Real-time formative assessment tops my list as a must-have for blended learning programs. Using it changes student and teacher practice, empowering both to be responsive and more powerfully engaged with learning. Best, it is a very accessible practice for educators to start their exploration of blended learning with or to use to enhance a current program.
While there are a few products on the market that do this well, I'm particularly invested in Gooru's real-time formative assessment tool (video overview) as a co-creator of it. Teacher-designed, free, and easy to use, it has helped systemically implement blended learning at my school network and produce strong outcomes. I particularly like Gooru's because it allows for locating and sharing assessment content and leveraging learning resources to provide next steps based on the assessment data.
Regardless of the tool used, for me real-time formative assessment is one of those practices that produces the biggest "ah ha!" moments and shifts in practice of any blended learning component.
I'm all about using edtech to gather analytics to get a sense of individual and class needs and to also best engage each and every learner in the room. If I had to narrow it down to two tools, I'd choose Pear Deck & EDpuzzle. I love this questions and actually wrote up a blog post on this topic earlier in the year - Put pedagogy before tech.
Here are the primary reasons I choose Pear Deck and EDPuzzle as my go-to tools:
They provide each student in the classroom an equal voice. In a traditional classroom discussion, students are called on or raise their hands to respond. As a result, teachers often repeatedly hear from the same students. In contrast, Pear Deck and EDpuzzle provide each student an opportunity to respond individually.
They engage each student in the room. With these tools, each student is required to actively participate and respond to each question, form an opinion, and submit an answer.
They create a safe space for each student to honestly respond and make mistakes. Answers are anonymous to the group so students don’t have to worry about how their peers might perceive their answers or worry about answering incorrectly.
They allow educators to efficiently and effectively target class and individual student needs. The analytics provided show class trends and also provide indicators of individual students who are struggling.
They differentiate how students can respond to questions. While some students are wonderful with oral discussion and on-the-spot responses, other students are best when they have time to process, collect their thoughts and type an answer.