How Testing Students In a Virtual Environment Can Be Effective

When it comes to looking at educational trends, virtual learning is at the top of that list. While incorporating technology into the classroom is certainly not a novel idea, the extent of integration and the emerging technologies becoming available to teachers certainly are.

Gone are the days when the classroom teacher uses an overhead projector or wheels a television cart to the front of the class. Nowadays, students can engage with the teacher and their peers, watch multimedia presentations, play educational games, and conduct original research on their devices at home or at school.  Schools with one to one devices make it easy to encourage the use of virtual teaching, learning and research.

And while the virtual learning possibilities are now endless, it’s not always easy to find the best digital solution for every purpose.

Take for example, assessments. Converting assessments to a digital format hasn’t always been a simple process. While newer teachers are often quick to transition to new technologies, more experienced teachers and the government can certainly struggle when it comes to making the change.

Even for those who are excited to make the shift to assessing students virtually, they haven’t always been given the right tools to make that shift solid and seamless.

In fact, many virtual schools use web conferencing systems designed for businesses to assess their students. But frankly, web conferencing systems just aren’t built for that purpose.

While teachers are able to place students in break-out rooms during testing, they have to hop between rooms one at a time making sure that students are working diligently and not using outside resources. It’s a very inefficient method of testing for education, and it expends a lot of time and energy on the teacher’s part.

Fortunately, there are much better solutions when it comes to virtual testing.

Jigsaw Interactive, a technology company focused on teaching and learning, has created secure testing rooms that offer an easy way to test students virtually.  By simply creating a specialized “testing” room, all students enter the same room but they see no one else who’s in the room.  They can see and hear the teacher only. 

The students are unable to communicate with their peers, but they can raise their hands or chat the teacher. The teacher can then speak with them privately, with the touch of a button, and answer any questions they may have. And when they’re finished talking, the teacher can easily touch that same button to end their private conversation.

Moreover, the students’ microphones are automatically turned on so the teacher can tell if a student is getting coached by parents while testing.  All student webcams are activated in testing rooms so the teacher can also ensure it’s the student taking the test.

These secure testing rooms are an awesome tool for virtual teachers, but what about using them for standardized tests?

While many states are concerned with equity when it comes to online standardized tests, wanting to make sure that all students have access to a computer and the internet, and that accommodations are being met for students with special needs, more states are converting standardized tests to a digital format every year.  Using a virtual environment for testing has the ability to potentially save thousands if not millions of dollars for schools and school systems. 

So having the appropriate tools for testing in a virtual environment is now more important than ever.