Teacher, Crystal Springs Uplands School
When I first started teaching at Crystal Spring there was a big push to utilize the 1:1 device program as much as possible. I had been working to transition to a completely paperless classroom, and wanted a more secure way for my students to complete assessments at home or complete writing pieces outside of the classroom. This desire led me and our technology director, Peter, to begin looking for and evaluating different assessment platforms.
DigiExam checked off a lot of the components that we were looking for in a digital assessment platform. We mainly were looking for the ability to lock down the student’s computer and prevent internet usage. We also really appreciated DigiExam’s responsiveness to teachers and their users. It’s nice to know their updates and new features are based on what their users are actually asking for. Some of the features we requested, such as open book mode, were recently implemented.
The start-up wasn’t very difficult at all. The walkthrough of the platform only took about an hour, and then we were ready to get started. Initially, it takes a bit of time to create some exams and enter in the student information, however, in the long run it saves a lot of time. Next year it will be nearly effortless and I’ll be able to easily reuse the assessments and questions I already have created.
So far I’ve been using DigiExam for quizzes and assessments that are created in class. I’m now able to grade more quickly and type my comments much faster, which has helped me to give better, more specific feedback to the students. The rubric is also an exciting feature. It gives students the opportunity to see how they’re doing across a number of assessments and see how their progress has changed throughout the year. Another feature I’m very excited about is the open book mode! Students complete their writing but can also go do research at the same time, which opened up a whole new use case.
For many students typing is very important, so they definitely appreciate DigiExam. It’s faster for them, it’s easier for them to revise their work and they have the option to use spell check. Some students have even started pushing other teachers within the school to make the switch. We completed a practice test before using it for an actual assessment, which helped us to work out logistics and gave students a chance to feel comfortable with the platform. It’s clean and easy-to-use, so it really only took students the one practice exam to feel comfortable. I think it’s also providing a valuable lesson in stress-management. It’s giving the kids the ability to make a choice. They can choose the environment they’re most comfortable in to complete their assignment, which is important for both the teachers and students.