It has been said that a lesson has gone well when the students have learnt. It seems useful then to broaden our ideas of what could constitute assessment of students’ learning.
In a section on finding out what students are thinking in their book Strategies that Work, Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis listed some great ideas to consider:
- We listen to kids.
- We read kids’ work.
- We confer with kids.
- We listen in on conversations.
- We observe behaviour and expressions.
- We chart responses.
- We keep anecdotal records of conferences and conversations.
- We script what kids say, recording their comments and questions.
While they were writing in the context of teaching reading comprehension, I think that we could use similar strategies to generally offer us a sense of the effectiveness of a lesson. With regards to technology, these strategies might help us steer towards a more sophisticated use of technology to enhance learning. This seems to be especially important in not being too contented with just the novelty factor of using an app or a new device. In the midst of the excitement, if we are able to tune-in to what the students are thinking, we will be more aware of what learning is actually taking place.