The best apps for Visible Learning (for learning and teaching)

The best apps for Visible Learning (for learning and teaching)

App Cafe Details

Apps reviewed:

  • Loads! Please see below..

What are the benefits of using such apps?

This week focused on how apps can help make student’s learning more visible by:

  1. capturing learning activities through film, photos, screencasts and spoken explanations
  2. creating contexts for talk, making it easier to review learning and providing assessment opportunities.

Tablets and apps have given us a whole new range of possibilities when it comes to students showing their progress and understanding of a topic. No longer are they restrained by the challenge of putting pen to paper; instead, they can type, record their voice, use voice to text or simply make a video intuitively.

The term ‘visible learning’ describe the idea of using apps and tablets to capture learning as it happens in the classroom. Visible learning coexists alongside everyday classroom activities to ensure that the teacher gets a greater insight into the learning that is happening within the classroom.

The Visible Learning Cycle
The Visible Learning Cycle

During this week we focused solely on using tablets and apps for:

  • Capturing Learning Live
  • Pre-Assessment and Post-assessment

We didn’t cover apps relating to all stages of the Visible Learning Cycle as it would simply be too much to cover!


Capturing Learning Live

What is capturing learning live?

  • Capturing learning live is an excellent way to support peer and self assessment during a teaching session.
  • You can keep track to make sure the learning is going where you planned and can address problems and misconceptions as they happen.
  • Examples of learning can be shared during mini-plenaries and students can capture evidence of their learning for themselves.
  • Plenaries are much livelier with contributions from the learning session too.
  • Using images of their own learning, learners can lead plenary sessions, with images that the teacher has identified during the learning.

What are some of the best apps to use when capturing learning live?

App Name: Details: Visit for details, demos and more:
Answer Garden AnswerGarden is a minimalistic feedback tool. Use it for real time audience participation, online brainstorming and classroom feedback. answergarden.ch 
Tricider Tricider is an online tool for easy brainstorming/idea generation, voting/decision making, or for any other crowdsourcing requirement. www.tricider.com
Padlet Padlet is a digital canvas board where you can put anything (images, videos, documents, text) that are extremely easy to share and collaborate on. padlet.com
iMovie iMovie makes it easy to turn photos and video clips into movies or trailers and share them with the world. www.apple.com/uk/imovie
Book Creator Book Creator offers a simple way to create your own beautiful ebooks, right on your tablet. bookcreator.com

What do you think are the best apps for capturing learning live? Please comment on this post below.


Pre-Assessment and Post-assessment

Pre-assessment and post-assessment involves checking what learners already know at the beginning of a lesson and then repeating the process at the end of the lesson (or unit).

You assess your learners in order to check that they have learnt what you are trying to teach them.

Giving quality feedback and advice on next steps, with differentiated success criteria, makes for high quality teaching that responds to individual needs.

  • Summative assessment describes just such an assessment which is done at the end of a lesson (like a test).
  • Whereas Formative assessment, describes a test or assessment which is done as students are learning.

Alongside the above, assessment can be used both synchronously and asynchronously in the classroom:

  • Synchronous assessment refers to assessment in which a group of students are engaging in assessment together at exactly the same time (real time). The pace is set by you, as you would be running the assessment.
  • Asynchronous assessment refers to assessment in which a group of students are engaging in assessment outside the constraints of time and place. You could still ask learners to engage with these within the classroom, but they would do so at at their own pace. Another benefit is that can also ask learners to engage with such an assessment before or after the class too!

What are some of the best apps to use when conducting assessments?

  • Assessment functionality within NILE
  • Kahoot and Socrative – best for Synchronous assessment
  • Tricider, Answer Garden and Edmodo – best for Asynchronous assessment.

See below for details:

App Name: Details: Visit for details, demos and more:
Assessment functionality within NILE NILE supports a wealth of assessment tools including:

  • Turnitin (Assignment submission)
  • Group or individual Assignments
  • Collaborative Assessment Tools (Graded Wikis, Graded Discussion Boards, Graded Blogs)
  • Individual Tools (Graded Journals)
  • Tests (17 different question types. Tests & Pools, Mobile Friendly Tests)
  • Grade Everything
  • Self & Peer Assessment (Includes Peermark in Turnitin)
  • Criteria and Feedback (Blackboard Rubrics, Turnitin rubrics)
  • Assessment Management (Grade Centre)
  • PebblePad.
See the Learn Tech blog re. assessment-tools for details, demos and more. Alternatively email the Learning Technology team at learntech@northampton.ac.uk for training dates and support.
Kahoot Create fun quizzes in minutes (or choose from millions ready to play or adapt), made from a series of multiple choice questions. Add videos, images and diagrams to your questions to amplify engagement! Best played in a group setting, like a classroom, players answer on their own devices, while games are displayed on a shared screen to unite the lesson. getkahoot.com/how-it-works
Socrative Students can share their understanding by answering formative assessment questions in a variety of formats: quizzes, quick question polls, exit tickets and space races. Students can join the teacher’s room via the teacher’s unique code. No student accounts necessary. www.socrative.com
Tricider Tricider is an online tool for easy brainstorming/idea generation, voting/decision making, or for any other crowdsourcing requirement. www.tricider.com
Answer Garden AnswerGarden is a minimalistic feedback tool. Use it for real time audience participation, online brainstorming and classroom feedback. answergarden.ch
Edmodo Edmodo is a web-based platform that provides a safe and easy way for your class to connect and collaborate, share content, and access homework, grades and school notices. It is like Facebook but in a safe and  controlled environment appropriate for school. www.edmodo.com

What do you think are the best apps for assessment? Please comment on this post below.

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About Jim

Staff trainer and e-learning developer working for the University of Northampton, UK. All views my own, aside from those shamelessly taken from others.

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