Handhelds, Testing and Teaching

Article excerpt

Research shows that technology makes a difference in student motivation, engagement, and active learning. It also helps students develop critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. Providing each student with his or her own computing device such as a Palm[R] handheld computer and appropriate software can have a great impact.

Formative Assessment

In this era of No Child Left Behind, schools are focused on increasing student performance on standardized tests. Teachers use more frequent evaluations, also known as formative assessments, to gauge how well students are learning the subject matter during the course of the year. The results show which skills students still need to learn.

Handhelds are effective tools for this purpose. Students use them to learn and practice skills. Teachers use them when observing students at work. They write notes about student progress, performance, and skills development as they walk around the classroom. They also use software that lets them create quizzes on standards-based items to assess and monitor student progress on individual skills.

When students answer questions on their handhelds, they can get immediate feedback and teachers can get data that shows how each student performed on each item. Armed with this information, teachers can adjust the methods and materials they use.

Differentiated Instruction

Teachers can address the needs of all students with differentiated instruction, a strategy in which they group students who need help with the same skills and provide learning activities that target those abilities. …