EdTech Tools for Formative Assessment

And I’m gonna keep on lovin’ you

Let’s talk assessment! Before we dig into a few tools, let me just remind us all that any tool that students can use to create something are also tools that teachers can use for a formative assessment. So before you begin digging into these fabulous tools, keep in mind that the main focus is what you want students to demonstrate that they know. Once you have that firmly fixed in your mind, then contemplate which of these creative tools can help students show what they know the best. Where possible, allow students some choice in the tool they use also. Okay, with that out of the way, let’s get to it!

I have created a Wakelet collection of all the tools that I’ll showcase here plus others that are great for formative assessment too. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is a great list to have in your assessment toolbox.

‘Cause it’s the only thing I want to do

Creative and Versatile Tools

The tools I go to when having students create amazing products as formatives are Buncee, Adobe Spark, Google Slides, and Canva. Each of these tools offer students a lot of power and flexibility when it comes to creating. Keep an open mind when designing assessments, and remember that there is a time and place for multiple choice, but having students apply what they’ve learned by creating something is always a win.

I don’t want to sleep, I just want to keep on lovin’ you

Buncee (Full Disclosure-Ambassador)

Buncee is one of my favorite tools to use personally and with students. It can be used to create graphics, presentations, and blogs, newsletters, and more. The built in features give it a lot of power too. Within Buncee, students can add text, animations, stickers (clipart), 3D images, audio, video, embed YouTube videos, websites, upload your own images, and more. It literally is a one stop shop for whatever you or your students want to create or demonstrate that they know. Buncee is stocked with templates galore and has an Ideas Lab as well so that you can find inspiration or ready to use templates created by educators from around the globe. Buncee Boards are a way to collect Buncees into one space that can be shared with one link, commented upon, and also emojis for a quick way to react to a Buncee added to the board. It’s a fun way for your class to create Buncees to share world wide, locally, or just shared within your class or school. Example formatives with Buncee include but are by no means limited to:

  • Infographics
  • Interactive Images
  • Storyboard Summaries
  • Explainer Graphic
  • Multimedia presentation or Graphic
  • Visual Representation of Thinking
  • Explainer Video

Don’t let the simplicity of this tool have you thinking that it is only for younger students. Easy to use tech tools level the tech playing field for all learners. You are the one who designs the formative assessment or assignment. You have the power to make it worthy of the students you teach.

And I meant

Adobe Spark (Adobe creative educator & Big fan)

Adobe Spark is like 3 apps all rolled into one. With it, students can create stand alone webpages, graphics, or even make videos. There are thousands of templates, powerful text tools, built in icons (clipart), free and searchable images, as well as the ability to upload your own images. This graphic tool is very powerful, and so is Adobe Spark Page. With Spark Page, students (and teachers) can create beautifully appealing webpages to demonstrate their own knowledge, add links, text, images ad whatever is needed for the stunning webpage, graphic, or video that can be used for so many things. Adobe can help students create formatives that include:

  • Blogs
  • Summary Movie Trailers
  • PSA Videos (over content)
  • News Special Reports
  • Presentations (Spark Page)
  • Same as above with Buncee

Every word I said

Google Slides (Big fan)

It is hard not to love this collaborative tool! Google Slides is so much more than a presentation tool. Like Buncee and Adobe Spark, you can easily design and combine text and images then download as an image, .PDF, or publish to the web. Students can look at your “intro Slide” as a template, duplicate it, add their name, then follow your directions. The directions can be placed outside the actual Slide in the gray area too. The speaker’s notes area is also one that has untapped potential. It can also be collaborative and anonymous, making it powerful as a place for a formative also, where everyone can add their own thoughts in a bulleted list that you set up. By having students add their Slides to the deck, you essential have created a digital gallery walk, opportunity for gamified learning, and for sure, some peer review potential. I see Google Slides with the same untapped potential as Buncee and Adobe Spark have when it comes to formative assessment.

  • Same as all graphic ideas for Buncee and Adobe Spark, but without built in clipart or images.
  • Publish to the Web is a powerful option for Slides sharing
  • Collaboration is Powerful
  • Peer Editing
  • Tons of ideas from ditchthattextbook.com
  • More great ideas from controlaltachieve.com

When I said that I loved you I meant that I loved you forever

Wakelet (Full Disclosure-Ambassador)

Wakelet never ceases to amaze me. I lead the singing for my church’s Vacation Bible School (VBS) this week, and we were using a borrowed VBS kit from another church. The DVD with the songs and motions was not in the kit. Did I panic? Nope! I hopped onto YouTube and found the videos. Instead of using PowerPoint or Slides, I created and organized a Wakelet collection of every video or image we would need. Using Wakelet is easiest way to organize and present without having to worry about the order it needs to be in. Wakelet is, quite simply, for everyone. Wakelet allows for curating and sharing what is curated in a multitude of ways. Wakelet is also a creation tool. Here are some ways my students and I use Wakelet:

  • Sub Plans (Me-all links, instructions, etc. in one spot. I share one link.)
  • Blogs
  • Tests (With the integrations with Flipgrid & Google Drive, text options, & Immersive Reader, there’s a lot you can do here to see if your students have mastered your content.)
  • Scavenger Hunts (Free all the time, unlike GooseChase)
  • Collaborative Hub (for classes from different districts, states, countries, to easily work as tutors, collaborators on projects, etc.)

And I’m gonna keep on lovin’ you

Genially (New Fan)

I am new to this tool, but it is one that I will be adding to my assessment and instructional toolbox for the upcoming school year. Like the previous tools I have highlighted, it has a variety of functionality, making it an easy tool to use for a wide range of instructional needs. If you can’t figure out what to create or what to have students create in order to demonstrate mastery, Genially has a whole host of functional and ready made templates to spark your imagination. Categories include:

  • Presentations
  • Infographics
  • Interactives
  • Gamification (Yes, templates for online games you can customize with your content.)
  • Video Presentation
  • Guides (Create complex and informative documents where your audience can choose the information it wants to consume. Ideal for creating web content where interactivity is the star.)
  • Training Materials
  • & More!

‘Cause it’s the only thing I want to do

Seesaw (Big Fan)

As I’ve said before, tools like Seesaw and Buncee are not limited to certain grade levels or age groups. Teachers of those grades have been the early adopters, yes, but that does not mean that it is limited to younger students. Middle and high school students love being able to navigate a tool without needing help. These simple to use but powerful tools level that tech playing field for all learners. Seesaw allows high school students to create interactions with the content that include audio, video, image upload, drawing, text, and more. Teachers can leave audio feedback and connect parents to students so that they see the work their child posts and can react to it with an emoji or a supportive comment. It can do a lot of what these other tools also do, but like Slides, it does not come with built in clipart or images. It does, however, have a lot of lesson activities from the Seesaw community that you can use. Such a great tool!

  • Same as above (for the most part)
  • Record a video within the platform then save as .mp4 instead of using the Chromebook camera and saving as the default file that some Chromebooks impose. Many Chromebooks save as a .webm file, and that isn’t compatible with Google products.
  • Save hours responding to student work with audio feecback.
  • Target Videos and Instructions to Parents too!
  • Truly Great Communication Tool!

I don’t want to sleep, I just want to keep on lovin’ you

More to explore

When I asked my amazing professional learning network (PLN) on Twitter about their favorite edtech tools for assessing student learning. The following are the rest of the ones mentioned and why they are favorites of my PLN:

  • Formative: Lots of question types, you can see work in real time, great feedback options, add standards to questions and track progress. Lots of possibilities! Awesome assessment tool. Definitely worth the upgrade version.
  • Edpuzzle: Great for pre-class learning checks (flipclass).
  • Peardeck: (I’m a big fan) Great for in-class warm-up, exit tickets, class discussions, and integrated with Slides. Want to know what your students are thinking? Try Peardeck.
  • Nearpod: (FAN) Similar to Peardeck, has Google Slides extension, and comes with lessons made by big time companies. Great tool!
  • Wacom: Love using the tablets so I can see *how* students are working through math problems.
  • Flipgrid: (Big Fan) Awesome for getting insight into how students are thinking through work (verbalizing process). Great for foreign language speaking assessments and any type of oral assessments, summarizing, explaining, etc. Sky literally is the limit.
  • Blooket: A new kid on the block. Use your content to create games!
  • Kahoot: (Big Fan) Always a favorite! This tool continues to evolve and brings fun back into assessment.
  • Quizizz: (Big Fan) Lots of power here! A gaming platform that has the magic “teleport” option where you can add questions from quizzes in the databank to customize your own quiz, and create a quiz in just 5 minutes! The “Lessons” option is great for hybrid or virtual learning and allows for you to see your students progress as they work.
  • Gimkit: (Big Fan) Always updating new versions to stay on top of what students love. This is a great tool for formative assessment. Not only is it a ton of fun, but it has reports so you can se the data, and it also lets you search already made “kits” (quizzes) and add some or all of the questions to your own kit (quiz). Kids love it!
  • Plickers: Been around a while and still effective.
  • Whiteboardchat: (FAN!) Another new kid on the block that has a lot of power, potential, and is FREE. Check it out! Designed for math teachers but lots of possibilities here. No sign in required either. Works with unique urls.
  • Classkick: Great for creating your own Red heart. (I don’t know what that means, but a great educator friend of mine responded with that as her why. She loves Classkick, so it’s worth a look.)
  • Edulastic: (Big Fan) This is a great tool! Pull in questions from state assessment released items, search for questions based on standards, and watch students progress in real time on your dashboard. Lots of question types! You can create your own assessments too!
  • Wizerme: This tool allows you to upload your .pdf files and make them interactive. You can provide choice of questions for differentiation and so many options of answer types.
Heading titles are partial lyrics from reo speedwagon’s song, Keep On Loving You, lyrics © Hori Pro Entertainment Group

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