Social Media Experiment: Day 5 – True Formative Assessment Begins!

Today’s update is all about formative assessment.  If you recall, when we started this experiment we wanted to integrate Dr. Sousa’s research about primacy-recency, formative assessment, and social media for learning.

Over the weekend @fnoschese tweeted:

We take this a positive formative assessment.  We have others, @Deacs84 and @mmhoward, tweeting encouragement and interest.  I don’t know @fnoschese other than he is a friend and colleague of @burkphysics1. We are learning together; playing together; communicating together.

From The Falconer: What we wish we had learned in schools, by our friend Grant Lichtman, we know that “Questions are waypoints on the path of wisdom.” (p. 35)

This week we hope to gain more information with our formative assessment.  We added a prompt to the quick write for our learners.  We now ask our learners to respond to

• I have learned…
• My question is…

My learners made me tweet twice at the 20 minute mark in Algebra I.  They were consistent as a whole group about what they learned, but their questions were split into to categories.

“We have learned to use spreadsheets and formulas for exponential growth. Our questions: Where does the exponent come from?”

“Learned to use spreadsheets and formulas for exponential growth. Our questions: Which is more efficient, spreadsheet or formula?”

I did not anticipate these questions.  Isn’t it great to know and answer our learners questions in real time rather than the next day or never?

Later in the day @epdobbs tweeted with her learners

“How do you find the mood more easily? What are subbordinating conjunctions? Are these all the uses of commas?”

“I am going to answer these questions rather than move on, tomorrow. Yikes! My best laid plans aft gang aglay!”

In Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards Through Classroom Assessment Black and Wiliam say

For assessment to function formatively, the results have to be used to adjust teaching and learning; thus a significant aspect of any program will be the ways in which teachers make these adjustments.”

True formative assessment informs and causes shifts in planning, teaching, learning, and experiences.  I immediately answered all of my learners questions; I had their undivided attention, and they asked more questions.  @epdobbs had the same experience in English as I had in algebra.  We cannot move on if they have questions, if they have not learned.  Progress!

Learners working with @sgough are now tweeting with him.   How great for a teacher to read during the learning experience a tweet like the ones from @chrisreagan and @andrewwebb

“quick poll works! mass confusion ends with 100% accuracy” @chrisreagan

“everyone in the class might finally understand what a function is” @andrewwebb25

How great for our learners to read that their teacher sees their improvement.

“still trouble with tns file, better at diff ram methods, function notation improved”  @swgough

You can also read about the 4th Period PLC’s learning about social media in the series of tweets below.  As we learn together, we become more confident using the technology, implementing the primacy-recency practitioner’s corner, and trying a different type of formative assessment.

Today, there were over 80 tweets from 19 faculty members and 7 students that we know of.  Some of our students have protected their tweets and two of our colleagues are still struggling to have their tweets appear when we search on our hashtag.

About my goals for the week:

• Our numbers are increasing so I can check that goal off my list.
• @joeschmo81 has tweeted twice now, one more either @bcgymdad and @DownSouth300.  I have high hopes for more, but I’m not checking it as a success… yet.
• Formative assessment of learning in a non-graded setting will impact classroom activities, planning, communication, confidence, and learning.  @epdobbs and I have crossed this mark.  Have others? Will others soon?
• We want to have more tweets from our current team as well as tweets from others. I think we are making progress here too, but I’m greedy.  I want more.
• There will be more pictures and less “eggs” (the default Twitter gravatar). There are more pictures and more eggs.  More new users are arriving; we’ve got to get rid of all those eggs!
• More of our tweeters will understand the language of twitter. We are having a mini-lesson tomorrow before school on how and when to use @, #, RT, and HT.

It’s only Monday.  I thought my goals for this week were lofty.  I think my success now hangs on how many more of my colleagues will actually read the chapter on primacy-recency.  We’ll see…

As always, you can follow our work on Twitter.  Here is a sample of the tweets from today.

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