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Gearing Up For State Testing

Preparing for state tests can be a daunting and stressful task for both students and teachers. As a teacher, it is your responsibility to help your students feel confident and prepared for the challenges ahead. But, there are a plethora of tools and techniques that you can use to help your students excel on their state tests. One of the most effective ways to do this is by incorporating technology into your lessons. In this article, we will discuss some of the top educational technologies available to teachers that can help their students better understand the concepts they need to know in order to perform well on state tests.

So, why should you use technology to prepare for state tests? Technology can make learning more interactive, engaging, and fun for students. It can help students visualize complex concepts and make connections between ideas in a way that is not possible with traditional teaching methods. Additionally, technology can be used to create personalized learning experiences that cater to the unique needs and interests of individual students.

One such technology is Merge. Merge is a virtual and augmented reality platform that allows students to explore and interact with virtual objects and environments. With Merge, students can experience everything from a virtual field trip to the Great Wall of China to a virtual dissection of a frog. By using Merge, students can gain a deeper understanding of complex concepts and ideas, which can help them perform better on state tests.

Additionally Merge can be used to create interactive quizzes and assessments. For example, you could create a quiz where students have to identify different parts of a plant or animal. The quiz could be set up in a way where students have to use the Merge product to manipulate the object and identify the correct parts. This would make the assessment more engaging and interactive for students, and it would also allow you to assess their understanding of the concept in a more meaningful way.

Another great technology that can be used to prepare for state tests is Owlet from BirdBrain Technologies. Owlet is a product that allows students to program and control tools to better understand math concepts while also offering the students instant feedback in a digital platform. With Owlet, students get access to a hands-on, technology-enabled collection of elementary math tools. Owlet’s two manipulatives, Glow and Cube, combine with digital apps to make abstract math concrete for grades K-5.

Glow is part LED display, part etch-a-sketch, and 100 percent about helping math make sense for young learners. Students turn dials and press buttons that control the board’s embedded LED lights and, in turn, illustrate operations, write math equations, and model fractions. Glow works seamlessly via Bluetooth with three free custom-made apps: GlowGrid, GlowPix, and Fractions. The hands-on aspect and digital real-time feedback allow students to visualize math concepts in a new-concrete way. Whereas Cube is a sensor-enabled tower designed to develop knowledge of place value concepts, including whole numbers, decimals, and money. Cube is also made to work with its own set of free, custom-made apps: Cube3 and Cube6.

Owlet’s tools and apps are playful while providing no-distraction opportunities for exploration and discovery. Teachers can align to learning goals while practicing math that actually looks like math. Both Cube and Glow are designed to be used in a variety of classroom instruction situations, including full group instruction, independent work and centers, remediation, and extension work for gifted students.

Dash and KaiBot are two robots that can be used to help students prepare for state tests.   Both programmable robots can be used to teach coding and other STEM-related subjects. Students can learn how to code and program a robot to perform various tasks. This can help them develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for success on state tests. 

One way to use these two robots to prepare for state tests is to have students program the robot to solve problems related to the concepts they are learning. For example, if you are teaching a unit on math, you could have students program the robot to solve a series of math problems. This would allow students to apply the concepts they are learning in a real-world context and would help them better understand the concepts they need to know for the test.

While Dash has been around for a while and is a tried and true robot that many teachers already have or are already familiar with,  KaiBot on the other hand is new.  This revolutionary hybrid coding robot has recently hit the market and is making waves right out of the gate.

This innovative robot blends coding and learning with 3D visualization, creating an immersive learning experience that can be scaled up in complexity as the child learns. With its unique ability to blend the physical and digital worlds, KaiBot allows educators to choose the amount of technology that is brought into play, depending on the age and stage of the student.

This palm-sized black and blue robot allows beginning coders to use command cards to create sequences that the robot can scan and playback, allowing it to participate in races and challenges. As students scan their code, KaiBot can debug right on the screen, helping them learn from their mistakes. The robot can be operated entirely without using a computer screen, or with the addition of its online platform, Kainundrum.  With the use of Kainundrum, its output can be viewed in an interactive 3D environment on a computer or iPad, allowing the use of block-based or python coding and the ability to develop their own games using lasers, coins, gates, and mirrors.

Manipulatives, such as robots and digital tools, play a vital role in helping students transition from concrete to abstract thinking in almost every subject. These learning objects allow students to visualize mathematical symbols, operations, and concepts, making it easier for them to understand and learn. Additionally, these tools can be used in social studies and language arts classes to enhance web-based research and digital storytelling, allowing students to create engaging and interactive projects while deepening their concept knowledge.


In addition to these technologies, there are also several strategies and techniques that teachers can use to help their students prepare for state tests. 

Set clear expectations

Setting clear expectations is another crucial factor in preparing students for state tests. As a teacher, you should be clear about what is expected of your students, the format of the test, and the areas that will be covered. Provide students with practice tests, sample questions, and review sessions to help them prepare for the actual test. Give feedback on student performance and use the data to adjust your teaching strategies accordingly.

Use various data collection and assessment techniques

Another strategy is to use formative assessments. Formative assessments are assessments that are used throughout the learning process to gauge student understanding and progress. By using formative assessments, teachers can identify areas where students are struggling and provide targeted support to help them improve.

One technique that can be used in conjunction with formative assessments is differentiated instruction. Differentiated instruction is an approach that involves tailoring instruction to the individual needs and learning styles of each student. By using differentiated instruction, teachers can provide targeted support to students who are struggling and challenge students who are excelling.

Finally, it's important to create a positive and supportive learning environment for your students. This means that as a teacher, you need to be mindful of the language you use, how you respond to students, and the tone you set in the classroom. By creating an environment where students feel safe and supported, you can help reduce anxiety and improve their performance on state tests. This can be accomplished by encouraging students to ask questions, participate in class discussions, and be active learners. When students feel supported and motivated, they are more likely to engage in the learning process, which can translate into better performance on tests.  Building positive relationships with your students, providing them with regular feedback and support, and celebrating their successes will go a long way in preparing for a successful state test outcome.  While strategies and tools are key for engagement, a positive and supportive learning environment is required before learning can of any kind can be successful.

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