Show The Middle Finger to Paper Exams

Look at your middle finger on your writing hand, see that little bump? It was probably caused by the hundreds of thousands words you wrote at school with a temperamental Biro.  We still expect students to frantically etch out their futures writing exams for hours at a time. But could digital exams and online quiz makers be the answer?

The Guardian reports that the Children’s Literacy Charity, complained that children are increasingly emailing Santa, rather than the traditional stamped letter to the North Pole.

Adults find little sympathy for young people being expected to write everything by hand. Of course we raise the point ‘I did it’, but it isn’t a fond memory. Perhaps we fail to hear their plight because so much of our own world consists of typed text. When was the last time you sat down at your writing bureau to pen a letter?

 

We don’t expect them to write out their CV’s by hand nor do they apply to further education in scrappy scroll. It is unfair to children who don’t quite develop their handwriting to exacting standards, they are penalised unnecessarily if the marker can’t read it on first glance.

writers bump

 

Children do retain information that it is written marginally better than typing, retention is not the aim. Handwriting in many instances hinders young people marks as they are more used to typing. They can type far quicker than they can write, and are missing out on marks they might otherwise receive.

Online Quiz Makers

Online quiz makers for teachers are frequently used to revise exam content, but when it comes to sitting the exam nothing has changed for about 300 years. Except perhaps the ink is now conveniently within the pen, and we’re not dabbing our feathers.

Schools simply must invest in digital exams and revision quizzes online, in this period of austerity it is no longer financially  sustainable to have the whole country doing paper tests. Physicality means the tests must be transported for miles as they’re sent round to markers, second markers then to HQ.

DesignATest is a really easy but very clever online testing platform. With automatic marking you can cut your workload in half, and save lots of trees at the same time!

The platform gives you access to the test bank, you can set pre-designed tests by leading experts in their field.

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Handwriting a Thing of The Past?

 

Handwriting is most definitely here to stay, and it is difficult to imagine a world where we would be able to live without the art. That said, it is not as important as the education system thinks it is.

In reality it is more useful to teach children how to type before they can write, given it is a great way to learn letters and the dexterous nature of a keyboard is far easier to learn than the crafted swoosh of a pen.

In the workplace handwriting is confined to personal notebooks. Would you ever submit a formal document in handwriting to your boss, never. People still cringe when they receive a handwritten receipt. So why do we require the vast majority of school work to be handwritten?

It’s estimated that adults currently type 70% of their writing. As the lines between the real and cyber spheres blur, what percentage would a child born today come to type?

Time to Change?  

Its clear that we should be teaching QWERTY not ABC if we are to fully prepare young people to compete in a globalised world.

There is systemic under funding as far as technology is concerned. There is also a training gap whereby technology can go unused in schools in favour of traditional ‘technical problem free’ methods. Pupils often gasp at some teachers lack of technical knowledge as they struggle to perform basic tasks like finding where to put a cable.

DesignATest is one technology changing the way we do testing. It is an easy and engaging way to create class tests and quizzes and helps educators assess individual student progression.

With multiple choice, long and short form answers as well as exam style questions you can fully assess achievement. Automatic marking and grading also cuts the teachers workload in half.

You can also communicate with colleagues and parents about matters of concern with the integrated emailing system. Students login with a simple pin code and can access tests at any time.

You’ll also get access to a test bank overflowing with ready made tests, created by experts in their field. Another great feature is that you can also include your own videos, slide shows and images into the learning process.

We’ll never truly wave goodbye to handwriting, but perhaps it will occupy a more novel and sentimental place rather than a practical function. Platforms like DesignATest are the future of learning; offering schools and teachers the opportunity to enter the digital sphere in a measured way.

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Online Tests to Communicate and Educate Together

For years the parents/teacher relationship involved a parents evening a couple of times a year and notes scribbled on paper with the child used as trusty messenger. As technology helps us advance in so many things it is now also starting to reach education with the internet being a tool with uncapped educational potential. What can it do then to bring teachers, parents and pupils closer together to achieve education fit for the 21st century? Well…

Online assessment is one of the best ways for schools, teachers, parents and pupils to track learning progression in a holistic unified way. There’s no more letters that don’t find their way to parents, they are notified of results instantly.  Teachers can pick up when the child is falling behind. Students can also monitor their own progress in real time without having to wait for teachers to mark their work, this instant gratification enhances their learning experience.

This collaborative approach to learning and assessment streamlines communication between parents and teachers. Based on academic monitoring you can strategise with the student to reach time measured goals. This way the student has clearly defined targets and knows exactly what is expected of them. Many schools have coupled this with a results and rewards system which drives achievement in subjects where students are particularly disengaged.

Teacher with student girl writing assignment

Efficient education needs to be the future of education especially as class sizes have steadily increased to breaking point. Technology enables teachers to deliver a one-on-one experience for each of the pupils in a class of 30 or more pupils. Assessing students with online tests also saves so much time that can be spent on refining the students skills. Teacher saves time with automatic marking, no more photocopying or spending precious class time reviewing the tests. Online test results are fed back immediately.

online tests

Schools are falling behind when it comes to adopting new technology for a generation to whom it matters most. Schools are full of students that have never known a world without the internet; they can ask Google a question and have it answered in a fraction of a second. Many schools are technophobic because of staff who shun technology in the fear they will not understand it. In reality most of the pupils will pick it up quicker than the teachers. Online test systems are designed to cater to all levels of technical knowledge with common sense functionality. Transitions from paper to online are seamless with an easy user interface.

DesignATest is one such system, completely based online and analyses students progress using hundreds of data points. Visualised in interactive charts and graphs results are clear and easy to understand. Communication is seamless and instant through the in-built email system and work together to reach clearly defined academic goals.

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Save Money & The Environment: Test Online

It’s time to create tests online; teachers have been churning out reams of photocopying each year having a devastating effect on the environment. Even as new technology charges on revolutionising the world; many schools are still using the old fashion multiple choice paper tests.

It is so wasteful: because multiple choice tests seldom fill up all the space on the paper there’s a lot of empty space causing you to use unnecessary sheets.  Secondly for the average class of 30 the amount of pages can become immense especially when you have to photocopy something like a past paper at 15 pages per pupil….

This will save you money in reduced photocopying, it will also free up teachers for other tasks given online tests mark themselves instantly. Teachers can also measure time taken to complete the test and other metrics to analyse the child’s progress.

create online tests

Another huge benefit is that it is a platform students actually engage with. When you pop a test on a class you hear sighs as you distribute the same old boring  paper tests. Pupils find online tests engaging given that they can get their results, and see how they are doing as they go along. This helps students do better in tests as it boosts their confidence as it releases ‘reward’ signals in their brain. 

Think of the waste cycle paper tests go through right from the point the tree is cut down. All the trucks that are needed to take the wood shavings to the processing plants, then a truck to stores, then to deliver the paper to your school, and to top it off a truck to take it as waste…

Environment online tests

But where to start? There’s lots of testing platforms but to get started you need a programme students, teachers and parents can interact with. Everyone who is responsible for the child can monitor their progress and identify areas of improvement all working together. That in mind you want something simple, free from technical issues and allows you to design tests easily.

The DesignATest platform is designed with all of this in mind. It has easy drag /drop test building features. You can track a child’s progress with easy to read charts and graphics. You also have the ability to set assessments for different classes, levels and abilities. With DesignaTest the tests mark themselves automatically and you can share results with parents instantly.

You also get access to a huge database of reviewed tests, created by experts in their field, that you can set for pupils in just a few clicks.

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