By Anya Kamenetz
Imagine you’re playing a computer game that asks you to design a poster for the school fair. You’re fiddling with fonts, changing background colors and deciding what activity to feature: Will a basketball toss appeal to more people than a pie bake-off?
Then, animal characters — maybe a panda or an ostrich — offer feedback on your design. You can choose whether to hear a compliment or a complaint: “The words are overlapping too much,” or, “I like that you put in the dates.”
“They’re not just measures of what the student already knows, but attempts to measure whether they are prepared to continue learning when they’re no longer told exactly what to do.”
You can use their critiques as guides to help you revise your poster. Finally, you get to see how many tickets your poster sold.
This little Web-based game isn’t just a game. It’s a test, too.