the amount of preparation is minimal and you could do it on the fly if needed.