Formative assessment provides a snapshot of student comprehension and needs, giving teachers invaluable information needed to guide their students to success. This type of assessment allows the teacher to track the achievement of each student, give them feedback along the learning process, and adjust instruction to meet each student’s immediate needs (Smith, 2007). Using technology in the classroom to obtain this information just became easier. The Answer Pad allows teachers to gain real-time insight into their students progress through an interactive feature available through their website or mobile app.
The Answer Pad presents itself as a student response system and a grading solution. The student response system feature is the perfect tool for providing formative assessment with immediate feedback. The ‘quick connect’ interactive feature gives teacher the option to set up an online “room” to view student responses. Students easily participate with a ‘connect code’ unique to each room that can be accessed online or through the mobile app. A variety of questions and problems can be utilized and sent to students to illicit a response, from multiple choice to drawing. The teacher dashboard displays each student’s response board and includes an option to give individual feedback. Students will only see their work and feedback while using The Answer Pad.
Teachers are able to view each student’s progress quickly in The Answer Pad. By having this visual display of work on one screen, the teacher is able to see that each student is participating and if they are in need of guidance. This is certainly a better option than walking around the classroom trying to view each student individually while others sit and wait for assessment. This format allows for a smoother flow during the class time and enables the teacher to provide direct and immediate feedback to each student through The Answer Pad system. Students receiving guidance through feedback when needed encourages them to stay engaged and on task with less chance of distraction (Light & Pierson, 2014). This helps fulfill the International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE) Standards for Students of become empowered learners where they seek feedback to improve their work and demonstrate their learning (ISTE Standards for Students, 2016).
Student work can be saved through the “capture” feature enabling teachers to view progress throughout the course. This save feature provides teachers an opportunity to self-assess their instruction as well. Looking at the students work as a whole instantly gives the teacher a snapshot to evaluate the lesson they’ve given. This encourages differentiated and individualized instruction to occur continuously. Whether during the class time or at a later date, teachers can determine any adjustments needed in their lesson in order to increase student comprehension. This added benefit from The Answer Pad meets the ISTE Standards for Educators of being an analyst and using data to drive their instruction (ISTE Standards for Teachers, 2016).
Using the answer sheets function in The Answer Pad, teachers can tag quiz/test questions to correspond to standards (Common Core, etc.) and view results in a variety of reports. Detailed and analysis reports by group or individual are displayed after assigned quizzes/tests are completed. These reports coupled with the formative assessment obtained in the ‘quick connect’ mode provide priceless information for teachers to adjust their instruction to best fit their students needs.
As an assessment tool, The Answer Pad provides a variety of information to aid the teacher in improving instruction. However, creative instruction and planning are needed to push this tool to meet more of the ISTE Standards for Students. Similar to other ed tech tools on the market, The Answer Pad on its own does not directly present opportunities for collaboration or innovation. Directing students to create their own “teacher” account can lead to assignments where they develop their own material to have classmates respond to. This provides a space for students to demonstrate and share their knowledge further satisfying the ISTE Standards for Students of empowered learner, knowledge constructor, and creative communicator.
The Answer Pad scores high on engagement and enhancement using the Triple E Framework rubric used for evaluating a technology tool’s ability to meet learning goals and positively influence the learner’s achievement (Kolb, n.d.). This rubric, centered on engagement in learning, enhancement of learning goals, and extending learning goals, questions if the technology tool allows the student to demonstrate their comprehension in ways not provided through traditional means. The Answer Pad does not score well on extending the learning goals even with creative lesson planning. Creating opportunities for students to learn outside the classroom and connect with everyday life experiences should be considered by developers in order to provide a more rigorous platform for learning.
The Answer Pad presents as available to use with classes free of charge, but many features are only available with the upgrade at just under $10 for the year. This extremely affordable upgrade is highly recommended to fully unlock all the features including many pre-made interactive templates to use in the ‘quick connect’ mode. Overall, The Answer Pad does a good job engaging the learner and enhancing the learning goals. As a formative assessment tool and immediate feedback option, I highly recommend you explore The Answer Pad.
International Society for Technology in Education. (2016) ISTE Standards for Students. Retrieved February 13, 2019, from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-educators
International Society for Technology in Education. (2016) ISTE Standards for Students. Retrieved January 23, 2019, from http://www.iste.org/standards/for-students
Kolb, L. (n.d.). Triple E Framework. Retrieved January 22, 2019, from https://www.tripleeframework.com
Light, D., & Pierson, E. (2014). Increasing Student Engagement in Math: The Use of Khan Academy in Chilean Classrooms. International Journal of Education & Development Using Information & Communication Technology, 10(2), 103–119.
Smith, G. (2007). How Does Student Performance on Formative Assessments Relate to Learning Assessed by Exams? Journal of College Science Teaching, 36(7), 28–34.
The Answer Pad. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2019, from www.theanswerpad.com