I have perhaps become a little reticent of new Web 2.0 tools and the hype lots of them generate for a short period of time, before the next fun toy comes along. Something that I keep coming back to at the moment is a great collaboration tool called Padlet. (previously known as Wallwisher)
I strongly I encourage every teacher I work with, to develop a toolkit of digital tools that the use in the classroom. Overtime the rapid experimentation and sharing leads most teachers to a point where they have develop a set of 3-5 tools which they seem to go back and that they see as an effective teacher strategy. The best tools have a clear link to what we recognize as good classroom pedagogy and are often an enhancement or transformation of an existing ‘non-techy’ approach. Language teachers seems to have a set of tools that fit their teaching style as do Scientists or Geographers.
Padlet fits very nicely with ideas around both collaboration and formative assessment. Especially the idea of setting a quick task to elicit evidence of understanding. Because Padlet requires no-student log in it is an unobtrusive activity in task that seldom breaks the learning routine. Below is an example from my Economics class this week. I use the mini-whiteboards so much, but this was a chance to modify the task, so that I could look at the both an analysis paragraph and the whiteboard diagram later. The little snippet of understanding shown gives me a good clue to the students progress and thinking.
Below is a presentation I have shared with my teachers, please borrow and repurpose !