Sunday, October 4, 2015

Formative Assessment – Check Into It!

Formative Assessment – Check Into It!
Hi everyone! Hope your school year is off to a great start.  One of my professional goals is to understand and implement formative assessment in my classroom.  The purpose behind formative assessment is to work smarter not harder, have students take more control of their own learning, and to broaden horizons on how assessment can be used to foster growth for all students.  Many of us are doing many formative assessments every day and using this information to make instructional decisions to best help our students.  There are also a variety of traditional and non-tradition tools that can be used to carry out this process.
Teachers have access to a wide range of technology based assessment tools.  Here are a few that I have used:
-        Today’s Meet
This tool allows one to create a backchannel during class to pose questions and get feedback on topics talked about in class.  
-        Socrative
This tool allows one to create quick multiple choice, true and false, and short answer questions.  Teachers get valuable real time and spreadsheet data to help individualize instruction and students get instant feedback on their work.  Exit ticket and game options also available.
-        Plickers
Great for the class that may not have access to technology.  Plickers is short for paper clickers.  Students get cards with QR codes on them. To choose a selection they simply rotate the card to choose A,B,C, or D.  The teacher uses a mobile device to scan student selections to gain valuable student response data.
-        Padlet
Allows you to create a wall that your students can post questions and samples to and teachers can curate student posts.
-        Kahoot
Is a great quiz game style tool that allows you to interact with your students and have them participate in meaning formative assessments in a fun way – can create own quizzes or access robust public pre-made quizzes.
-        Formative
This is a new one that I have recently found and have used.  Can even import pdfs of quizzes in and annotate questions to including written response which allows to see student work.

I have found these tools to be very useful on their own or coupled with mini-white boards, checklists and other non-technology based formative assessment practices.  Formative assessment has powerful repercussions in the classroom.  I hope this article reminded you of a few tools that are out there or maybe introduced you to a new one.  Please let me know if there are any I forgot or if you have any questions.  Contact me at or follow me on twitter @vendi55.  Past articles can be found at

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Technology In The Classroom


 Hello and welcome to a new year and a new instalment of Teacher Tech Talk.  I hope everyone had a great summer and is looking forward to a new year filled with excitement, passion, and learning opportunities in classrooms around this great province.  


The Ice Bucket Challenge has been a wonderful phenomenon that has went viral and has touched the lives of many.  So I’m throwing out a Technology In The Classroom Challenge.  I am hoping that teachers around our province will try at least one new tool or lesson using technology in their classrooms or professional development. There are many ways to do this and sometimes it just takes a leap of faith.   A few ideas that may help you get started are:


Flip A Lesson - use video to be viewed at home to introduce a concept instead of a direct lesson (


Kahoot - try engaging your students with this interactive quiz making site, make your own or look through their archives (


Explain Everything - try this app to create how tos, screen capture your work or your students work with this intuitive and easy to use app ( )


Twitter - can be used to develop your professional learning community, share ideas with others or follow those with insight and resources - ( and join #saskedchat)


These are just a few ideas and there are many others out there.  Technology has the potential to make our classrooms more engaging and provide new and unique learning opportunities.  Still the most important factor to learning in the classroom is the teacher … we can never forget that.


If you take the challenge and want to share please contact me and I will include these in future tech talks.  Also feel free to tweet out your attempts with the hashtag #techintheclasschallenge.  Please check out for this article and past posts, e-mail me at, or follow me on Twitter at @vendi55. Thank you for your time and remember to innovate, inspire, and collaborate.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


I have blogged about many topics that are relevant to digital citizenship.  My first blog was on blogging and the opportunities to communicate and collaborate that blogs offer.  This was discussed through out the DCMOOC course and many educators are now using this tool and making many valuable contributions to education.  I know that through this blog I'm trying to create a place to share my experiences and thoughts on using technology in education and digital citizenship.  My second blog was on Twitter.  This is a tool that I am becoming more in tune with.  I commented on the amazing Personal Learning Network that one can develop through Twitter.  Through DCMOOC twitter chats, I was able to share my thoughts and resources via posting and reflecting on the tweets of others.  I found this to be a very valuable professional development opportunity.  My third blog post was on the use of apps.  There are many tools out there that teachers can use to enhance and redefine their classrooms.  I shared a couple of the many tools I have tested and found to be valuable.  The DCMOOC course also shared many tools to incorporate into the classroom to improve student success and digital citizenship.  I had used or heard of many before, but as always picked up a few more tools for the tool box.  My fourth blog dealt with the overall importance of talking about and understanding the many facets of digital citizenship and the necessity that educators should be aware and ready to positively incorporate the issues and challenges of our digital world.  This theme ran throughout the DCMOOC course and the facilitators and participants were great champions of harnessing the power technology.  I am submitting this as a fifth blog post towards the completion of the DCMOOC course, as I will continue to share ideas, resources, and thoughts to promote successful integration of technology and best practice into our classrooms.

Be A Good Digital Citizen

Hi, and welcome to another edition of ‘Teacher Tech Talk’.  Technology influences our lives in many ways.  This has led to great opportunities, but is also a cause of great concern.  I have recently participated in a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on Digital Citizenship*, lead by Dr. Alec Couros from the University of Regina, and put forward by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education.

Technology has provided us with access to information and communication opportunities never before afforded in the history of humankind.  We have more computing power in our hands now, than that of the computers that sent a human being to the moon.  So how do we harness this power for the benefit of education and all its stakeholders?

The use of technology is a double edged sword; it can lead to cutting edge opportunities that are exciting and innovative, or it can lead to cutting ties from traditional and important values.  Exploring concepts like copyright, privacy, digital footprints, e-portfolios, netiquette, and more, lead teachers down a path with more questions than answers.  This is a new reality for society.  Education needs to adapt to a world where content is no longer in the hands of the few and communication and collaboration is at the click of a mouse or the touch of a finger.

I feel the keys to help teachers with helping themselves are to: 1) become informed of what’s out there, 2) get involved with some type of technology or social media, 3) see how one could incorporate a new tool in the classroom, 4) model what a positive technological experience should look like, 5) inform parents and administration, and 6) have fun with it while being open to new paths that will be created.  Don’t worry about doing this on your own!  There are many excellent mentors here in our province, and around the world, that are ready to connect and share (check out these hashtags on twitter, go to these blogs). 

Hope you have enjoyed ‘Teacher Tech Talk’ this year.  If you have suggestions for topics or ideas for future articles, I’d be glad to hear from you.  Please check out for this article and past posts, e-mail me at, or follow me on Twitter at @vendi55. Thank you for your time, and remember to innovate, inspire, and collaborate!

*Visit the MOOC at

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Don’t Worry Be Appy

Hi, and welcome to another edition of ‘Teacher Tech Talk’.  I love using technology in the classroom.  I do not believe that technology is a substitute for the craft of teaching; however, I do believe it can make us more effective and productive. Also, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is making its way into the classroom, and teachers need to be aware of the opportunities for learning that this initiative affords. There are a myriad of useful tools out there—I will review a couple apps I feel that teachers will love.

The first app to review is Remind 101.  This free app allows teachers to communicate with students and parents in a safe and efficient environment.  The teacher creates their own unique portal in which students or parents can subscribe via text or e-mail.  The great thing about this app is that everyone’s contact information remains private—subscribers can’t reply to messages sent out, and students’/parents’ text or e-mail information is not accessible to the teacher.  This allows for a private area in which reminders as such ‘Test on Tuesday’ or ‘Bring your permission slip’ can be quickly and efficiently communicated. Two new features that Remind 101 recently added is the ability to send reminders to individuals rather than one message to all, and the ability to send attachments via text message.  I find this app to be great for coaches or advisors in charge of organizing practices, rehearsals, and more. To learn more about Remind 101, visit

The next free app that I find extremely useful is Socrative.  This app allows you to create quick evaluation instruments that teachers can easily administer and collect meaningful data.  This app, which is cross platform and can be used on computers, allows for a quick poll of the students, or can be used as a review of previously taught material.  The exit ticket function also allows for a quick recap of student comprehension and questions.  Data comes as an easy-to-view and understand spreadsheet, so teachers can see which student may need more assistance or what concepts need a little extra coverage—it’s a great app for AFL! To learn more about Socrative, visit

I hope you find these apps useful!  I plan on doing more reviews in the future. I will be presenting iPads in the Classroom at the IT Summit in Saskatoon this May, and will be offering a couple Summer Short Courses.  If you would like information on apps and using technology in the classroom, please check out for this article and past posts.  Feel free to e-mail me at, or follow me on Twitter at @vendi55. Thank you for your time, and remember to innovate, inspire, and collaborate!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Building A House

I went to CUE 14 in Palm Springs and saw keynote speaker Sal Kahn of Kahn Academy.  He made a great analogy in his speech I wanted to share.

Imagine that instead of building a student’s knowledge you are building a house.

You get a contractor to work on the foundation with a specified timeline. He does what he can in the time given, and an inspector comes to take a look. He examines it, says its about 75 percent good. You say, "OK, that’s a C+, so let's move on to building the next floor!" The contractor builds it, and inspector says it’s about 90 percent. You think "Great!" and  move onto floor three.

Eventually you're working on the sixth floor and the whole house tumbles down.

You want to blame the contractor, claiming he wasn’t good enough. You will also want to blame the inspector. But the truth is, you were aware of the deficiencies. You just ignored them.

How can we expect kids to learn when we rush them through the process of learning?

Interesting ...