Putting evidence-based research into practice can be tough. One of the challenges I encountered was shedding my own flawed beliefs. For example, I had a vague idea of specific strategies that would work in the classroom, which made classroom implementation an ongoing experiment of what worked and what didn’t. In this blog entry, let’s connect an evidence-based research strategy with a digital tool to accelerate student growth.
Of course, you already know the value of formative assessment in the classroom. As I mentioned in this blog entry, formative assessment provides feedback that teachers can use to adjust ongoing teaching and learning with one goal: to improve students’ achievement of intended instructional outcomes.
As a K-12 student, I hated quizzes. I came to see them as a poor means of formative assessment. Pop quizzes did review the material, but made me live in fear of the words, “Pop quiz!” Of course, the underlying evidence-based strategy is one you may well be familiar with. But entry and exit tickets, for example, take advantage of Rehearsal Strategy as well as Retrieval Practice (d=0.46):
Also known as “practice testing,” this involves frequent testing. The research is in and it’s positive about “the testing effect.” Flashcards, practice problems, and writing prompts can improve learning. Learn more here.
Here’s a quick video that introduces you to Retrieval Practice:
You can see how I’ve explored this strategy in other blog entries. Different strategies are often introduced along with Retrieval Practice, and these other strategies include spaced vs. mass practice and interleaving:
- Spaced vs Mass Practice (d=0.65) involves spacing out the intervals of study over a longer period of time.
- Interleaved Practice (d=0.44) includes a schedule of practice or study where many subjects or topics are mixed to improve learning. Contrast it with “blocked practice,” which has students studying one topic in depth, mastering this topic before moving on to another (source).
Here’s a quick video on Interleaved Practice:
Strategy: Retrieval Practice
Have questions about retrieval practice? Read these frequently asked questions (FAQ). Setting up students to answer questions improves learning. Now that you know that, you’re ready to adapt technologies to match the strategy.
We could choose a wide variety of technologies to match up to retrieval practice. But you’re better off if you pick one digital tool to match one evidence-based strategy. In that way, both you and your students can become proficient at each.
Digital Tool: Introducing Podsie
With increased digital access, teachers can now use a wide variety of strategies and tools to create fresh learning experiences. To add to your toolbox, consider giving Podsie, a free tool for both middle and high school students and teachers, a try. It offers great features at no cost to individual teachers (see school/district pricing).
Podsie combines several research-backed learning strategies. These include retrieval practice, spacing vs massed practice, and interleaving. It relies on customized mastery data of each individual student to enhance learning (source).
As a teacher, create your no-cost Podsie account with a Google or Microsoft account. That’s great because you won’t have to remember another username and password. Once you create your login, you will identify your school from a drop-down list.
Benefits of Podsie
Podsie automates some of the tasks, and I’ve included several embedded links to explanatory videos that appear in the feature list below.
- Creates automated, personalized reviews of content aligned to evidence-based practices
- Relies on a Personal Deck that offers students an ongoing, differentiated review experience
- Produces realtime data on how students are doing as they review content
- Details student progress in a Progress Dashboard
- Assists you in crafting questions about content which will reoccur for students
- Enables you to share assignments and ask questions through teacher collaboration
Another step the Podsie developers have taken is to provide a lesson plan that will help you in explaining to students:
- Evidence-based practices like “spacing” and “retrieval”
- How Podsie helps students retain information they learn throughout the year
- The science behind remembering
You can see the lesson plan as a Google Slides deck below or get a copy for yourself.
Learn more about Podsie via their Essentials, How-To, and Keys to Success web pages, and find them on social media (Twitter, Facebook) as well.
Connecting Strategy and Tool
As Weston Kieschnick suggests, make every effort to map out what you will be doing in a lesson. Also, make sure you know exactly how students will be relying on technology to learn. Follow his five action steps to master the art of successfully blending strategies with technology.