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interview with suzi: insider’s view of using technology & formative assessment

Interviewer (I): What is your view on technology and its relationship with formative assessment?


Classroom Teacher (C.T): Technology can be a wonderful tool for formative assessment. I use it for small tasks and also use if for two big ‘project’ each year.


I: Are you able to provide an example of the ways you use technology for these formative assessments?


C.T: I have many examples!! One example I can provide is this; I set up ‘chat-rooms’, forums and wikis in the middle to end of term one, where students are required, or ‘expected’, to make comments on lessons, learning activities and on general class events.


I: What do you see as one of the benefits of using technology for formative assessment within the classroom?


C.T: The beauty of the E-learning environment is that all students can engage, giving their ideas and opinions, without having to wait their turn to speak as you would in a real-life discussion. Students can engage with each other more comfortably online than in real-life, allowing for all students to engage and give their opinions. Engaging and inclusive education has been, and will continue to be, an essential aspect of education, however, due to the boom in technology, it has been able to be put into practice more readily as all students can now be included, including the quiet, introverted and shy students.


I: What has been the most interesting thing you have been apart of, introduced, or seen in regards to technology and formative assessment?


C.T: As a matter of fact, I have!! Last year, I was involved in a ‘technology-project’ through MacICT. Within this, my class used trans-media to create a website, which expanded their understanding of the novel we were reading. In small groups (4 students maximum), the students created responses to the ideas in the book. For example, students made a movie, comic, flipbook or a quiz that related to a concept within the novel. These products were amazing, however, the most delightful and surprising aspect of the task was the amount and quality of feedback the students gave each other and received from their audience! The students’ work is available online for them to review as well. 


I: That sounds incredible! How did the students do this and how did they respond to it?


C.T: Students were encouraged to make specific evaluative comments on the elements of others, and/or add their own interpretation of the element question, thus allowing the sharing, ever-living nature of the story to continue. This provided me with a lot of information about the students’ learning!


I: Are you able to tell me a little about your class wiki at all?


C.T: Of course! I usually set a class wiki at the beginning of Term Two, where students engage in tasks in an online environment. Often times the task is to “add a comment” reflecting on the information from a website, game or activity, or sometimes an idea or concept. The comments they add give me information about what they have learnt about the content, but also their own learning. I also participate in these forums! It allows them to ask me questions and engage in academic conversation, and it is now part of the Australian Curriculum (Objective E in the new Syllabus).


I: So these are your formative assessment?


C.T: Yes. I use wikis and the work I do with technology in the classroom and homework tasks for formative assessments, however, I use the bigger projects as summative.


I: Do you use technology for any other educational purposes in regards to formative assessment?


C.T: I use programs such as StudyLadder, Reading Eggs and Mathletics to access data about student performance. It is extremely useful formative assessment, and I would always recommend it!





part a: my personal learning about formative assessment & technology

Ponder this: Your doctor tells you that they have all new medical technologies available to make you better and heal, but does not believe in using technology. Instead the doctor will use an ancient piece of medical equipment. Would you feel comfortable? Imagine a similar situation with a classroom teacher.

This idea was posed by my lecturer upon beginning a course named “ICT in Primary Education: current issues and applications” at the beginning of 2014. Through this course, I was exposed and enlightened on ICT and how to effectively use it within the classroom to enhance student learning. Through participating in this enriching course, I was able to further investigate current issues that affected education and the use of technologies. One topic that seized my attention was that of how to use formative assessment and technology affectively to better student learning.

This issue resonated with me greatly, as technology should not be used to substitute learning that can be done on pen and paper. It must value-add to a learning task, extending the range of knowledge, skills and cognitive processes that occur within a classroom (CTB, McGraw, 2008). The importance of value-adding, and using technology to improve the educational outcome of students was emphasised when being exposed to the SAMR Model (Puentedura, 2014). The SAMR Model is very interesting (which can be further seen through this YouTube Clip), and has greatly affected my teaching, as I have, and will continue, to consider it when planning lessons and activities. 

My thoughts on formative assessment and technology were advanced when this model was introduced, as its aims are to support teachers in designing, developing and integrating learning technologies to support high levels of learning (QLD Government, 2013). Formative assessment enables student learning to be boosted and to progress, so by using technology appropriately and effectively, student learning can improve further. Using technology for formative assessment will allow teachers to swiftly apply information gained from these assessments to student learning, allowing for activities to be altered, differentiated and to provide further assistance to those who require it. NSW Board of Studies (2014) supports this, highlighting the need for students to engage in learning that indicates their strengths and needs, and allows them to receive immediate, constructive feedback on how to use their strengths and work on their needs.


Prior to beginning this course, I was the doctor in the above scenario. I did not agree with using technology constantly within a classroom. I was under the impression that technology was used to replace not add to classroom activities and learning. After this course, I have realised how wrong I was. This pre-conception came from my professional experience placements, as all my cooperating teachers used technology to replace, not add. All except one. I had one cooperating teacher who used technology as another learning avenue. He would have his students use technology, such as the SMARTboard, to engage in learning activities that produced data, enabling him to see their progression, their strengths and needs in regards to these topics and then able to act on these results swiftly (Curtis, 2013). An example of these activities is “Reading Eggs”, a program that makes reading engaging with fun and interactive activities, I now see technology as an extremely advantageous tool for unlocking multiple learning opportunities, some which would never have been possible without technology.

Specific examples of how teachers are able to use technology to better formative assessment include Socrative and Go-Animate, where students can use their creative skills to further develop their understanding and knowledge of a topic. Technologies, such as Google-Docs and Google-Drive, I found that teachers are able to help students improve immediately. This has a greater impact on the student’s learning, as they are able to receive real-time feedback, and understand how to alter their learning to keep in-line with stated outcomes (SETDA, 2008). Using communication technologies, such as Skype and e-Pals connects students with students, educators and specialists from across the globe, giving them further opportunities to gain inside knowledge on topics and further understand cultures and learn more about the world through practical engagement, rather than from a textbook or second-hand knowledge or experiences. 

Using these programs within a classroom will enhance the learning of a student, as they’re able to gain immediate and concurrent feedback on their learning. Students are able to work towards learning outcomes more successfully as they have an understanding of their strengths and needs and can receive assistance for these (Curtis, 2013). These programs, as well as online blogging sites such as Wikis allow for students to interact with each other in a safe environment, where they can express themselves freely (with teacher supervision, of course), especially those who are shy and find it challenging to express their thoughts in verbally in a classroom (Norris, 2014). Using technology for formative assessment allows teachers to gain a deeper understanding of how their students work and where they are at in regards to the curriculum, their peers and with their own progress. From seeing how technology aided my cooperating teacher when using “Reading Eggs”, this idea was proven successful. 


Through talking with a practicing teacher, my understanding of the benefits gained from using technology for formative assessment has heightened. This teacher, along with classes for this course, has shown me how to use technology to better ones teaching and the learning of students. She used Wikis and Story-Web to engage in formative assessment, as well as designing ways to further enhance her students’ learning. Technology opens up a brand-new door for student engagement and classroom management, as well as allowing teachers to swiftly access student data to improve instruction and overall learning of students. This teacher also used technology to allow students to become more engaged in their learning. The interview with her is here


Through this course, I was exposed to more and more technologies to aid my teaching and my future students learning. I was so pleased with all this exposure; it will improve my teaching immensely. Using technology for formative assessment was, again, highlighted during a class where our lecturer showed us a TED-talks stream. This clip only highlighted the importance of technology. Mr. Ramsey Musallam stated that “technology does not have to be mind blowing, but it has to be purposeful”. It needs to extend students, and this clip reinforced my new beliefs on technology, especially for formative assessment.


Through investigating, using a Personal Learning Network, the use of formative assessment and technology, my understanding of its importance has increased significantly. Technology cannot substitute; it must add to a learning task. Students must be able to engage with something that will alter their thinking, encourage them to ask questions, inspire them to partake in further research, and to then want to do more. By having instant access to students’ work and products of activities, teachers are able to improve their instruction, extend those who require challenges and assist those who require further help. It allows for differentiation to occur and for teachers to completely know their students’ knowledge and understanding of topics.

“When technology is integrated into school lessons, learners are more likely to be interested in, focused on, and excited about [learning]” (Huneycutt, 2013).

My Final Culminating Statement…

Teaching is all about inspiring, engaging and empowering our children and young people”.

This underpins teaching. Teachers must use their skills and resources available to inspire, engage and empower their students to face society, and I feel technology allows for this to happen.

My original thought of technology was that it only involved word documents, PowerPoint presentations and Internet searches. I had never considered the uses in which this subject had exposed me to. I was not an avid technology supporter, however I believe my opinion has been shifted.

I feel that school communities have developed as classes have created “Class-Homepages” to engage parents in their child’s schooling, which can be seen within Oldfield Brow Primary School. Students are now able to interact through creating their own blogs and class blogs, where students can discuss personal interests and beliefs on intellectual topics. When using blogs, teachers must be vigilant and teach their students about Cyber-bullying and Cyber-Safety, which can be supported by the Governments Cyber-Smart website. Teachers should engage in blogs, and teach of Cyber-Safety, and take that step into the technology world, as a peer stated that it would enhance the students learning.

Technology can be used in many forms within the classroom, such as through the Internet, Interactive Whiteboards and, now, mobile technology, such as i-Pads. Personally, I feel that I gained a lot from learning about these and what it enables teachers to do. The IWB is able to engage student on a practical level, and through experience, this certainly works. Higgens et al (2007) believes that technology should not be used as the focus of a lesson, but as an aspect, and I agree. I used the IWB whilst on Practicum through my Visual Arts lesson to engage the students as well as using it for a Drama lesson, which engage students before starting the focus of the lessons. My cooperating teacher also highlighted using the IWB through Mathematics videos as an introduction to new concepts. I was nervous about engaging in technology, but I feel that it needs to be done to assist our future students, which was supported by my peer.

I feel that students in K to 6 will benefit from using the Internet. Video Conferencing enables students to talk with experts from various fields, such as literacy, as students from twelve schools spoke to author Morris Gleitzman at once through video conferencing. I have learnt that students can engage in once in a lifetime experience. This is done through Live-Streaming. Students can have a personal experience with Polar Bears through National Geographic as well as being able to experience the rare Transit of Venus through the Sydney Observatory, all conducting Live-Streaming.

The newest technological advancement has been the i-Pad. I never thought that it could be used in schools. Reid & Ostashewski (2011) discuss the uses of i-Pads in the classroom, and even though I didn’t get the opportunity to experience i-Pads on practicum, using it during this subject has highlighted its benefit on student learning. I-Pads encourage collaborative learning as well as individual learning, which will benefit students as they are able to learn through different methods.

I always thought that I was able to use technology quite well. Having this skill, I feel, will benefit students as they are able to use the technology available to them as it will enhance teaching and students learning.

The largest impact on me through out this subject was the concept of the “Digital Divide”. As I have stated, technology will enhance education, but only if they have access to it. There is not equality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and I feel that as a pre-service teacher, closing this gap is a high priority. I feel very strongly about this, as seen from my blog-post, and feel localities should not be an issue when it comes to education. The blogger, uksuperiorpapers, highlighted that families in rural and remote areas do not always have Internet access, therefore, students cannot benefit from the gains made in technology. I would love to assist in ‘Closing the Gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian and rural and urban education, as I believe that education must be equal. Those who are passionate about teaching should assist those who have little education facilities and access to technology, as it will enhance their understanding of their surrounds.

Teaching s all about inspiring, engaging and empowering our children and young people. It is about making a difference to future generations.

I feel that with the gains made in technology, teachers should incorporate it into their teaching philosophy and lessons. Technology is new, and unnerving, however we must engage with it. As a pre-service teacher, I am yet to find my “pedagogical feet”, but I am pleased with the valuable information I have learnt and will be able to carry that onto teach the students of the future.







A school’s duty of care for students to whom it gives access to cyberspace: Data in (Content Regulation) and Data Out (Privacy). Retrieved May 25, 2012, from…/netsafepapers_grahambassett_duty.pdf


A Vision for 2020: Achieve Equity in Education. A Contribution to Public Discussion of the 2020 Summit Idea by Save our Schools – the national independent advocacy group. April 2008. Retrieved April 4, 2012, from:


Davis, A., &McGrail, E. (2011). The influence of classroom blogging on elementary student writing.Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 25(4) 415-437


Flickr (2012). Retrieved June 15, 2012, from:


Higgins, S., Beauchamp, G. & Miller, D. (2007). Reviewing the literature on interactive whiteboards. Learning, Media and Technology, 32(3), 213-225


McCrea, B. (2012). How to Bring Teachers Up to Speed with Technology. Retrieved May 15, 2012, from:


Miss Scheuer’s PE3 Blog: Relections on “The influence of classroom blogging on elementary student writing”. (2012). Retrieved March 15, 2012, from:


National Geographic. (2012). Animals: Polar Bear Cam. Retrieved April 12, 2012, from:


NSW Department of Education. (2011). Connecting Leaning in My Primary School. Retrieved May 20, 2012, from:


NSW Department of Education: Careers. (2012). Retrieved May 20, 2012, from:


Oldfield Brow Primary School: Year Five. (2012). Retrieved April 12, 2012, from:


Reid, D. &Ostashewski, N. (2011). iPads in the Classroom – New Technologies, Old Issues: Are they worth the effort?. In T. Bastiaens& M. Ebner (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2011 (pp. 1689-1694). Chesapeake, VA: AACE


Sydney Observatory: Watch a Live Stream of the Transit of Venus. (2012). Retreived June 6, 2012, from:



QR Coding?


This is an example of a QR Code

QR coding. Do you know what that is? I didn’t until I entered my final class for Professional Experience! According to Terrence O’Brien, a QR code is used for “encoding information in a two dimensional space“. QR Codes are unusual, and I have seen them throughout society, such as in the Real-Estate section of the local paper, accompanying advertisements on bus shelter’s and even on certain food packaging. 

Our tutor stated that these QR codes can be used extremely well within a classroom. How you ask? And how I asked too!
She stated that students have used them on orientation day to take tours of their ‘new school’. I found this fascinating, and I feel that students that are touring a school, no matter their age, will enjoy using QR codes to find their way through the school. It is engaging and involved technology, in which they have most likely been using from a young age.
After participating in an activity to create our own QR code (i-Phones or i-Pads were used for this exercise), I can see the benefit of the QR codes. We used it to create a ‘Treasure Hunt’ within the University and each QR code gave the participants directions to the next location and new QR code.
I am now able to see where these new technological codes can be used. It is able to be used in Mathematics to teach students of direction (steps, compass directions, left and right, in front, behind etc), it can be used within an literacy lesson to teach of language and to test skills (such as having a QR code for a word, then students are to find the definition, synonym, etc) and it could be used for randomisation, being that students could chose or be assigned a QR code and then discover their topic, image, equation etc to enable them to draw, right or problem solve answers. 

QR Codes can be created using Applications on the i-Phone and i-Pad, and I would highly recommend using this as a practical activity for students, as it will engage them in the lesson and develop a further love for learning and better understanding of technology.

Here is an example of a QR Code that was created within our class. It was created by two of my Peer’s and I believe it was the most successful in our class.

Curiosity killed the Cat= QR codes

Re-Visiting the ‘Response Card’

The ‘Response Card‘ was discussed in a post only a few days ago, however, I would like to draw on it again! It was used within all classes in the subject and it was interesting to see other’s opinions on it. 

I found the ‘Response Card’ to be an excellent tool to engage students in a lesson. I would use it to teach graphs within Mathematics as well as teaching about percentages. I may also use it in situations where anonymous voting is needed, such as the Student Representative for the class. However, I would not use this tool for a whole lesson. It would be an introductory tool to engage students and heighten the excitement of the lesson, as I would (most likely) be introducing something they have not used or ‘played with’. 

A peer supported me in believing that the ‘Response Card’ would be useful in engaging students and a “wonderful classroom activity“. When she states a ‘classroom activity’, I don’t know whether she means as an introductory tool, or to use it as the actual activity within the classroom. I asked her this question, and have not received a response yet. I will let you know if I do get a response! 
This blog post also supports my idea of using it in various ways. However, she thought of using it across all KLA’s, which had slipped my mind!!! Using it for English and to test a few basic skills (reading and listening) as well as using it as a culminating activity to see if students understand a topic are other great uses for the ‘Response Card’. 

i-Pad in the classroom?

I-Pads. Don’t we all wish we had one? They have so many benefits! 
The i-Pad is transportable with high quality images, they’re unobtrusive, flexible and can be integrated well into an educational setting.

Our reading this week (Reid, D. &Ostashewski, N. (2011). iPads in the Classroom – New Technologies, Old Issues: Are they worth the effort?. In T. Bastiaens& M. Ebner (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2011 (pp. 1689-1694). Chesapeake, VA: AACE) was a case study and discusses the introduction of i-Pad’s into Primary School classrooms. It highlights the positive effects in which portable devices bring to the classroom.   

I believe that i-Pads could allow for further engagement within the classroom and in lessons, as students are up-to-date with technology and it is almost second-nature to many of them. I-Pads relate to their generation and shows the students that you are able to connect with them through their interests and understandings. They enable for collaborative learning, as students can access the internet and through this, they are able to communicate with each other over activities and learning experiences. My tutor today stated that collaboratively is often easier in an online environment, as students can access each other’s work easily and can discuss work together. 

However, I am still not in favour of technology controlling the classroom. The teacher must be the facilitator of the learning and the technology must be a supplementary item, to help support the teacher’s lessons. I-Pads can be used with activities to support learning, and I think that if a teacher doesn’t utilise these amazing technological break-throughs, then their students will not be given an education that is able to be had.  
It was discussed today that i-Pads are just a “glorified way to access the internet“. Yes this is true, however, this portable device enables for more than just internet access. Internet is a benefit, but the Applications, or Apps, are even better. People are developing Apps for education and for recreation, and it gives the community power to make Apps to suit their lifestyle. Apple now gives the software to consumers of Apple Products, and this enable general society to create Apps, which I always thought you needed a University Degree to create (boy, am I wrong!!!!) 

Thomas Suarzes is an example of this! The 12 year old American boy has designed Apps for the i-Phone and i-Pad! At the age of 12!!! He talks about how and why he created them, but the most interesting thing I got from watching this video, was that creating Apps is so simple. He runs a co-curircular class, “The App Club“, at his school where he teachers his peers to become designers of Apps. Truly astonishing! 

ImageI-Pads can assist in learning, and can hinder it if not used in an appropriate manner. Please use them! I believe they will assist in furthering your students education.
And please, watch the video on Thomas Suarez. It will amaze you!

In class last week…

In class last week, out tutor introduced the class to a funny-little device. It is known as a ‘Response Card’, which is similar to an automatic voting system. Each class member received one of these little devices and we were asked a series of questions in which we had to answer using the ‘Response Card’. 

It was found (using this voting system) that 100% of the class used ICT whilst on practicum this year. I was not surprised at this result, as technology is becoming a large aspect of teaching. However, 77% of the class were confident in using this technology, meaning that 23% were not. I was a part of that 23%!!! I wish I wasn’t but I was! I was able to use the Interactive Whiteboard, but it was not my strong point on practicum. In the school I was attending, the IWB was the only technology available to the class (besides computers). 


Technologies, such as the i-Pad are being introduced to Primary Schools across Australia. I did not get to experience this, and neither did my peers, however i-Pads are being introduced at a rate that is slowly increasing. 
Ringwood North Primary School in Victoria trialed i-Pads in 2010 for 136 Year 4 and 5 students. This is occurring across Australia, and hopefully items such as the i-Pad and the ‘Response Card’ are introduced in classrooms, as they support teaching and I think they would benefit student learning.