My Dream Educational App & A New LanSchool Testing Feature
One of the areas where iPad integration in education has been lacking is in testing. From the state side (at least in Minnesota) most of our standardized tests are in Flash format, including MCAs and MAP testing. You can’t use iPads in a 1-to-1 initiative for testing if they can’t run the test (Exiting from a test could be controlled the same way as with a student that exits from a test on a ‘standard’ computer).
The other side of testing is also missing..teacher quizzes and tests. I’ve looked, and there are no testing apps out there. I considered trying to fund the creation of such an app through KickStarter, but the developers I know are too busy with other projects to consider developing a new app. In my mind, this app would consist of two parts: a teacher module and a student module. The teacher module would require an annual subscription, the student module would be free. Tests could be multiple choice (any format), true/false, matching, essay, or fill-in-the-bank. Where appropriate, students could get instant feedback after answering the question or after submitting the test. The test format could also literally replace Scantron sheets, if teachers had existing tests. And data could be instantly analyzed for teacher, showing which questions were wrong (specifically looking for gaps in learning or poorly written questions). And the app could serve as “Clickers” or student response systems, too. Drawn responses, using a Penultimate or Noteshelf response area would also be possible (think Math applications). Traditional bluebook testing would also be available.
The app would be all-in-one. It would need to be easy to write (or import) questions, as well as to distribute them to student iPads (and to collect responses). Grade export to popular grading systems, like Infinite Campus, would also be a plus. And like state testing, if a student exits or switches out of a test, the teacher has the ability to lock the student out of returning to the test–as well as to turn off pop-up notifications while the test is running. And of course, it would need a great user interface and would have to look good.
Think of how much schools spend on Scantron sheets (our school, a large high school, spends over $3000 a year on these sheets), as well as how much they spend on paper (printing tests), and hardware (Clickers). Think of how much time teachers spend grading tests. I also wonder how much time is spent interpreting student handwriting, when students could legibly type responses.
That said, LanSchool, the wonderful program that allows teachers to observe student workstations, now allows testing. It doesn’t do all of my personal dream app’s functions, but it does allow testing. Here’s a press release I received today.
We’re excited to announce that the LanSchool Student App for the iPad now supports Testing. Tests can be sent from the Teacher console running on the Mac, PC or Thin Client teacher’s console to students with iPads. As students are taking the test on their iPad, the teacher can watch the tests results in real-time and export the results out to a .csv file.
The LanSchool Student App for the iPad is a free app available in the iTunes store.
For those of you implementing LanSchool in a 1:1 environment we recommend you click on the following link and download the whitepaper. It describes the best practices and decisions that must be made when deploying and using LanSchool in a school where every student has a computing device.