Tech Tools to Support Your Data-Informed Decisions
By Nicohl Shelton Webb | August 2020
Throughout our careers, school counselors champion students and are caring, knowledgeable leaders. While aligning our programs to the ASCA National Model, using data is crucial to narrowing the program’s focus and direction based on student needs. Understanding and using data are also essential to ensuring that every student receives the benefits of the school counseling program. One way to manage this data is by using specific technology tools to support data-informed decisions. This article shares highlights of these free (yes, FREE) tools.
Quizizz vs. Kahoot
Quizizz and Kahoot are both game-based learning platforms from which counselors can get real-time, formative assessment data as students answer the questions. You can either choose from a bank of questions or create your own. If you decide to use a previously created game from either platform, you can modify the questions. Quizizz is often used as an alternative to Kahoot because you can play “live” or assign the quiz for homework. The live feature is great when you are presenting in front of students and the “assign for homework” feature is helpful when you need to get data from students who are not with you or who need time to answer at their own pace. One difference between Kahoot and Quizizz is what is shown on the student screen. Kahoot does not show any answers, just a symbol, and students must look at your projected screen for the answers to choose from. Quizizz shows both the questions and answers on the student screen. Both tools can be used for pre and post tests for classroom lessons, groups and much more. The features in Quizizz and Kahoot also allow you to view reports from your questions and could be used to assess the effectiveness of the school counseling program. See www.quizizz.com and www.kahoot.com.
This tech tool may seem like magic when you see it work in person, but it is a simple tool that allows you to collect real-time formative assessment data without the need for a student device. To get started, you need an account from www.plickers.com and the Plickers App from Google Play or the Apple Store. Plickers can be a little cumbersome to set up initially, but once it is set up, it is very easy to use. It does not have a question bank, as Quizizz and Kahoot do, so you have to create all of the questions yourself and load your students into classes. If you have a learning management system (LMS), such as PowerSchool or Infinite Campus, you can easily export a class into Plickers. Once exported, you assign students a card. You display the question on a whiteboard from the Plickers account, and to answer, the students rotate their cards so that their answer choice (A, B, C or D) is at the top. You then open your mobile device and scan the answers using the Plickers app. You can see the answers on your screen and because you assigned the cards, you can also see who answered which question and what they answered. When using Plickers for pre/post tests, you can click on the reports tab to get a report of the student answers. You can also drill down into these reports to get to the specific question data. Plickers is beta testing an e-learning tool that would allow you to use their site for virtual learning. It seems like a little bit of magic! View the video https://bit.ly/plickersvideo to see this tool in action.
I love to tell people that Nearpod is definitely not your grandmother’s PowerPoint. Nearpod is an interactive presentation tool that contains quizzes, polls, videos, images, drawing boards, web content and so much more. Nearpod is another free tool that allows you to create your own presentations or search within the Nearpod library that offers more than 7,000 K-12 standards-aligned lessons. Creating your own lessons lets you put any of the content mentioned above within your presentation. If you select a presentation from the Nearpod library, you can modify it and share it with your students. Nearpod presentations can be given live or be student paced. I found the student-paced option great during virtual learning. Once you create a lesson or modify an existing presentation, you can share it with your students by having them log in to www.nearpod.com and giving them a unique code. You can also add your presentation to Google Classroom, send it through Remind, send a link or email it to your desired audience. Reports are also available to help you gauge understanding of concepts.
Flipgrid (www.flipgrid.com) allows you to create grids to facilitate video discussions among students. I have often used Flipgrid after a lesson for students to feel amplified in giving their voice about a particular subject. Once you set up your account, you can create a grid with specific topics. The beauty of Flipgrid is that students don’t have to create an account to use the platform. Students are given the grid link by URL or by a QR code and then can add their own video. You set the video length but the options are anywhere from 15 seconds to 10 minutes. During virtual learning this past spring, I used Flipgrid for virtual career day – my career day speakers were able to upload videos about their careers and I could show those to my students.
The tools mentioned above are by no means a comprehensive list of all of the technology tools that can help you make data-informed decisions. You can view a copy of my 2019 ASCA presentation on this topic (www.bit.ly/webbasca19) for more information.