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Re-imagining Formative Assessment with Digital Tools (Part 4)

In the fourth and final part of our series on re-imagining Formative Assessment with Digital Tools, we explore the ways in which we can vary the ways in which we ask students to provide feedback Inviting students to relate concepts in a visual way, rather than just verbally or in written form challenges them to think and communicate in new ways and may have to potential to tap into the kind of learning associated with long-term memory.

An article by Dr Susan Daniels on Visual Literacy, presents research from across a variety of fields in support of the theory that developing students' cognitive processes through drawing, doodling and using images alongside verbal reasoning and literacy can have a powerful impact on memory and learning.

'Research on the picture-superiority effect, published by Whitehouse, Maybery, and Durkin in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology, shows that when ideas and concepts can be expressed in an image, as well as words, the brain remembers the information contained in that image to a much greater extent than in a verbal only text.'

Formative Assessment Activity 4: Doodle It

Original idea

The original idea challenges students to use a drawing to show understanding of a concept. 

How can you Reimagine this activity with Flipgrid?

Apart from recording videos, Flipgrid also allows students to upload a custom video. This simple feature can be used in two ways to re-imagine this activity:

  1. By creating a screen recording of students digitally drawing the lesson's main idea. This can be done, for example, with PowerPoint's Record a Slide feature to make video recordings of students' drawings. Using a blank slide with this feature creates a 'whiteboard' effect. If that's not already mind-blowingly awesome, you can also able record your voice while you are working on your art.

  2. Having students use their own devices to record themselves doodling a key concept on a piece of paper, using the in-build camera for recording.

What are the benefits

As with any teaching tool, it is important to vary the way that students interact with it for their learning, and Flipgrid's 'upload custom video' feature provides that flexibility. Inviting students to relate concepts in a visual way, rather than just verbally or in written form challenges them to think and communicate in new ways. This activity can also provide educators with important insights into how different students learn, with some students able to convey deep thinking and learning through visual work.

Using a digital tool such as Powerpoint for doodling can support students who struggle with drawing, by providing scaffolding options such as selecting pre-drawn shapes (that can be altered in size and colour) or by inserting clip art or imaged that can be drawn over, annotated or enhanced with doodles enables less-confident students to create a visual representation of their learning without the worry that their drawing won't be good enough to convey any meaning.

Extend the learning

Invite your students to review their own, and other student's drawings. Ask them to partner with other students, and use the each other's drawings as stimulus for a summary storyboard of the key lessons from each day that week. You can mix it up by having pairs of students silently draw a concept or process from your lesson. Can they provide voice overs to explain the key messages in another student's drawing?

Watch as Marija Petreska takes us through the highlights of this formative assessment activity in her #TopTips video below.


In part one of the blog series we explored the ways in which purposeful and well-designed formative assessment activities can help students develop their 'Learning to Learn' skills.

In part two we asked the question 'what is re-imagining?' and considered the ways in which technologies can add value to some of our existing classroom practices.

The third installment of the blog, part three, we explored reflective practice and metacognition, and the ways in which digital tools could be used to enhance common end-of-lesson reflection activities building the complexity and the ability of students' to reflect more deeply over time.

In the final part of the series we invited educators to consider the potential of visual literacy for long-term learning, and the ways in which digital tools may be able to provide scaffolding for all learners but particularly for students who have less-well developed drawing skills. In each of these blogs we provide an example formative assessment activity (Triangle, Square Circle, Student Interviews, Hold up a Mirror and Daring Doodles, and explored how it could be re-imagined with digital tools, and in particular evaluated how these tools were adding value to the practice. We provided #TopTips videos showing the features of #Flipgrid that could be used to enhance the learning opportunities in each activity.

There are many ways that we can re-imagine our classroom practice using digital tools. In this series we have focused on one such tool, Flipgrid, but there are many others. Its simplicity and the variety of features included gives educators flexibility in how they use it with students. What is crucial to Immersive Minds is that we look beyond just recreating activities digitally, and instead seek out the added value a digital tool can bring to a tried and tested lesson, activity or process. For us, that is where the real magic of digital learning that space between what we know works, and what we can do to take it to the next level of educational brilliance.

More on Formative Assessment with Digital Tools

This blog has been created as part of our series of Re-imagining Formative Assessment with Digital Tools. For more information check out the courses page on our website.


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