Demonstrating what they’ve learned helps students develop their independence as learners. Online learning gives many opportunities to students to demonstrate their knowledge. Earlier, students could only demonstrate their knowledge and comprehension through limited ways such as quizzes, essays, tests and other formative practice. In order to create a more effective learning experience, new and engaging ways for students to demonstrate knowledge should be adopted.
Students should be encouraged to communicate their own learning in an interactive fashion and should also be exposed to tools that not only make the demonstration of knowledge not just more exciting, but also helps them develop 21st Century Literacy skills. The focus should be on showing, and not telling what students had learned which is possible with the help of highly engaging and interactive ways of demonstrating knowledge. There are many creative new ways for students to communicate what they have learned. They can make infographics, animations and videos, evaluate case studies or journals, can give presentations using Prezi or create a Pixton comic, use VoiceThreads or create their own websites or digital stories.
Juliana Agostino, who is an IB Biology teacher, brainstormed her students to think about all the different opportunities that she had modeled for them to learn and identify the different ways in which they can demonstrate their learning. In response to how they can learn, the students suggested ways like peer tutoring, teacher instruction, screencasts, videos, note-taking, webquests, labs, animation and simulation. On how they can show their learning, students suggested website creation, web app, infographics, animation, quizzes, case studies, role plays, drawings and images, videos and news casts, forums and debate. Juliana asked her students to pick one method of demonstrating their learning and encouraged them to work in groups. She gave them an example of how she being a visual learner had created a concept map of all the ideas in the topic to show how they are connected.
When demonstrating knowledge in an area of study, students are often required to make connections, provide resources, embed videos, and provide instructions. They should not only use ways that provide just the information, but also add creativity, self-expression, greater depth and provide for a wider audience. There are various ways in which students can demonstrate their knowledge in an interactive and engaging manner:
- Create Videos: Students can make a video to demonstrate their learning. The video can include acting or singing or they can create an animation or a documentary to show what they have understood and add their own interpretation. Students can create a video assignment in small groups to make a video that teaches a key concept related to class. Such assignments not only demonstrate students’ understanding of the concept, but also serve as a resource that can be used by others.
- Create a Comic Strip: Students can use the online cartoon creating tools such as ToonDoo, to create a cartoon that explains their thinking about a topic and illustrates their understanding of a concept. Elona Hartjes, an Ontario Certified teacher, had her students demonstrate learning by creating a graphic non-fiction book using Bitstrips which is a user- friendly, online comic strip maker and an excellent teaching tool and learning tool. On the basis of a video, her students created the booklet which was then used by younger students to read and understand a concept.
- Produce a play: Students can work with their group to produce and present a play which demonstrates what they have learnt. They can include their own interpretation and analysis and show how their knowledge can be applied in other contexts.
- Create presentations/slideshows: Students can use tools like Prezi or PowerPoint to create presentations demonstrating their learning of a concept. Students can include a series of images that relate to their learning and make connections between the images and what they have learned. They can add text that further elaborates on the images. Prezi allows students to create maps of texts, images, videos, graphics, etc., and present them in a nonlinear way.
- Use Graphic Organizers: A graphic organizer is a visual display that students can use to demonstrate relationships between facts, concepts or ideas. Students can build upon a visual map or diagram and guide their own thinking. Brainstorming webs, concept maps, mind maps and Venn diagrams are some of the types of graphic organizers used in visual learning to enhance thinking skills and to visualize and organize information. They make it easy for students to classify ideas and communicate, examine relationships, demonstrate their thinking process, brainstorm and organize essential concepts and ideas.
- Write a Blog Post: Students can write a blog post that shows their learning or clarifies your thinking. In their blog they can express themselves through poetry, narrative, or any genre of their choice. Writing blogs allows them to write for an authentic audience who might respond and ask questions. Students can add appropriate images and include a reflection on their learning.
- Create Digital Portfolios: Teachers see a lot of potential in digital portfolios as tools which can be used by students to demonstrate learning. Digital porfolios are becoming more widely used in the classroom, as students are able to take charge of what they learn and how they present their learning to teachers and parents. Teachers can also utilize this great new way to get students excited about learning.
Can you think of more ways of demonstrating your learning in a fun and interesting way? Share with us in the Comment Box below.