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In a recent discussion with a colleague (Thank you, Mark Pisco) over some of the best #educationapps out there, Quick key came up. #QuickKey is an application for iPhones to "scan" student response keys, very similar to the infamous Scantron forms and machine. However, the potential of this app goes far beyond the ancient clicking/red-inking temperamental device we have all seen in faculty rooms. Besides analyzing the quiz/assignment/test question by questions for improved instructional use, this app offers export features into electronic grade books and import features of student rosters.
This app, developed by teachers, is still free and in Beta as of right now, and the founding educators promise even more improvement and features to come. Follow the progress and news about this app by following the founders/developers @4_teachers, visit the website (www.quickkeyapp.com) or download the free app in your app store from you Apple device.
The scramble to gather the proper equipment, tap the necessary networking infrastructure and hammer out a testing schedule has already started in New Jersey to prepare for the shift to the PARCC. However, the most integral piece of this puzzle is how NJ students will handle putting down their No. 2 in place of a mouse.
Testing students on the common core subjects has always traditionally been a paper exam. While content remains the same, the type of questions and skills needed are shifting. While multiple choice questions will be remaining on this digital standardized test, new question types will require student to utilize fine motor skills with their mouse such as "drag and drop". Below of some example questions taken directly from the PARCC website.
As you can see, the correct responses to these questions require more than just content knowledge. It is the responsibility of NJ educators to prepare their students for this shift. As a district Tech Coach, professional development and research are a part of my position. One of the tools I recommend, however, is a "no-brainer": Study Island. This online software is already widely-used by our 3-8 teachers. Study island offers Common Core "practice" quizzes with various question types, with significant overlap in the skills required by the PARCC exam. study Island question types are highlighted in their most recent guide:
Students practicing using digital manipulatives must be an essential portion of preparing for the PARCC exam to ensure the highest levels of achievement. This initiative, along with adjusting to electronic testing in general must come from school educational leaders and sufficient professional development should be provided.
Supervisor of Instructional Technology, Park Ridge High School