Starting to Feel Smarter AND Balanced
Type of Technology: iPAD
SAMR Model Rating: Augmentation/Modification
Grade Level: K-6th
Subject Area: Math
When preparing my students for the upcoming Smarter Balanced Assessment, there have been many mixed feelings. Will they be ready? How can I make sure they will be fully prepared in all subject matters? Will the technology work? In order to ease my mind, and the minds of my students, I decided to start with Math…something my class seems to be struggling most with this year. I asked my students: What makes you nervous about this test? What do you think you are most prepared for? Most of their responses were they were nervous that their iPADS and that the technology wouldn’t work correctly. I was surprised, because as their teacher who uses technology with them daily, I had many other concerns.
In order to insure that they would feel comfortable, our principal set up a 30-minute time slot where a technology expert would come and help prepare the students for this assessment. They have practiced with all the different tools, have practiced typing long responses using keyboards, and have done practice assessments from the Smarter Balanced website. This has been an extremely beneficial 30 minutes, once a week. I know we are all strapped for time, but my students are more comfortable with knowing how to just use the system, which takes some of the stress away from them. Who would have thought? I sure didn’t!
For me, I still want to make sure they are comfortable with the material as well. For Math, I set them up in groups I called “Smarter AND Balanced” where they meet with their team and practice once or twice a week on problems or performance tasks that I have pulled from multiple sources. I level their groups, to help them best be successful. However, they do not know this.
For most tasks, they are able to work in groups, however, some are independent. It has really helped build their confidence in their work, being able to discuss and work as a team, using their iPADS, to explain their work. Why they did what they did. What new ways they have discovered. It has been another way to boost their confidence.
They look forward to when we break up into these groups because they feel they are “prepared for what is to come,” as one student told me.
Instead of feeling not so smart and unbalanced, there have been multiple ways technology has made them feeling smarter and pretty balanced.