Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Diagnostic Assessment using Promethean Activotes

Early this term we did a small trial lesson with the Activotes. These are little voting devices that students can use to participate in assessments run though the teachers laptops and the Promethean Inspire software installed on the staff macbooks. Throughout the school there are several sets of these voting devices which you are able to borrow and use.

Alongside Christine Chaboyer from the Maths Department we used the devices as a start of topic diagnostic assessment tool with Grade 8 students. As Christine was a new teacher, who was taking over the this class she needed a fun tool to assess the students prior knowledge. She set up a simple flip-chart with 20 multi choice questions. These can either be typed on or copied and pasted into the flip-chart from existing resources. Her great teaching strategy was to create these questions with some common mistakes to act as trap multiple choice questions. These assessment can therefore become concrete evidence where the cognitive gaps in the students learning exists.

How do the Activotes work?

This is a nice tutorial developed by Gordon Hirons from the Maths Department - click here to download
  1. Create a flipchart, and chose to insert questions. One per chart.
  2. Once this is complete you need to choose the Tools menu and then Express Poll
  3. A floating icon will pop up, select the icon, then Assign Devices to Students
  4. You need to create a database of student names
  5. Once this is complete, you need to use the floating icon again to register devices
  6. Easiest way to register the devices is to give them out to the students and then choose the register with pin option. Students look at the projector and add the devices.
  7. You need to check within preferences that the devices are set to Activotes and not Active Expressions. This is an option under the Inspire menu and then Preferences. See below
  8. Once the devices are all registered you can click at top right to begin the assessment.
Some of the downsides are the on a screen everyone can see the students, who have yet to answer the question, therefore introducing an unintended element of peer pressure. (See 2nd picture below)

The Inspire program gave provided excellent feedback to both the students and the teacher. The class sees a simple bar chart after each question is complete and the teacher has private access to all of a particular students answers. Therefore the teacher can identify comprehension issues at a whole class level or for individual students.