We asked Rob Eastment, our client experience manager and former assistant head teacher for his thoughts on how Firefly 6 can be a powerful tool for formative assessment.
In its broadest sense, formative assessment is about teachers having an ongoing understanding of how students are performing and using this information to guide their teaching. It’s a powerful approach, as it enables teachers to tailor what they’re doing during a student’s learning journey. This might mean tackling a concept in a new way to help comprehension, or focusing a student on a particular area in need of practice.
A formative assessment technique could be asking students to raise their hands if they feel they have understood a concept. But, of course, few teachers would rely on this approach. What Firefly 6 does is enable a teacher to open this dialogue with a student and continually assess or feedback in a range of different ways.
It’s no secret that different students learn best in different ways, similarly not all ideas are best expressed through the same medium. Here’s just three of the ways Firefly 6 helps teachers use formative assessment.
Voice – Teachers have long been able to sit down with students in the classroom to provide feedback, but Firefly 6 lets you record this conversation and associate it to the relevant piece of homework or assignment workflow. This allows students to go back and review the feedback, as they make amends or recap. It also enables teachers to leave voice comments throughout a piece of work, such as a word document or PDF, which is far quicker than writing or typing feedback, and may be more digestible for some students. In turn, students can respond to voice comments or be more creative with their submissions, as they link verbal explanations to different parts of their work.
Video – Without the complications of third party hosts or setting permissions, Firefly 6 enables teachers to simply provide video feedback. This could be used to record an explanation or correction by pointing out areas to work on, say, a diagram or video that a student submitted. Or, video could be a handy replacement or alternative to written feedback.
Annotations – Firefly 6 lets you put notes or comments wherever you like on a piece of work. This gives feedback in context and clearly attached to the bit of the work that it refers to. If feedback is bitesize and immediately available to students, they can act on it more quickly and effectively.
All of these approaches (and more) are part of Firefly 6. There’s no third party apps (unless you want to use them) or fiddling around with importing documents or setting permissions. These approaches are activated by just a tap or click on your toolbar.
Simply, work is received from a student, you mark and add feedback in the way you consider to be the most effective, and then send it back to the student (and, if you like, their parents). This is all then tracked in your markbook and, as time goes on, a formative dialogue develops with each and every student.