Jazz Up STAAR Review with Technology!

via Technology Tidbits by Twyla Felty

For the most part, technology is used in classrooms for the technology “R’s”: remediation, rehearsal, research, rating, and recreation. These activities are often called skills practice, assessment, and free time, and they fill many educators with a warm, fuzzy “high-tech” feeling. Yet, the closer we get to STAAR testing, even these efforts at technology use in the classroom cease as all eyes and efforts focus on the April testing schedule.
But wait….aren’t we missing another “R”? Review !

Yes! Let’s use technology for review!
After all, it is really the same as “rehearing” or skill practice anyway, but for some reason, there is a default back to paper and fill-in-the-dots when we use the word “review” during the months of March and April.

Several weeks ago, I had blogged about using QR codes to spice up review activities, but there are so many great tools for use in the classroom that could jazz up any review. Here are two easy ones to use!

 Socrative is a student response system that can be played on any device and requires no student accounts to use. It is a great review tool and enables teachers to make review questions more engaging for students. I blogged about Socrative in 2012 when it was still in “alpha mode”. They have made many improvements since then, and the only
issue I have ever had with Socrative is a slow loading time when our                                                             wifi was really busy.

Kahoot! is a newer student response system which offers the same opportunity to shake up your review time. Although similar to Socractive, Kahoot! only has colored boxes to choose from on the student screens. That means students must look up at the teacher’s screen to choose an answer. This really does increase the interaction in the classroom! Richard Byrne has a great post about Kahoot! on his blog, Free Technology for Teachers.

Keep up the hard work all you test-weary teachers! “Review” time may be critical, but we still need to engage students as much as possible. So, press on with technology and get as creative as standardized test-prep allows you to be. The students will appreciate the change!

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