Join Kevin Kelly for an in-depth discussion in this video Assessing lab work, part of Teaching with Technology.
- In the chapters about using technology for assessment, most of my comments and strategies have been for the physical or virtual classroom. For a moment, let's look at how we might use technology for assessment in a lab setting. I'll start with a brief bit on tablets, then I'll jump into technology strategies to use before, during, and after a lab. Many of the suggestions in this movie will involve tablets, because, let's face it, tablets are handy in a lab setting. They're easier to carry around than a laptop, capture both photos and video, and have bigger screens than smartphones.
Most tablets offer options for writing or drawing with a fingertip or stylus, as well as typing on the screen or a keyboard. They can save paper, and prepare students for professional work environments in your field. Your institution may have a tablet check-out program, or your students are in a campus-wide or program-level tablet initiative. If you have a limited number of tablets, they can be mounted permanently or magnetically at different stations, or students can share them. If you're worried about bringing tablets into the lab, there are inexpensive covers to protect tablets from water or chemicals.
Some classes use large Ziplock bags. In another movie related to assessment, I covered digital quizzes and exams. For a lab, you can ask students to answer pre-lab questions using the same techniques, or specialized apps. You can also share lab protocols and instructions via video, templates, and virtual labs. You have probably heard of flipping the classroom, but you can also flip the lab experience, too. Ask students to watch video of you giving directions or going through the lab before arriving in the lab.
This can free up extra time for students to finish the lab, itself. You can also ask students to go through our our virtual lab experience or simulation first, to strengthen their understanding of what's supposed to happen. Provide a lab template for students to download and complete to structure the process. Once they get to the lab, students can record their work as they go through lab stations or a single experiment, combining any number of tools. Lab students can fill in downloaded templates with data from experiments, create electronic lab notebooks with Evernote or OneNote, take digital photos on their mobile device, and annotate them with apps like Skitch or PhotoPen, or voice annotate them with apps like Shuttersong, and record video of themselves at lab stations.
Students can use lab timer apps to keep track of experiments. Some of those apps offer notebooks, too. Teachers, lab assistants, or internship supervisors record work and in observation logs. Similar to the actions students can take, observers might complete an observation log template, make notes on a checklist, or take photos or record video of students performing skills. After the lab, you can ask students to answer post-lab questions using digital quiz tools. That's easy enough. They can also put together their final lab reports and upload them to Box, Dropbox, their ePortfolio, or your learning management system's assignment tool.
Whatever your discipline, technology can support or enhance assessment in the lab environment. The article, "iPads in the Science Laboratory" by Tiffany Hesser and Pauline Schwartz gives lots of great tips for chemistry teachers. Before reviewing the next movie, take a minute to answer the following question for yourself: How do you want to use technology for assessment before, during, and after the students' lab experience?
Author Kevin Kelly explains how learning outcomes can be adapted to support technology in the classroom, and guides educators through selecting the appropriate technology for their activity, module, or class. Then he shows how to apply technology in three key areas: finding, creating, and sharing content with students; facilitating classroom activities; and assessing learning inside the classroom or online.
- Including technology in your learning outcomes
- Applying Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles
- Finding and creating content and instructional materials
- Enhancing lectures and presentations with technology
- Getting students involved
- Facilitating in-class activities
- Assessing learning
- Teaching effectively online