The Ups and Downs of Using Technology for Long-Distance Assessment

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The Ups and Downs of Using Technology for Long-Distance Assessment

Life is often about considering choices, weighing options, and making decisions. From your favorite coffee to style of exercise, it is practical to think about your goals: Do you need a caffeine boost or a moment of relaxation or are aiming for endurance or strength?

Technology is not the learning, rather it is a resource for learning. Good intentions are not a substitute for being purposeful in achieving your goals. Nor is persuasive marketing the best guide to technologies for assessment. There’s a spectrum of substantiated advice and opinions on using emerging technologies for assessing learning.
Here’s a brief summary:

The Upside of Technology for Assessment       

  • Differentiates content and pacing for individual students.
  • Offers students enrichment and/or tutoring on specific subjects and topics.
  • Provides data that can be quantified, such as achievement of explicit benchmarks.
  • Facilitates creativity and production of original ideas and artifacts.
  • Reinforces reward centers of the brain encouraging continuous engagement.

The Downside of Technology for Assessment   

  • Modes of learning (i.e., visual, auditory, kinesthetic, social) are abridged.
  • Physical activity and the development of interpersonal skills may be hindered.
  • Real-time interaction, reflection, feedback, and questioning during learning are limited.
  • A narrowing of learning modalities may result in lower retention rates.
  • Reinforces reward centers of the brain, encouraging yearning for more screen time.

Deciding Who, When, Where, and How to Use Assessment Technologies

Decisions should be based on the learners’ requirements and the learning intentions. The lower end of the taxonomy; recall, understanding, and sequencing of steps is well-supported by technology.  Assessment of upper levels, such as analysis, evaluation, and generation of original ideas and products, requires more precision.

Technology itself may help a child build knowledge, but it cannot make children more logical. It does have the potential to be transformative when teachers and students are prepared to constructively choose, use, and evaluate the technology and learning outcomes. Technology is not a panacea for learning, nor a cure-all for raising test scores, but rather is most effective when it blends the best of teachers and machines. The emphasis must be on thoughtful adoption and valid implementation of appropriate and substantiated technologies in support of instructional aims.

Also see the May 2018 blog: https://www.assessmentnetwork.net/?s=technology+means+or+end


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