I believe the key to making sure objectives match digital resources is by focusing on the objective. I have personally found myself tempted with forcing a square digital resource through a round objective hole simply because I thought the resource was cool and wanted to apply it as soon as possible. It seems like such a simple solution, but with the overwhelming resources available, it is so easy to lose focus on what we are truly trying to accomplish. The nice thing is, with all the necessary forms of assessment (pre-, formative, summative, and post-) there is definitely a place for these tools.
In my opinion, the number one thing that digital resources can add to the process of reaching objectives is time. The video Assessment with Technology describes this best. Survey Monkey and Google Forms already have the data processing done and organized which allows me to make adjustments and move forward in the best way for the kids. Google Docs allows me to provide instant feedback to students as they are writing (Mrs. Barton’s LA Class, 2015). These tools are invaluable throughout my units because I am able to spend time adjusting my lessons instead of grading piles of paper. What would normally take me a few days to sort through can now be done in significantly less time.
I also believe digital resources add an interest level and focus to assignments. In my 9th grade class we read Romeo and Juliet. At the end of this unit, like most units, students must write an essay. Instead of having them complete a traditional outline prior to writing this essay, they use iMovie to reenact scenes and prove their thesis statements. Students love this assignment and that passion during the video often turns into confidence while writing their essays. These are usually one of the best ones written throughout the year.
There is really only one way to make sure objectives are met, and that is through assessment. The most effective way to do this is through formative assessment because it gives feedback to students and allows them to make adjustments. Sometimes it is even important to change summative assessments into formative ones if it fits the students’ needs (Stenhouse Publishers, 2010). Just this weekend I was grading notecards for 9th grade research papers and I realized that they were not completed correctly. I am using what was a summative assessment on their note-taking skills and turning it into a formative one so they can adjust and improve. I believe it is also important to ask for student feedback regarding the digital resources that are being used. Taking time to ask students for their opinions and suggestions on the effectiveness of the tools is priceless when it comes to making sure objectives are met and students are learning with little technical frustrations.