Cool Tool | MasteryConnect

CREDIT MasteryConnect Mastery TrackerA market leader in competency-based learning for K-12, this platform empowers teachers in their move to mastery learning helping them to more easily identify student levels of understanding in real time against any set of standards. It targets students for intervention and enrichment, and drives instruction with real-time data — and all of this, to personalize learning and fuel student learning outcomes. It’s MasteryConnect, and the heart of the learning platform lies in what’s called Mastery Tracker. “Trackers” provide an intuitive, visual way to track student mastery of standards, while providing robust features such as curriculum mapping and standards-aligned item banks, to make planning, measuring, and reporting simpler. As part of the MasteryConnect platform, Socrative is an intra-instruction tool that provides a way for teachers to administer formative assessments in the moment. MasteryConnect supports teachers via its cloud-based platform, including Socrative.com, as well as through numerous apps on all web-enabled devices. The company is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. Learn more.

Posted in cool tools | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cool Tool | Evaluate from Catapult Learning

CREDIT Catapult Learning EvaluateCatapult Learning’s Evaluate™ system is a robust next-gen assessment tool. Through a combination of web-based formative reading and math assessments and superior reporting and analysis tools, Evaluate engages students in their own learning, guides teachers as they target instruction, and allows administrators to identify instructional areas in need of additional resources and support. Formerly a tool for grades 2-12, it has now added an interface appropriate for emergent readers in K-1st grade. The tablet- and touch-screen-compatible system features a simple, intuitive platform with a graphical log-in process, rich graphical multiple choice items, and human-voice-recorded audio prompts to enhance comprehension. Teachers and leaders have access to frequent and fast actionable reports and real-time feedback that yield immediate academic impact. The Evaluate team is always on the cutting edge, adding improvements and features to keep the system ahead of the pack. Learn more.

Posted in cool tools | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Cool Tool | Illuminate DnA

CREDIT Illuminate Ed DnAThere’s no question that looking at data helps inform instructional practice. But, too often, the data teachers need is either too difficult to collect and access—or too overwhelming to interpret effectively. Illuminate Education’s Data and Assessment (DnA) system was built from an educator perspective featuring tools making the data actionable so that teachers can spend more time instructing and less time data mining.

  • Formative and summative assessments can be developed and administered online/on paper with instant reporting.
  • Assessment data and assignments can be collected and calculated in either a points-based gradebook or standards-based gradebook that can feed directly into report cards.
  • A powerful custom reporting engine gives users access to assessment and demographic data to not only inform instruction, but to also look at the whole child including social emotional data and perception data.
  • Early warning system tools are available to identify students for intervention and monitored over time utilizing the RtI/MTSS module.
  • Blending learning and flipped classroom is supported through built-in wrap around instructional services in the portal where students receive immediate feedback on their performance, identify strengths and areas for improvement, and have access to standards-based instructional resources to remediate and accelerate student learning.

Learn more.

Posted in cool tools | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Declaring War on Paper

Before democratizing education, using edtech for an even more basic task.

GUEST COLUMN | by Johan Hagglund

CREDIT DigiExamMost people have come to think about edtech as expanding the reach of education— democratizing it. Or using technology to adjust to leaning or teaching styles or making better teaching resources more available through engaging content, personalized leaning and collaboration.

And while edtech is all those things, the edtech revolution has yet to even capture the most basic element of the digital revolution— the banishment of paper. Decades into the technological remake of education, and after billions of dollars of investment, students and schools still run on paper.

Paper is the epitome of inefficiency. It’s been outdated in publishing for more than a decade. The Kindle is in; hardcover books are out. Digital has all but banished things such as writing an actual, physical check, for example. Even if you get a physical check today, you can deposit it on your smartphone – no paper deposit slip.

Before we can fully embrace the value that edtech can bring to the classroom and improve how we inspire, engage and encourage students to learn, we have to banish the anachronism of paper.

Yet, today, teacher Smith will tell student Alice to get out some paper for a quiz and college teaching assistants will pass around those little blue booklets where students write their answers. That’s as outdated as the manual typewriter or having a set of encyclopedias in every classroom. And for those who follow, invest in, design or use edtech, it begs the question—How can edtech revolutionize teaching and learning and democratize education when it can’t even conquer paper?

We can’t. Before we can fully embrace the value that edtech can bring to the classroom and improve how we inspire, engage and encourage students to learn, we have to banish the anachronism of paper.

That means moving to digital testing. If student are, at some point, going to be learning exclusively on digital ‘text’ books, we should be testing exclusively on digital as well. Like nearly everything digital, digital exams are faster, more secure, and more efficient for both students and teachers. The tests are faster to grade, the student work is anonymous – freeing teachers and students from the perceptions or realities of expectation bias and the results are easier to share. It’s better for the environment too.

Yet somehow, in the midst of what we think of as an edtech revolution, we’re content to have students write down their answers by hand and pass them forward and we expect a teacher to lug them around and grade each one, by hand, with a pen. To our collective tech embarrassment, nothing in that process has changed since 1990, or 1970, or 1950.

As edtech goes, digital testing is the easy A. Because of what tech has done to paper in other areas, getting it out of our classrooms should be the easiest hill to climb, so to speak. It will not only accelerate a wider adoption of classroom and teaching technology, it will necessitate it. Once all testing is digital, there will be no reason not to teach that way, too.

Like many edtech innovations, the transition to digital exams has already begun. Because it’s less expensive and more efficient, the growth has been rapid. The question we’re asking now is—How long will a complete move to digital testing take? The question we’ll be asking in ten years is—What took so long? 

Johan Hagglund is CEO and cofounder of award-winning DigiExam, a leader in secure end-to-end digital assessment and grading platform.

Posted in guest column | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cool Tool | CoCubes

CREDIT CoCubes IndiaIf there are any lessons to learn about technology platforms for hiring and assessment, you might look to CoCubes, India’s largest assessment and hiring platform. They run assessments to measure employability across all domains, from programming to plumbing. They work with 750-plus corporate clients to execute entry level and lateral assessments and have access to more than a million candidates through their platform. They run one million-plus assessments each year in more than 250 cities, everyday helping their corporate clients reduce interview bandwidth using their central assessment platform, helping their institutional clients measure and improve employability, and helping candidates move ahead on their career path. Their vision: to ensure that everyone in India gets an equal opportunity to build a career. They are visionaries in this space, with a strong growth trajectory, and even greater potential. Learn more.

Posted in cool tools | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment