Voicethread as an Assessment Tool

As our final assessment of the year in Geometry, I was originally planning to do a screencast, similar to my Algebra 1 class. Since the topic was segments and angles in a circle, I quickly realized that it would be very difficult and labor intensive for my students to accurately draw the diagrams necessary. I was looking for a way to have the diagrams already saved and to have the students spend their time explaining how to solve them.  After talking through the issue with Sarah Ludwig, Academic Technology Coordinator, she suggested trying VoiceThread. I had used VoiceThread before, but never as an assessment tool. I decided to give it a try!

We scanned the final assessment for the chapter, and broke each problem into an individual powerpoint slide. I uploaded this to VoiceThread and shared it with my students. Each student needed to complete 12 problems correctly (out of 20) on paper, submit them to me for grading. Once they completed all of them correctly, they could begin recording their solutions in VoiceThread.

Even though we had a small issue with “disappearing ink” in the drawing tool on VoiceThread, the students found it extremely easy to record. I loved seeing these students record and then re-record the problems until they got the solutions just right. Is there any better way to practice solving problems?

I used this rubric for grading and found that the biggest issue was the fact that, while students did record the solutions correctly, they did not always fully explain WHY they were solving them… the geometric concepts. When I do this project next year, I will be sure to stress the explanation as a key component to the project. Live and learn!

Overall, using VoiceThread as an assessment tool was extremely successful. The students were fully engaged and I was able to get a very clear picture of what they understood. In many ways, it was the most authentic assessment of the year!

Here is our final project:
Vodpod videos no longer available.

“Algebra 1B Academy”: Mission Accomplished

Last Friday, we completed our screencast project in Algebra 1. Things went extremely well! Screencast-o-matic was very reliable and the students enjoyed choosing their own color/style/ background to write out their problems using Paint. It was like music to my ears hearing them explain how to add/ subtract/ multiply and divide radicals expressions. The students were completely engaged for all three days in the lab and the entire process forced them to think about how to simplify radical expressions. YAY!

Each student  downloaded the screencasts as .avi files and the students were able to easily import the video files into Windows MovieMaker, and add a title, transitions and credits.  I uploaded the final projects to my YouTube channel and really enjoyed grading them. Although I had students submit problems ahead of time for checking, some of the students made some errors in explaining the problems and I noted them on their grading rubric. It was the ultimate assessment of whether students knew WHAT to do and WHY they were doing it.  Overall, the project turned out great and I will definitely do this again next year!

Here are a few of the screencasts: