I sat through a wonderful webinar today with Donna Neblett from Discovery (who else, right?). Donna took us on a quick down-and-dirty tour of ThinkLink reporting and assessments. I had already seen a little of this at NECC, but once again I was totally blown away by the possibilities this software has to offer.
We will use ThinkLink this year as a pilot to see how it does for us in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. I was prepared to just do Math and Language Arts, but if I understood Donna right there should be a Science component soon. In fact, there are several upgrades coming when they roll out a new website on August 7th of this year.
Let me just comment on a couple of quick things about what I saw today. First, I was reminded just how terrific the drill-down is on reports. Teachers can see what standards are known and unknown by students, what specific students know or don’t know, and even if the students are missing easy, moderate, or hard questions in that area. The impact this could have on teaching and re-teaching is enormous for us!
Second, not only are there pre-made assessments to give four times a year, but there is a totally separate bank of questions to pull from to make up practice tests/quizzes with one or more questions of your choosing. Again, you can choose from easy, moderate, or hard questions. For most teachers, this might be a great tool to re-assess specific kids who may have failed a classroom test or had make-up work from an absence. For the kids in my computer labs, this may turn out to be their five-minute warm-up each day. After all, the kids get 2 chances at each question and ThinkLink grades and stores the information in a gradebook for me to pull up later!
This year, our principal is so excited about the possibilities of ThinkLink, he has given me an extra planning period just to process the data for the campus and keep teachers informed. This means individual teachers will not have to take responsibility for learning the system in its entirety while we pilot the program. I think that will be a big plus for us!
So, if you are a STAR DEN member, and you have not activated your free account in ThinkLink don’t waste another day! If you are not a STAR DEN member, what are you waiting for? The wonderful FREE resources available through Discovery are worth the teen-tiny-itsy-bitsy details involved in taking your DEN membership to the next level!
Wacth this blog throughout the year as I comment on how we’re doing with the program. I’d love to have some comments from others who have used the program or are just starting along with us!