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Capture the Math! Using Technology to Move Beyond Traditional Assessment

Location: W176a

Listen and learn

Listen and learn : Lecture

Wednesday, June 27, 11:30 am–12:30 pm
Location: W176a

Heather Theijsmeijer  
Mathematics has traditionally been a product-based course when it comes to assessment. How can we get to the heart of student thinking through observations and conversations? Join us to learn how online tools (such as Explain Everything, ShowMe, Nearpod, Flipgrid, Google Sites, blogs) can revolutionize assessment in math.

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Attendees may wish to look further into some of the tools I will be presenting, so a device with browser capability would be useful. Some tools will be presented with a brief interactive component (such as Flipgrid), however the tools highlighted in this way will all be accessible via browser (no specific app needed).
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Online tools, apps and resources
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: Math
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Teaching, Learning and Assessments
  • Coach teachers in and model design and implementation of technology-enhanced learning experiences using a variety of research-based, learner-centered instructional strategies and assessment tools to address the diverse needs and interests of all students.
For Educators:
  • Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Participants will come away from this presentation with new tools for their assessment toolbox. Mathematics teachers are often well-versed in traditional, pencil-and-paper products, but find it challenging to collect observations and conversations showing student thinking in more depth. This presentation will introduce teachers to a number of new tools that they can take directly back to the classroom and use to triangulate assessment of student learning.

The tools that will be reviewed include Explain Everything, ShowMe, Nearpod, Flipgrid, Google Sites, and blogs. All of these tools make use of images, videos, and audio files to allow students to draw, explain, and share their thought processes and depth of knowledge. While these tools are not math-specific, they will be explored through a mathematics classroom lens.

The model for the presentation will be a traditional lecture-style delivery, with multimedia content of actual student work using the highlighted tools. Throughout the presentation, I will use interactive polls to gauge the background knowledge of the audience, as well as a few interactive activities designed to encourage the audience to try some of the tools during the session.

I will know if I have been successful in delivering my presentation if my audience is engaged: participants are willing to ask and answer questions, participants participate in real-time demonstrations of some of the tools, and participants provide feedback through interactive polls throughout the presentation.


The presentation will begin with an overview of assessment in mathematics, and the importance of triangulating that assessment through conservations, observations and products. This discussion will take no more than ten minutes.

The main focus of the session will be the pedagogical practices behind using digital tools to create student voice pieces, as well as how each tool can be used in the mathematics classroom. Explain Everything and ShowMe allow students to take pictures and record themselves explaining their reasoning behind the mathematical concepts. Nearpod allows students to complete more traditional lessons, while adding their own examples and interpretations. Flipgrid is an excellent tool for quickly collecting student opinion beyond just agree/disagree, allowing students to defend their thinking and reasoning. Google Sites and blogs allow students to collect and curate their work in a portfolio throughout the course, as well as solicit feedback on their progress from their peers. Examples of actual student work using these tools will be showcased, including images and videos. This part of the presentation will take the remaining time of the session, 50-55 minutes.

Throughout the presentation, there will be interactive components to poll the participants and guide the level of discussion. There will also be opportunities for the participants to try some of the tools first-hand.

Supporting research

In Ontario, our Ministry of Education document on best assessment practices (including the triangulation of data and Conversation-Observation-Product assessments) is Growing Success. This is a key resource for guiding Ontario teachers in assessment methods, placing emphasis on collecting and curating student voice pieces in the learning process.

Flip Your Classroom (Bergmann & Sams, 2012)

Deeper Learning: Beyond 21st Century Skills (Bellance (ed.), 2014)

More [+]


Heather Theijsmeijer, Rainbow District School Board

A Math and Physics teacher for 15 years, Heather is currently the Renewed Math Strategy Co-ordinator for the Rainbow District School Board. Her role allows her continue working with students and teachers to develop and implement innovative, technology-enabled teaching, learning and assessment practices in Math.

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