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Animation software makes assessment and classwork 'fun'

Student using animation program

CASTLE PINES – Fifth-grade students at Timber Trail Elementary may not even realize they are being assessed. They are part of a pilot program using animation software to provide teachers with an accurate picture of a student's progress. Douglas County School District's Assessment & System Performance Office is working with 12 teachers to integrate Toon Boom animation software, demonstrating how authentic learning experiences can take the place of some sit down tests.

“It’s an animation software that we’re using for kids to show their thinking about concepts and content that we’re learning in the classroom in a very visual way. We can use it for both interim assessments, which is that checking along the way, which are those benchmarks that we’re looking for and then it can also be used for the summative assessment of the final content,” says Timber Trail Elementary teacher, Eve King.

The Toon Boom pilot program has been termed an experiment, a “stealth assessment tool” that will make assessment an integral part of the learning process.

“Kids have become very good at just writing answers and sort of regurgitating information that they’ve seen in their research without it being a true understanding of what they know and what they can apply,” added King.

Shef emphasizes that this is definitely a 21st century tool and that animation is not just for fun drawing, but that we can actually see it in the real world, in real jobs. But the bottom line for King is that it motivates the students and while they don’t realize that they are being assessed, as in a written test, it actually makes the work and the assessment fun.

“It’s easier for me cause I kind of know how to work the computer and I think it teaches kids better through animation,” exclaims Timber Trail 5th grade student, Abby Webb.

Fellow Timber Trail 5th grade student, Cole Petersen continues, “I just feel like it’s more fun and I feel if you do it on paper it’s just kind of school work and instead, on the computer, it doesn’t feel like school work.”

The goal for the design performance assessment is for students to deliver their solutions through animation. This will allow teachers to quickly see any gaps in their student’s thinking process and give them personalized feedback in the moment of the learning.

“When we put it into a visual format, they really have to break apart the content and show the steps of how something works or how things are connected to one another in order to then draw it out or animate it. For me as a teacher, it’s very easy for me to see as they’re illustrating or storyboarding prior to the illustration what they do and do not understand and where misconceptions lie if they have them,” concluded King.

November 20, 2013 | By SCPaulsen | Category: Timber Trail Elementary School, Assessment and System Performance

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