Making Thinking Visible with Digital Resources


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This is my presentation for the ACAMIS EAL conference at Shekou International School in Shenzhen, China in April 2013

As educators, we are constantly assessing our students’ understanding of their learning to inform instruction and evaluation. When we can see and hear how they are processing and making meaning of concepts and skills, we can provide more targeted instruction and support for their success. In this session we will explore ways teachers and students can use applications and web-based resources to demonstrate and document thinking and learning.

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Making Thinking Visible with Digital Resources

  1. 1. Making Thinking Visible with Digital ResourcesDiana BeaboutMS HumanitiesShekou International dianabeaboutBlog: BeaboutMS HumanitiesShekou International dianabeaboutBlog: ACAMIS EAL Spring ConferenceShekou International School(Shenzhen, China)April 19-21, 2013
  2. 2. Focus• As educators, we are constantly assessing ourstudents’ understanding of their learning to informinstruction and evaluation. When we can see andhear how our students are processing and makingmeaning of concepts and skills, we can providemore targeted instruction and support for theirsuccess. In this session we will explore wayteachers and students can us applications and web-based resources to demonstrate and documentthinking and learning.
  3. 3. AgendaBackgroundShare examples of student workTime to Explore/PlanShare outConsiderationsFeedback
  4. 4. Social Studies, Language Arts and ESL in the United States for 16 years.-2nd year at SIS-enrolled in COETAIL course-currently teaching MS Humanities-grade 6 students have been 1:1 ipads since December 2012 and grade 7 sinceApril 2013Making Thinking Visible:I drew the idea for the focus of this workshop from Andrew McCarthy at Learning2.012 in Beijing. In his workshop, Mr. McCarthy referenced the book MakingThinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, andIndependence for All Learners by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church, and KarinMorrison of Harvard’s Project Zero. I decided to focus on one of the corequestions of both the presentation and the book:“How can we document student thinking so that both teachersand students are better able to understand and develop it?”-students have to show us their thinking & learning so we can adjust instructionand provide targeted support-we’ve always done this, with or without digital tools-I will share some examples of how I’ve used a few apps and online resourcesfor informal assessment of students (individuals and classes)
  5. 5. SKITCHA photo annotating appTask: After a study of the influences of ancient Roman culture on modern life,students were asked to take two photos (with their iPad) of examples of Romancultural influences in their homes and communities. Then annotate the photo usingSkitch including the following information: location of photo, description of photo,how item is related to ancient Roman culture.*I used this task to assess students’ ability to apply to information to a real-worldexample.Skitch is available for the following platforms:•iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch•Mac OSX•Android•Windows Desktop•Windows 8
  6. 6. Educreationsrecordable interactivewhiteboard appTask: As we were studying factors that effect the spread of beliefs and ideas(‘grows’ & ‘slows’), students were give 30 minutes to find two images (one torepresent a ‘grow’ and one to represent a ‘slow’) and use Educreations topresent the two images with an explanation of how they represented theconcept.*I used this informal assessment to assess how well students could explainthe concept in their own words.Note: There is no ability to re-record audio without starting over.Alternative AppsShow Me (free)Screen Chomp (free)Explain Everything (paid)iPad appalso web-based
  7. 7. Educreationsrecordable interactive whiteboard appExample 1: From herpresentation, I couldassess that this studenthad a good grasp of theconcept as she explainedboth slides thoroughly inher own words.VIDEO AVAILABLE ONNEXT SLIDE
  8. 8. Educreationsrecordable interactive whiteboard appExample 2: This studentexplained choice ofimages and hisexplanations alsodemonstrated he has agood grasp of theconcepts. However, Inoticed he used a fewwords incorrectly(assassination andabandon).VIDEO AVAILABLE ONNEXT SLIDE
  9. 9. Educreationsrecordable interactive whiteboard appExample 3: Although theimages and explanationsillustrated the concept,this student just repeatedexamples used in class(as we studied Christianityin Ancient Rome). Hewould need to apply theconcept in a different wayfor me to feel confident inhis understanding of it.VIDEO AVAILABLE ONNEXT SLIDE
  10. 10. Popplet*An interactive graphicorganizer*Available as an app oniPad (Lite version isfree/Paid version isUS$4.99)*Web based version alsoavailable. ( have students do brainstorming or organization of ideason popplet so I can assess their organization and thoughtprocess and where there might be gaps.
  11. 11. Padlet ( about Big 6 Research Rubric known as Wall Wisher, Padlet is basically ‘digital paper’where ‘digital sticky notes’ can be posted. A wall is created and then a link can beshared with participants. In addition to text, links and files can also be added to a ‘stickynote’.Update: Padlet recently introduced a new format called “Streams” where ‘sticky notes’are posted chronologically.After going over the rubric for an upcoming project, students postedquestions and concerns on this ‘padlet’. They did not have to put theirname on their ‘post’ so students would feel comfortable posting theirquestions. I was then able to go in and sort the ‘posts’ and see whatstudents needed further support and instruction in. I noticed a lot ofquestions about vocabulary in the rubric and some instructions thatneeded to be clarified.
  12. 12. Socrativestudent response systemFree Teacher app and Student app for iPadWeb based version ( use Socrative tocreate short quizzes,polls and exit tickets.Results areimmediate and gointo a spread sheetfor further analysis ofgroup and individualneeds.There is also anoption for ‘liveresults’ that can bedisplayed to the class(without identifyingindividual students).
  13. 13. EXPLOREHow could I use one of these appsor resource to demonstrate anddocument student thinking andlearning in my classroom?
  14. 14. ConsiderationsWhen to use?When would it be beneficial to use any of theseapps &/or online resources?Workflow?How will I collect student products? (besides email)Shared Devices?How could I use any of these apps &/or onlineresources in a shared device setting?
  15. 15. THANK YOU!