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Using iPads for Formative Assessment

Are some principals really handing out iPads to teachers without any plan for how they are to be used in the classroom? Appears so from an inquiring e-mail Bill Ferriter recently recieved from a language arts teacher friend.

Always ready to lend a hand, though, Ferriter comes to the rescue with some nice advice on using the iPads (and presumably other tablets) in combination with a Google Docs forms tool for observation-based formative assessment:

Wouldn't it be cool to carry your iPad around with you while student groups are working? Then, every time that you interact with kids and learn a little something about their mastery of essential skills in class, you could quickly document what you've seen using this form. ...
Over time, you'll start to see patterns in the essential skills that individual kids have mastered--and you'll have documentation that you can use to support those gut hunches that play such an important role in the judgments that we make about kids.
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