We need to be able to check for student understanding.

Students could tell us rather than us guessing.

This is a worldwide studied issue.

There are some solutions.

These are what we have talked about in the last few weeks. Now we want to look at a targeted solution. Building from other solutions to sketch out a tool that will be most effective at allowing teachers to understand where their students learning is at.

Last week we examined 3 established solutions. Thumbs, Clickers and GoSoapBox’s Confusion Barometer. The common theme of potential improvement throughout these was that we could go deeper. We could offer students more options to provide feedback on and more of a range to articulate their understanding. The common themes of success were ease and speed of use. Suggesting that any solutions needs to be un-obtrusive and simple to use.

The solution? ‘Understanding sliders’ linked to class learning goals and assignments. Meaning that students would be able to move a slider to indicate how well they understand each of the days learning goals. Students would be able to update this as they go, and it would be kept anonymous from their peers. Fulfilling needs of speed of use and anonymity to ensure more accurate student responses. The data from students would be fed directly to a teacher who would be able to see trends in student understanding and what students need help.

Further from this students would also be able to move sliders to let the teacher know how well they understand their assessment items. This would help teachers to know how much explanation is required of class tasks so that students are given the best opportunities to succeed.

Access to this tool could be through either an app on student devices, logging onto a website at the beginning of classes if using school devices or finally potentially having software embedded into either school devices so that it is on screen or into a school website such as blackboard. The students would then open a tab that would have listed the learning objectives for the day, and from there they could report on their understanding as the class and term progresses. Ideally the technology should be available for use on a number of platforms so that it can be used with school and personal devices or across a range of technology devices.

The collated data would help the teacher find what methods work best for improving student understanding and provide a snapshot of what material may need revision come the end of the semester.

This is the bones of what I think could be a major step forward for checking for student understanding. I would invite readers to look at the potential picture of the interface and suggest names and improvements that may further develop the concept.

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