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How Castle Helps Create Tests and Assignments When Teaching Virtually

June 1, 2020

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While school districts are still working on instructional plans for the fall, many leaders project that some virtual teaching will continue through the 2020-2021 school year. The ability to be flexible requires educators to evaluate educational tools for their utility and ease-of-use for remote teaching. 

 

Many teachers say that assigning and grading work and tests has been one of the most challenging aspects of teaching virtually. Every digital assignment or test that teachers give to students requires the teacher to complete five steps before uploading it to the learning management system. 

 

  1. Create questions aligned to the curriculum.
  2. Add relevant resources for students to use.
  3. Ensure legal rights to use the content.
  4. Provide accommodations and differentiation.
  5. Preview the assignment from the students’ perspective.

 

Castle Learning’s cloud-based system makes all five steps simple. Its flexibility makes it a useful tool for in-person, remote, and hybrid learning environments. Giving teachers the tools they need to “work smarter, not harder,” improves instruction and prevents burnout.

 

How Castle Learning Helps Teachers Create Questions Aligned to the Curriculum

 

Castle Learning has a question bank of over 170,000 questions searchable by standard, level, topic, skill, keyword, and question type. The Castle Learning questions come in several formats including multiple-choice, drag and drop, matching, choose all that apply, extended reply/short essay, (constructed response), and fill in the blank. There is also a large selection of reading sets which are lexile leveled. 

 

There will be times when teachers want to create unique questions based on a unit of study. That is easy to do, and the software walks the user through each step. The cloud-based system facilitates collaboration with team members to share the workload.

 

Once an assignment is created, teachers save it to use for multiple classes, year after year - just like they do with paper assignments.

 

How Castle Learning Helps Teachers Add Relevant Resources for Students

 

After creating the assignment or test, it is easy to add resources and notes for students to access. Uploading a PDF, video, or website link takes mere seconds. 

 

How Castle Learning Helps Teachers Not Violate Copyright Laws

 

Many teachers new to teaching virtually feel insecure about their right to use some digital resources. Subscribers like the confidence that they have an extensive library of Castle Learning reading sets and questions that they can use legally. As always, any assignment teachers create themselves will not violate copyright laws. Many open resources are available on the internet. Please ask teachers to refrain from using material they do not have the license to use or are unsure of the origin.

 

How Castle Learning Helps Teachers Provide Accommodations, Scaffolding, and Differentiation

 

Teaching virtually with outdated technology makes providing accommodations, scaffolding, and differentiation unnecessarily challenging. Luckily, our technology solves many of the most common problems. Students can use text to speech, and Google Translate with most questions. Teachers can allow some students extra time to take a test. Teachers can issue an auto retake of an assignment if the student doesn’t meet a set mastery level.

 

The software makes scaffolding intuitive by providing students instant feedback in the form of hints, related vocabulary and answer reasons. Modifying assignments is so quick that teachers can create several versions to differentiate for various levels and needs. 

 

How Castle Learning Helps Teachers Preview the Assignment from a Student Perspective

 

Previewing assignments and tests as students will see them reduces errors and miscommunications common with remote instruction. Click the “assign to self” button, and the teacher can go through the assignment as a student. The layout and robust tools available aids student learning and feedback. If, after reviewing an assignment, the teacher decides to change any aspect of the assignment, it is easy to edit.

 

How Castle Learning Helps Teachers Troubleshoot

 

While robust virtual technology is key to successful remote teaching, any new tool requires that a teacher learn how to use it. Castle Learning guides the user to create the first class and assignments quickly. Written instructions, short video tutorials, and webinars are easily accessible so even a novice will quickly take advantage of the great features. If the content still doesn’t answer a question, customer support is a click away.

 

If you are trying to ease the burden of virtual teaching and improve instruction, providing teachers with appropriate technological tools will make a big impact. 

 

Of course, creating assignments is only half of the equation. In the next blog, see how Castle Learning helps with delivering and grading assignments.

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