This month the #Ladygeeks had the privilege of hanging out for a couple of hours with Hal Sturrock, from The Answer Pad. The Answer Pad is an exciting, low-cost, interactive formative assessment tool for the classroom, allowing teachers to engage students in a BYOD school. Although released in November of 2012, The Answer Pad has only been interactive since February 2013. The company has a long history with assessment; another product of theirs, Blue Ribbon Testing, is a serious testing tool.
The Answer Pad is different, though. It is a formative assessment tool more so than a testing tool. In fact, if using The Answer Pad for a test, the developers suggest giving the students a paper test (great for low-tech teachers) or PDF. Think of The Answer Pad as the students’ answer sheets. The Answer Pad offers automatic scoring and progress tracking to monitor success. Ideal for the Blended and Flipped Classroom, differentiated instruction happens with the simple touch of a button.
There are Seven modes of interactivity:
Importing students is simple. Students can self-register or the teacher can import her roster via csv.
With a tablet, computer or iPod touch, students can enter information, drawings and more and then submit to teacher instantly. The teacher sees each student’s submission on one screen and can quickly assess student understanding.
The #Ladygeeks are always interested in free and low-cost tools and products for the classroom, and The Answer Pad seems to fit the bill. The free version allows for one teacher, one class of up to 36 students. Perfect for an elementary teacher.
But the paid versions are super-affordable as well. The individual teacher account costs only $1 per student per year + $10 for the teacher. So for a class of 30 students, this package would cost only $40 per year. However, if multiple teachers in the school are using the product, to avoid double-pay for the same student, The Answer Pad offers a School-Wide package: $2/student/year and teachers are free. As the entire school is covered, students may be enrolled in multiple classes that use The Answer Pad, but each student still only costs $2 for multiple classes. Finally, there is a district model that offers aggregate reporting. For more information on pricing and features, check out their website!
And if your students don’t have iPads? That’s OK. The Answer Pad works on their computers and all modern browsers. This year I will have 1:1 ChromeBooks, so I am genuinely interested in checking out this product. I’ll keep you posted!