Assessment Technology
A classroom is dependent on the abilities of a student to learn and retain new
information, and on an instructor to guide the acquisition of knowledge. Albert Einstien is
often attributed with saying “ Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by it’s ability to
climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid” (Quote Investigator, 2013)
Educational success is often measured by the outcomes of standardized testing, which
has historically been administered by educators who then rewrite the resulting data into
graphs and categories. This analysis is used to compare test scores and students, and
determine if actual learning has happened in the classroom. The amount of time required
to complete assessment analysis made it impractical for classroom use, as results were
usually shared at the end of a school year. (Gunter & Gunter, 2014) Modern technology
allows educators to assess, analyze, and restructure lesson plans as needed, giving
individual students the best opportunities to learn.

Technology to Facilitate Ongoing Efforts to Assess Student Learning
Classroom technology can go far beyond the simple act of retrieving information or
designing web casts, it allows a teacher to share information, give virtual field trips or
interviews, and connect with other classrooms. Within the classroom, an additional
element of learning is experienced when technology is applied to assessment. All
educators use some form of assessing their student's understanding, and technology has
created a way to enhance and improve testing.  Depending on the technology available
in the school, an educator can design tests to be taken within the group or individually,
and have the results readily available for analysis. Electronic assessments can be used
for students, and electronic assessment of staff is also an option. Having the data returns
graphed and categorized makes evaluation more efficient. Using technology to assist
with the time consuming details of assessment, makes testing more beneficial in the
classroom, and allows for revision of instruction based on assessment results. The
following examples of assessment software can help with understanding the possibilities
of what can be done using technology to assess and improve the classroom experience.
Socrative  Socrative is a teacher collaboration tool with assessment and activities
sharing. An educator can use this software to add assessment ideas, learn to make
assessments, and to glean from the ideas of other teachers. Activities are clearly
explained and linked to standards. A user can sign up for a teacher or student account
and this can be used live in the classroom. There are many resources available for
exploration of this site. Under “Blog” an educator can access many ideas and quizzes
shared on the site. Socrative provides access to grading tools, a collaborative
environment, and mastery tracking. (Socrative, 2015)
Google Forms Using Goggle Forms, a teacher can design an assessment in a variety
of formats: multiple choice, yes/no, list, scale, or short essay form and share the test with
students using Google Drive.  The test results are submitted to the instructor’s email,
listed as a spreadsheet for further review. An additional extension called Flubaroo is
available, which  categorizes the test results for the teacher. This all functions seamlessly
within the Google Drive, which is a free, open sourced cloud service. Google Drive
allows users to share files among a group of contacts (such as a classroom) easily.
(Google, n.d.)
Questbase This subscription software offers a free basic edition that allows teachers to
create and publish or print evaluations and provides analysis. Questbase is a web based
software that does not require downloads or use server space, as it is usually run in a
cloud. A teacher would use this tool to make assessments that can be used across
platforms, and will receive a realtime report of responses to evaluate learning, or to store
for future usage. Technical Support is available.There are several different pricing
options, and this software can support thousands of responses. (Questbase, 2015) 

Formative and Summative Assessments
There are different forms of assessment an educator can use, two of these are
formative and summative assessments. Formative assessments are ongoing
evaluations that help an educator to design the next step of instruction.These
assessments can be done individually or in a group, and administered as a formal test or
informally, using observation. Formative testing allows feedback for the student and
teacher, and demonstrates the effectiveness of instruction. Socrative and Google provide
some very useful tools for creating formative assessments. (Dyer, 2015)
Summative assessments are given upon completion of a unit or section to show what
knowledge was retained. These tests are generally used for grades or other high stakes
measures and can create a stressful environment for the test taker. (Ronan, 2015)
Computer testing can reduce this anxiety. A summative test can become a formative test
if it is seen that more study needs to be done to achieve mastery. (Wormeli, 2010)

Pros and Cons of using Technology to Facilitate Assessment
Although assessments can be done without technology, the modern educator will  utilize
technology at some point. Technological advances have made assessment making,
scoring, and analysis more efficient to allow a teacher to focus on the primary job of
teaching. Using technology to facilitate testing allows the instructor freedom to work with
students individually as needed, and assists in streamlining the lesson materials. If a new
concept is learned quickly by all students, the instructor can move on to the next section. If
student assessments indicate lack of understanding, more time can be given to achieve
mastery. Educators are able to use online collaboration for new assessment strategies
and to  reference instructional materials easily. Most software sources provide
categorized reports of results, analysis, and storage of the assessment, and resulting
data.
Technology can create challenges when used in the classroom. If equipment is not
working properly, or there are connectivity issues, an assessment dependant on
technology will suffer. Additional factors would include how many devices are available, if
students have home access, and having adequate support. Teachers need training in the
use of technology and resources. Schools that are supportive of technological
advancement will produce students who are well prepared for the technology in their
world.

Should a teacher only use technology to assess student learning?
In following best practices, a teacher should provide modeling of the use of technology in
the classroom, including in assessments. In order to maintain an effective class, a
teacher should concurrently plan a backup, if technology should fail. Both formative and
summative testing will provide the best evaluation of the effectiveness of instruction.
 
The importance of assessment technology in connection with the ISTE
standards
When educators use technology to inform students, and reflect technology use in
assessments, the class will benefit in multiple ways. Instruction will be differentiated to
benefit differing learning styles, and there will be a resulting increase of classroom
effectiveness. ISTE standards call for teachers to be leaders in innovation using
technology, and specifically reference technology based assessments in Standard 2:
Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments. (ISTE, 2015) As
progress continues, educators need to be at the front of understanding and teaching
others to use the technological tools available.

Using Software to Support Assessment
Technology has revolutionized education. Academic pursuits are now available to more
people on a worldwide level than ever before. Instruction can be given, but is the
knowledge retained? By applying technological advances to assessing learner
outcomes, a teacher has the tools to build a strong learning environment, when the tools
are needed. Producing and using assessments used to be a time consuming process,
but modern technology has provided many resources for designing, implementing, and
sharing tests that can be used to assess the effectiveness of instruction. Assistive
technologies make the learning environment and testing available to all students equally.
Modern technology allows educators to assess, analyze, and restructure lesson plans as
needed, giving individual students the best opportunities to learn.


References:
Dyer, K. (2013, July) Teach. Learn. Grow. [Blog] Retrieved from
https://www.nwea.org/blog/2013/digital-technology-tools-for-implementing-formative-
assessment-post-one/

Google. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.google.com/drive/apps.html?

Gunter, G., Gunter, R.(2014). Teachers Discovering Computers. Retrieved from
https://viewer.gcu.edu/R4MF8V

ISTE. (2015). Standards for Teachers. Retrieved from
http://www.iste.org/standards/iste-standards/standards-for-teachers

Questbase. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.questbase.com/product/

Quote Investigator. (2013). Quote Investigator. Retrieved from
http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/04/06/fish-climb/

Ronan, A. (2015, April). Every Teacher’s Guide to Assessment. Edudemic. [Blog]
Retrieved from http://www.edudemic.com/summative-and-formative-assessments/

Socrative. (2015) Retrieved from  http://garden.socrative.com/?page_id=1776

Wormeli, R. (2010). Formative and Summative Assessment [Video File] Retrieved from
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJxFXjfB_B4
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Differentiating Instruction through Technology
    In the history of American education, theories of how students learn have been
debated. The most common teaching style has been to teach to a uniform standard
which can be exclusive to students of various cultures, as well as those with disabilities.
Technology has broadened the boundaries of our educational system, and has brought to
light a need for a more globally aware student experience. This section will review some
forms of using communications technology in the classroom. Educators can use the tools
that technological progress has given us to begin a new era in education reform and
inclusion. 

Technology to Differentiate Instruction
Speech Recognition Software and Text to Speech engines:Speech Recognition helps
students with disabilities that hinder text production ability. This technology allows users
to speak into a microphone and then translates the words to text. Proofreading and
editing is required, but this tool makes the task easier and the assignment less daunting.
This is a practical tool for early readers, special education classrooms, and English
Language Learners.
Text to Speech engines can assist visually impaired and low reading level students to
“read” an electronic document by producing an audible version of the document. Some
engines allow the user to adjust the rate of speech, or to choose from a variety of voices.
An additional advantage of using text to speech readers is that a student can watch the
text while it is being read to develop reading skills.    
Both of these interrelated tools align with ISTE Student standards 1b and 2b. (ISTE,
2015)
Social networking websites (Google+, Google groups, or Facebook): Social networking
is a familiar tool to many. A way that these tools can be useful in classes is to connect
students with groups, including other classrooms studying the same subjects, expert
resources such as professionals in a related field, or to introduce students to ethnic
groups that may be under represented in their geographic location. Students can gain
from professional insight, peer collaboration, and cultural awareness using social
networking in a supervised setting. Social networking used in the classroom aligns with
ISTE Student Standards 2a and 2c. (ISTE, 2015)
Translator Web Tools (Google Translate): The ability to understand writing from different
sources and to hear pronunciations of foreign languages can greatly enhance student
understanding and ability to communicate in a global environment. Many countries teach
English in addition to their national language, therefore are able to communicate with
people outside of their nationality. In America, we need to develop this approach.
Translator tools can help a class to review documents written in another language and
can aid foreign exchange students as well as English as a Second Language students.
These tools can be used to research, review and share information. Using translation
tools can develop a more sophisticated understanding of American English as our
language is rooted in many base languages. Translators can be used in a manner that
facilitates learning based on ISTE Standards 3b and 4d. (ISTE, 2015)

Pros and Cons
Using technology as a tool to differentiate teaching is a resource that many
instructors have attempted. While new technologies are being developed constantly,
educators strive to harness the potential of what already exists. One challenge of using
technology is that students are often more familiar with its use and capabilities than the
teacher. While this appears to be a detriment if the teaching philosophy is teacher led, it
can be a great asset when the instructor allows a student led class. (Resnik, n.d.)
Children are not only more familiar with modern technology, but tend to view it from the
perspective of “what can this do or be used for?” instead of trying to follow prescribed
uses.
Technology is capable of being adapted to the needs of many different users, and can
make the classroom more accessible to a wide range of students, including ESL
learners, students with disabilities, and culturally isolated classrooms. The ability to use
this resource can depend greatly on the school, and the local economy. If a school is the
only access point for the Internet, as in some remote Alaskan communities (Hunt, 2014),
then technology laden homework assignments will not be effective. If the school or the
families attending cannot afford technology, seeking grants and free usage web tools
becomes paramount to using technology in the school. (Butrymowicz, 2012) Many
schools have found ways to overcome these obstacles to provide access to the schools
of tomorrow today.
   Technology can be useful in differentiating instruction for a classroom with
different learning styles, levels, and abilities. In modern classrooms, an educator is faced
with many students, several of which may require individualized instruction. With the use
of computers, assistive devices and other tools, a teacher is better equipped to meet the
needs in the classroom. With preparation, students can learn in a multi-age, multi-level
environment, without feeling isolated by their differences. Educators can use the tools
that technological progress has given us to begin a new era in education reform and
inclusion.


References:
Butrymowicz, S. (2012). Bridging the digital divide in America’s rural schools. The
Hechinger Report Retrieved from http://hechingerreport.org/bridging-the-digital-divide-in-
americas-rural-schools/

Hunt, R. (2014) Personal contact 10/10/2014
ISTE. (2015) ISTE Standards for Students Retrieved from
http://www.iste.org/standards/iste-standards/standards-for-students

Resnik,M. (n.d.). Rethinking Learning in the Digital Age.  In Rethinking Learning in the
Digital Age. (pp.32-37) Retrieved from https://llk.media.mit.edu/papers/mres-wef.pdf
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Technology to Enhance Instruction
Integrating Instructional Technology
Technology is a huge part of modern society, and helps to link classrooms around the
world. Technology can bring the geographic details of mountain environments to a
classroom in the plains, or show how ancient Egyptians formed the pyramids, even help
a young child to learn alphabets or numbering systems. Technology is not only able to
help educators to give instruction, but should become a part of every student’s school
day, as this is the media that will dominant many students’ futures. Children can learn how
to use technology while using it to learn.
Interactive WhiteBoard (IWB)
This device works much like the familiar whiteboard or chalkboard of the past, with an
important exception: it is more versatile. The IWB interfaces with a computer to allow the
teacher to display created lessons, websites, and more. The user can interact with the
board using a magnetic pen to complete functions. The material written or drawn on the
whiteboard can be saved for later access, or even entered into a portal for collaborative
use. Students can use the IWB to explain their understanding. (Learning with Interactive
Whiteboards) An IWB would also be helpful in giving presentations to large groups.
Smart Pen
A smart pen is a tool that can aid all students by enhancing their note taking abilities.
Students use the pen to take notes, and with a press of the tip, it also records the lesson,
to be played back later. This technology will increase the absorption of material in the
classroom, language usage and vocabulary. This pen has capabilities to store notes,
read them back to the user, and read printed text audibly. Uses for this pen include note
taking, read back, recording and spelling assistance. (New Assistive Technology for
Dyslexia and ADHD)
Chromebooks or Ipads
These simple computers or tablets can be set up by the school with access to whatever
school policies allow. They can be used for class webpages, assigning video lectures,
and completing homework. Some schools are able to issue these to students to take
home, others may use a small grouping of them in the classroom. Being able to send a
device home for students to view a video lecture allows the teacher to monitor traditional
“homework” in the classroom and be present to answer questions.

Pros and Cons of using Technology to Facilitate Learning
Using technology to facilitate learning has many benefits and some drawbacks. Among
the benefits are increased student attention and engagement, ability to draw on many
resources to support instruction, adaptability to different learning styles, and teaching use
of technology through  modeling. Students of the present generation have been taught to
derive knowledge from increasingly fast paced media and live interaction. The format of
teaching that does not use technology must incorporate many strategies to keep a
student's attention. Using technology can give the instructor additional resources to draw
from to increase the communication of concepts, and meets the needs of a wider range
of learning styles. By using technology in instruction, the teacher models use of
technology that the student may use for future careers.
Drawbacks to technology in the classroom could include technical difficulties, lack of
experience with newer technologies making it difficult for substitutes to follow lesson
plans that incorporate it, and decrease in actual verbal and written communication skills.
All of us have faced tech challenges in some way in our lives, when the systems do not
work properly. When teachers incorporate technology that a substitute is unfamiliar with
into lesson plans, teaching the lesson can be difficult. Modern technology has been
shown to exacerbate problems with face to face interaction and socially isolating
tendencies,  at a time when students need to develop social behaviors and confidence.
(Junko & Ananou, 2015)
Although technology has earned a place in the classroom, the use of it must be
incorporated with attention to its effect on learning. When technology is integrated into a
classroom, it can broaden and enrich the educational experiences that happen within,
and increase the abilities of those who go out from it.

Wired and Wireless Classrooms
A “wired “ classroom uses technologies that are typically connected to the Internet and
power sources by wires or cables. A “wireless” classroom uses radio waves to access
the Internet and communicate between components via WiFi networks. (Webopedia)
One of the benefits of a wired classroom is faster response to web inquiries and more
efficient Internet use. However, wired technology is more cumbersome and limits the user
to the place where the technology is plugged in. Wireless technologies have more
portability and can connect to Internet anywhere WiFi is available, but this includes
access points that may not have filtered web access, so inappropriate material can be
accessed in those locations. (Varley, 2007)
In the classroom, an educator will need to have training to use the technologies that are
available.  Classroom teachers should have knowledge of  Internet usage and safety
protocols. Due to technology being developed and upgraded frequently, schools should
provide annual technology training and Internet Technology staff. A technology committee
would be a good component of the district's technology integration.
Conclusion
Technology is not only able to help educators to give instruction, but should become a
part of every student's school day, as this is the media that will dominant many students’
futures. Some examples of technology have been reviewed for use in an educational
setting. Technological aides can support students with disabilities and fill a need in
disadvantaged schools. There are many technologies to be explored and yet created. A
school system should have input from many sources and a good understanding of
student and family needs when integrating technology into the district. With preparation
and planning, technology can help to broaden our classroom, and prepare students for
their future!

References:
Beal, V. (n.d.) WiFi. In Webopedia. Retrieved from
http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/W/Wi_Fi.html
Cookies89. (2012). New Assistive Technology for Dyslexia and ADH [Video file].
retrieved from http://www.teachertube.com/video/new-assistive-technology-for-dyslexia-
and-adh-247069
Junko, Y. & Ananou, S. (2015). Humanity In The Digital Age: Social, Cognitive, and
Ethical
Implications. Contemporary Educational Technology, 6,(1), 1-18. Retrieved from
http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.library.gcu.edu:2048/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=
8b76cc3d-1f9d-40c6-830a-84a7dabbf7fb%40sessionmgr111&vid=20&hid=114
Learning with interactive whiteboards [Video file]. (2009). In Films On Demand.
Retrieved September 25, 2015, from http://digital.films.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?aid=
12129&xtid=41131
Varley, D. (2007). Choosing a Technology Rich Classroom Design.  Retrieved from
http://technologyrichclassroom.blogspot.com/2007/07/wired-vs-wireless.html
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Technology to Support Communication
From the time that computing technology first became available for personal use,
education has become increasingly dependent on and benefits from its integration.
Technology has transformed the way people share ideas.
  Having a plan for use of technology in the classroom has become a priority for
educators. What was once handled with a note home or a phone call has become
increasingly difficult as class sizes increase. Family structures are different than in
previous generations, and meetings can be difficult to arrange, especially when it comes
to urgent or priority communications. This paper discusses some elements that can
enhance communications in the classroom, with parents, and with the local and global
communities where modern students interact.

Technologies that Enhance Communication
Interactive Video: There are many live video communication resources available
on the World Wide Web. Some well-known sources are Google Hangouts, OoVoo,
Facetime, and Skype. These platforms allow a user to connect with other individuals and
groups to share information.
This tool can connect classrooms studying the same topics to expand the student’s
cultural experiences and increase discussions, especially in rural areas, where peer
interaction can be limited. (Puhek, Perse, Perse, & Sorgo, 2013)  In communications
with parents, live video tools make it much easier to connect when varied schedules
would otherwise make meetings difficult. Videophones and videoconferencing can add a
global approach to learning by connecting a classroom with career experts, other
classes, and resources that would be too far for a field trip.
Cell phones and Instant Messaging: These tools hold the same purpose, which is
to quickly send a message to another person. Most cell phones include text messaging
capabilities, and social networks include instant messaging applications.
Many students have cell phones and these services allow for an easy, efficient way to
connect. Educators can send a text or instant message to remind students of upcoming
deadlines, assignments, and class details. Instructors can communicate with parents
using messaging to discuss virtually anything, such as illness, security, discipline issues,
and to send positive reinforcements that can increase parental involvement in education.
Many schools use group texting as a means to inform the local community about
upcoming school events and activities. 
Electronic newsletters or classroom webpage: Developing a classroom
newsletter or webpage is a great way to share classroom happenings. This resource can
provide invaluable information to keep students up to date, parents informed, and expand
the classroom outside of the walls!
Using a class webpage allows students access to lessons and homework information
beyond scheduled class times. This can be an important resource for students who need
additional time to process and absorb the information, or for students who are absent
from class. Parents can use an electronic newsletter to keep updated on school events,
or can access a webpage for common forms such as permission slips. The educational
and local community can access a class website for resources. Classes can be shared
across districts and regions, as any party with access can follow the educational process
and assignments.
Communication Networks: A communication access network (CAN) is a regional
form of networking.  CANs can be used for multi-site classes enabling an instructor to
address students in many locations simultaneously using broadband technology. Parents
are able to participate in their child’s education. This technology has been used for years
to provide general or specific interest classes to the public, and is similar to programs
such as GoToMeeting, and the many online education options. (Clayworth & White,
2015) 

Communication and Internet Security
In any form of communication, security and safety of information is a concern. Is the
message being interpreted correctly? Is it going to the correct recipient, and who else
may have access to it? All of these questions pertain to electronic communication as
well, and many people are timid to use technology because of these uncertainties. In
classroom technology and Internet use, protocols must be followed. Some security
precautions are addressed by the school, and can include monitoring of Internet usage,
technology training, secured servers, firewalls, and Acceptable Use Policies. (Gunter &
Gunter, 2014) Teachers can address security concerns as well by discussing computer
and Internet use with parents, integrating usage agreements, providing instruction, and
modeling appropriate use of technology and the Internet.

Concluding Paragraph   
     The ideas described above just scratch the surface of what technology can bring to a
classroom. Using tools such as live video, messaging, web pages, and communication
networks can bring new vibrancy to the life of education. Having a plan for classroom
technology use will enable efficient communication, provide additional resources to
expand the classroom experience, and broaden educational horizons.

References:
Clayworth, J., & White,R., (2015 April 19). Can Iowa Schools be Saved by High-Speed
Internet?. The Des Moines Register. Retrieved from
https://icn.iowa.gov/sites/default/files/articles/Can-Iowa-schools-be-saved-by-high-
speed-internet.pdf
Gunter, G., Gunter, R.(2014) Teachers Discovering Computers. Retrieved from
https://viewer.gcu.edu/R4MF8V
Puhek, M., Perse, M., Perse, T.V., Sorgo, A. (2013). Perceived Usability of Information
and
Communication Technology and Acceptance of Virtual Field Trips by Lower Secondary
Students, Undergraduate Students, and In-service Teachers. Journal of Baltic Science
Education, 12(6), 803-812. Retrieved from
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