I don't even know how I made it this far without talking about Edmodo. Srsly.
Studying for tests. Such a drag... But in college I figured it out. I did a lot better in my ecology class when I walked around at midnight with my buddy Theresa and recited the Krebs cycle or lake stratification and seasonal overturn. It was COLLABORATION. We taught each other and learned in the process. So I have tried to replicate that in my classroom. I've done it all, too...
Jeopardy review games online. Games in class. Study Guides. Quizzes. Tests that I took myself and purposefully got wrong, and handed it over to the students to grade. Twitter. Blackboard. But nothing has had as much success as Edmodo. And it's simple.
Edmodo is like Twitter for teachers. No kids slaying each other in subtweets 'cause they know classroom norms are enforced. So when I post test questions open ended, the kids take turns answering them, and then when questions are debatable, they debate! When questions are wrong, they correct! I put essays up there and essays improve! So do test grades! It's great, and takes little effort on my part.
It's an app. It's free. Ta. da.
I also love socrative. This is also an app, also free, also beautiful. I verbally give open ended prompts at the beginning of class as a formative assessment, usually reviewing the previous lesson or homework. The kids work in pairs (less likely to give me answers from Tosh.0 the previous night) to answer. I get right answers. I get wrong answers. We talk about them; sometimes rate them. It's anonymous, so kids are less hesitant. They have all sorts of other awesomeness, like modules for you to build MC quizzes, etc. It's all good stuff.
Ta. Da. Again.
Photo via Flickr/Ted Eytan