Monday, November 02, 2009

Better Assessment with Technology - The Shlenker School

One day last week I couldn’t teach my 5th grade class and my supervisor, Nancy Pryzant Picus, covered for me. The next day I received the following from her with the suggestion that I post it on the Avi Chai blog, as it describes her impressions of the way the students use the new technology and the changes it is making in their learning:

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed teaching your class the other day. What struck me, in particular, was how accustomed the students were to hearing and speaking Hebrew throughout the class—even talking amongst themselves. They addressed me in Hebrew (albeit, with occasional prodding) whenever they needed help, and made an effort, both orally and in writing, to communicate well in Hebrew.
I also noticed that the students were eager to use the MP3 players to record the answers to the comprehension questions you left for the story they had read. They clearly knew how to use them (evidence of your careful instruction), and were comfortable speaking. I know that you had also intended to use the MP3 players to differentiate instruction for your third and fourth grade classes, where the students are more heterogeneously mixed. As I recall, you were going to record different sets of questions for different students. I know that you were having some trouble getting the players to work properly—is that one goal that’s had to wait due to “technical difficulties?”
I know that one of the goals of your grant was to increase the children’s ability to express themselves orally in Hebrew. Although my experience is based on my memory of past years (rather than hard data), I believe you are well on your way to meeting that goal! Kol hakavod!

Nancy Pryzant Picus
Director of Jewish Learning

As for the difficulties we are having with the MP3 players – the function of listening to anything recorded is totally unreliable, so while I have plans to record assessment questions as described these plans are on hold for now. But the glass IS half full, and problems are there to be solved…

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