Allow children to engage directly with the content without hindering its culturally relevant nature

Help Me Tell My Story Holistic Assessment App

The Help Me Tell My Story application aims to be relevant and engaging for the culture and communities it reaches, and positively impact those communities’ learning opportunities. It leverages the latest technology to facilitate immediate access to results and to create fun and interactive tools for caregivers and educators to further engage with the assessment process.

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Education surveys children, teachers, caregivers and community members as part of an ongoing effort to evaluate early learning outcomes in Aboriginal communities. These traditionally formatted assessments faced significant communication challenges in their effectiveness to collect unbiased data representing a holistic view of aboriginal children’s readiness for learning. The children in the survey group are between three and five years old, and are too young to complete traditional surveys without the help of an adult; a method that has the potential of introducing assessor bias, skewing results. bv02 was approached to help address these issues through the development of an iPad application.

With support from education consultant Jarrett Laughlin, bv02 developed The Help Me Tell My Story Assessment Universe in answer to these challenges. This includes a variety of unique pre- and post-assessment supporting material to ensure children are comfortable and familiar with the assessment. The assessment was designed, developed and delivered through a truly collaborative process involving educators, assessment and technology professionals at bv02, and experts in First Nations and Métis learning.

To avoid assessor bias in the surveys, bv02 created an iPad application as well as classroom materials featuring an animated turtle character, Aski. The classroom materials, which include books and a puppet, tell the story of Aski and help frame the questions and survey in the context of the character’s story. The turtle puppet is used to fill out the survey directly on the iPad’s touch screen thanks to the custom addition of conductive thread in the turtle’s nose. The iPad stores all of the data from the surveys, which can be analyzed and presented to stakeholders in the child’s education to inform future learning.

Assessment results are linked to activities, or learning ideas, that are accessible to all teachers, caregivers and Elders. This connection to activities helps to ensure that the data leads to meaningful learning activities and interventions, and goes beyond measuring proficiency in oral language.

The Help Me Tell My Story application leverages the latest technology to facilitate immediate access to results, through kiosks in schools and a web portal, and to create fun and interactive tools, such as digital storybooks, for caregivers and educators to further engage with the assessment process. Its aim is to be relevant and engaging for the culture and communities it reaches, and positively impact those communities’ learning opportunities.

bv02’s experience in web has informed the development and customization of the Assessment Universe, providing guidance on the effective and appropriate use of leading digital tools in education. The right tools help to break down barriers and make educational materials more accessible. This has been the main purpose of bv02’s work on the Assessment Universe.

Solutions Provided

holisticassessment.gov.sk.ca
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