The integration of ICT across the curriculum can motivate and engage students tremendously in their learning experiences. For you as a teacher this is fantastic news and is clearly evident in your teaching practices. However, there are also a number of issues to do with formative assessment strategies which you may have already experienced and been stuck for ideas about how to overcome these obstacles.
You may have already experienced issues such as:
- Possible conflict between ICT objectives and subject learning;
- Determining individual achievement when they work collaboratively;
- Overcoming technical problems;
- Challenging students with ICT;
- Avoiding putting students without computers at home at a disadvantage;
- Deciding what the student has done and what the computer has done for them.
Here is what some of my online students had to say:
Sound familiar to you?
Assessment is essential part of your planning process and as a teacher, you know how this can impact on your teaching. Below is a list of issues you may have faced and the solution for you to implement in order to overcome them.
Conflict between ICT objectives and subject learning
Solution: When you develop student ICT capability alongside subject learning, you should aim to keep the technology ‘transparent’. Students should be so focused on using the ICT as a tool that they hardly notice they are using technology themselves. The ICT routines and techniques should be part of their unconscious actions. This should be your goal as a primary teacher - equipping the children with sufficient experience to enable them to use ICT without having to stop and think.
Another method is provide them with a need and then to be on hand to show them what to do when they are engaged in a problem. Constantly monitor the way students are solving the problems and doing the tasks so that you are able to show them new or more efficient ways of using ICT to achieve the learning outcomes.
Determining individual achievement in a collaborative effort
Solution: Computer-based activities promotes collaborative work between students. Unequal sharing of responsibility or effort may arise. You can try one of these strategies instead:
- Give the students specific roles or tasks when engaged in an activity;
- Clear observations of work;
- Signal changeovers regularly during a lesson;
- Appropriate teacher intervention – should be supportive and formative in manner;
- Train the students in paired working – inexperienced students can be supported through peer tutoring;
- Prepare on-computer and off-computer tasks during the ICT lesson.
Solution: Always assume the worst and encourage students to save their work as it progresses to ensure that they have a previous version they can return to. Remember that students don’t need to be sitting at the computer in order to develop their ICT capability. By improving your own capabilities in ICT, you will be able to demonstrate the higher order skills involved in the activity such as planning, evaluating and reflecting. You can have a back-up plan ready where you will start a group or whole class discussion about processes and enhance their decision making with in-depth questioning.
Putting children without computers at home at a disadvantage
Solution: Allow students to continue to work on ICT activities for homework and give them access to the computers outside of school hours. For an assessment, you will need to distinguish between the extent a child has had help from a parent or sibling. In these circumstances, ask the child to demonstrate the methods she or he used to complete the activity.
Determining what the child has done and what the computer has done for them
Solution: Your first choice of method would be observation, but in addition to this you can ask the children to write a reflective report about the approach they used to complete the ICT activity whether it be a project or homework task. You could also use student self-assessment sheets for projects to encourage them to reflect on the extent to which they have developed knowledge and skills. Furthermore, this could be used as basis for discussions in your lessons.
These are just some of the issues that you may have experienced. In either case, your aim should be to enable students to reach the stage where the technology they are using becomes sufficiently transparent.
Other issues would include using formative assessment methods in order to pitch your teaching appropriately, sharing information with other teachers and reporting to parents. To learn more about these you will need to enrol in our accredited online course in relation to assessment for learning. Learn from your peers and colleagues like Amanda did. Read what she had to say.
Formative Assessment Strategies
You will learn how to assess ICT capability as a requirement of the National Curriculum by applying current instructional principles, research and appropriate assessment practices to the uses of ICT in your classroom. In addition, I will give you the expertise you need to make informed decisions to help you unlock barriers to establishing a meaningful learning environment.
By the end of this course, you will be able to:
- Learn about integrating ICT and ICT capability development in the National Curriculum;
- Plan and identify opportunities for assessment;
- Determine progression in the National Curriculum Learning Continuum;
- Establish a meaningful learning environment in the Early Years;
- Gather strong empirical evidence of attainment;
- Share learning outcomes with parents and colleagues and;
- Make informed decisions on assessment strategies for your school.