Teach Middle East Magazine Apr - Jun 2020 Issue 3 Volume 7 - Page 10

Sharing Good Practice INDIVIDUALISE YOUR TEACHING WITH THE HELP OF DIGITAL ASSESSMENT BY: KATIA AL-KAISI students cannot keep up with their usual level of achievement. K atia Al-Kaisi spoke with Dr Kirsi Wallinheimo an expert in distance education to get her thoughts on how we can individualise teaching with the help of digital assessment. friends and teachers, poses challenges for children. Even though the first reaction of many children towards school closures may have been a series of hurrahs, the reality is starting to set in. As children are learning new ways to study, student assessment takes new forms as well, and that has an impact on teaching. This school term has turned out to be wildly different from what many of us – teachers, principals, students or parents – ever expected. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, we are suddenly forced into adapting digital learning and teaching with speed totally unimagined. And it does not help that this is happening in a situation that is likely to be stressful for many families. “Children are used to getting feedback, encouragement and guidance from a teacher who is physically present,” explains Finnish education expert, PhD Kirsi Wallinheimo. “In distance learning, this is not always possible, and it may have an effect, especially on younger and more quiet students, who gravitate towards constant feedback.” This, in turn, can mean that some Luckily, we do have the technology, which makes digital and remote learning possible. But as isolation and school closures are going to be in place for the rest of the academic year, the situation also has an influence on how students’ learning should be evaluated. New Technology Brings Possibilities Studying at home, in isolation from 10 Term 3 Apr - Jun 2020 Class Time But challenges can be overcome. Teachers need to learn to give personal attention to students, even in digital environments. It might not always be possible when the whole class has a meeting in Zoom or Teams. But there are digital assessment platforms, such as Qridi, Edmodo and Socrative, which may make it possible for a teacher to keep track of students’ individual progress. The information gathered with such technology could prove useful in group distance learning situations too so that the teacher can choose to pay more attention to students who are in need of it. Wellbeing First Children’s motivation and capacity to study is very much linked to their wellbeing. As said before, we are living in stressful times. Isolation and uncertainty are hard on parents too, and emotions might spill over in families more easily than normal. Some children go through the current changes in their everyday life with a laid-back attitude, but for some, the burden might be almost unbearable. Digital assessment platforms collect learning analytics, and when the teacher has no possibility to meet with their students face-to-face, this