Teaching to the Tech

Friend of the Internet, Kevin Hodgson shared out this post in which he reflects on the challenges and opportunities as his students prepare for some of the new, online state tests.
Hodgson notes:
There are also some questions where answer options can get dragged around the page, and I had few questions related to that (it wasn’t on the practice test), which makes me wonder how I might do some work with this (and think: paper cut-outs, perhaps, and manually manipulating chunks of text). I could only point them to the directions for the activity.
One of the biggest challenges, I think, is the planning of the longer essays and narrative stories. I teach graphic organizers all year long and my students work with them for pre-writing all year long. And they have blank paper to use for the test, for graphic organizers or notes.
I definitely agree with this assessment. In the work/development we conducted while researching at UConn, we (Greg and I) indicated the need for panels or sections in the online assessments. We need an interface that breaks up the information consumption space into several areas…like you see in video editing software. Have one panel for the main text that students read. Have a secondary panel or space for notes, annotations, copy/paste. And then a third space for the actual answer. Students can work the tool, as they work the system.
Obviously this is not how most people consume the Internet, but they should. And…this is not how the assessments are constructed…but they should be.

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