ISTE Presentation Highlights: Using Edtech For Formative Teaching

By David Kwan (Formative Community Manager, former special Educator)

Happy 2017 everyone! On Saturday, we got the opportunity to present about the idea of formative teaching. It was exciting because formative teaching is a new term that we think should be spread worldwide and practiced with technology. Click here to watch our full presentation or if you just want the highlights, read on below:


1) To understand what formative teaching is, we can look at a more familiar term, formative assessment. Many people have different ideas of what formative assessment means:


2) If we assume that an assessment is a check for learning, we can simply look at the adjective, formative, to describe formative assessment. The bottom line is that YOU make an assessment formative:

3) David Wees' chart below shows different formative assessment strategies from Dylan Wiliam (top row) and how teachers practice them in different instructional routines (far left column) throughout the class period. As you can see, what you need to do to help shape student development goes far beyond frequently administering assessments and giving written feedback on them:


4) And so, whereas formative assessment can provide you with useful data, we believe formative teaching does a better job of acknowledging your role in driving student development and encompassing all the strategies you use: 

5) Speaking from personal experience, practicing formative teaching and all the strategies that can come with it, can be a daunting time and workload challenge. That being said, Formative ( can help you gather live insights, given instant written feedback and scores, and spend more time actually planning the interactions that actually help shape student development (ex: student-centered class discussions where students can be activated as instructional resources for each other)...

6) And very soon, you'll be able to see how a class or an individual student is doing a specific standard or skill over time, to not only see if they've grown, but how to help them learn more...