Teachers have the deepest insights into their students’ learning through planned and unplanned assessments day-to-day. Planned formative assessments, like an exit ticket, help teachers determine if the intention or goal from a lesson was achieved. Even an unplanned quick thumbs up and thumbs down as a checkpoint provides immediate insights. Although assessment is necessary, when it comes to assessing student writing, it is labour intensive and time consuming.
In 21st century classrooms, full of digital native students, there are increasingly more opportunities and avenues for students to demonstrate their learning with technology. For teachers, there are endless ways to assess students’ learning using technology, but the abundance of options makes using multiple tools inevitable and most tools are not as easy or automatic as one would hope, until now.
JoeZoo Writing Insights
JoeZoo provides automatic student insights with no effort required by teachers. The time saved through JoeZoo’s real time insights allows teachers to provide higher order and personalized feedback for students and pivot instruction to meet the needs of the whole class. Here are the insights JoeZoo offers teachers.
JoeZoo is able to score the readability level based on a student’s writing submission. Overtime, JoeZoo will better recognize and score each student’s writing skills. The readability score uses the Dale-Chall readability formula and provides a grade range the student’s writing level falls in.
Student Skills Development
JoeZoo uses positive reinforcement for students’ writing skills development through rewarding them digital badges. Students receive badges immediately after demonstrating a specific behavior. For example, when students engage with feedback comments or take initiative to edit their work.
With JoeZoo, teachers track student progress with ease. Students receive reinforcement immediately, therefore JoeZoo closes the gap from when a student demonstrates a particular skill or behavior to when students receive a reward.
Frequently Used Feedback Comments
JoeZoo provides the most common feedback comments students automatically receive from JoeZoo and added by teachers. JoeZoo displays this in the form of a word cloud for G Suite users.
JoeZoo compiles a list of all feedback comments and shows the ratio of comments in each student submission. This list shows teachers a snapshot of JoeZoo’s feedback comments broken down by categories. The list makes it easier for teachers to pivot their instruction to fill any common gaps in students’ learning.
Lastly, JoeZoo helps eliminate the labour-intensive plagiarism checks between students’ submissions. Often direct plagiarism when copied from a published source is more evident. However, students who plagiarize from peers may be harder to catch and JoeZoo checks for similar text among all submissions within a course automatically.
Incorporating JoeZoo Insights into Instruction
While assessing, teachers now have insights from JoeZoo that they wouldn’t have otherwise or would have had to spend hours gathering. So, what now? Just like students, teachers must pivot continuously too. Most importantly, teachers can pivot to improve their instruction to best meet students’ needs, quicker and with less effort when using JoeZoo.
Mini Lessons in Writer’s Workshops
With the automatic insights provided by JoeZoo, teachers can conduct purposeful and targeted writer’s workshops starting with mini lessons. Writing workshops are a student-centred instructional framework and mini lessons are one part of it.
For example, if the most common feedback comments given in JoeZoo pertain to improper comma usage, then teachers can incorporate that into the next writer’s workshop. The workshop can include sharing students prior knowledge of commas, discussing common conjunctions, and applying their shared knowledge.
Application can look like taking a passage from a book the class is reading and removing all commas, and having students work together to add the proper commas. It can also involve peer assessment, where students edit an ongoing writing assignment with the goal of focusing on comma usage.
The findings from this research study by Lisa Robinson and Jay Feng show that when teachers read students’ writing, identify common errors, and design mini-lessons to target those particular errors, the overall quality of the students’ writing improved. With JoeZoo’s insights, teachers meet their students where they need intervention in a timely and focused manner without extra effort.
Targeted writer’s workshops and mini lessons can be used to address any insight provided by JoeZoo. If cases of peer-to-peer plagiarism are a common occurrence, teachers can further reinforce the importance of producing original work [insert plagiarism blog post]. If students are not using resource links provided by teachers in JoeZoo, this too can be incorporated into a writer’s workshop [insert resource links blog post].
Writing Insights in the Digital World
The insights provided by JoeZoo not only help teachers, but are helpful for students to become more aware of their writing process and progress. Students who are cognizant of their learning, including writing, become more independent.
According to Changing How Writing is Taught, digital tools are not being used inside the classroom as frequently as students used these types of tools outside the classroom for writing. JoeZoo brings assessment to one central location in the digital world, eliminating the need to navigate from tool to tool.
Educators and students lean on technology now more than ever. It’s time to use technology as more than just a substitute for the manual work found in traditional assessment strategies. It’s time to use JoeZoo to gain meaningful insights quicker and easier.