Thinking Creatively About Mobile Assessments

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Canvas provides instructors with an opportunity to rethink the technological side of their course - and mobile activity is one of the major areas in which this occurs! As I watched the video series for mobile assignments (which is fantastic, by the way), it really made me think that we design courses as if we are transferring them from paper to electronic, instead of being "born digital."

The examples of taking a picture of specific items was interesting! I could imagine a sort of a library scavenger hunt that included these pieces (i.e. take a picture of this book on the shelf in the Library, take a selfie of yourself working on a computer in the lab, take a picture of a 3-d object that you printed in the makerspace). It would transform the regular "get acquainted with your Library" into a sort of an "Amazing Race" experience.

I could also imagine a more research-based assignment. Perhaps the course is on ecology, and you encourage the students to take pictures of flora and fauna, requiring geo-referencing of the image. Then, you download the results and generate a custom Google Map of the results.

What other examples can you think of, as ways to creatively engage students with mobile activities?

There are so many exciting opportunities available when we begin to think about the tools that are available, and how to best use them. The instruction becomes more of a transformational experience where students realize that education and learning is real and could be a lifelong pursuit.

After all, curiosity is one of the early steps of expertise, right?

Community Coach
Community Coach


The ideas are pretty limitless, as long as your students have the devices and materials needed to complete the activity. What's good about Canvas is there is a mobile platform that helps us do a lot of these mobile first activities. 

What other examples can you think of, as ways to creatively engage students with mobile activities?

Anything related to photos is a great starter activity for students. Most students are interested in taking photos (or at least it's second nature). This can include photo editing, annotations, and effects and not just a simple "submit photo" assignment.‌ just demonstrated this was a wonderful blog post: Mobilized Photography Final 

Here are a few other ideas:

  • Create interesting videos with apps like Animoto or Voice Thread
  • Use apps like SoundCloud for music or storytelling
  • Educreations or ShowMe to create interactive whiteboards
  • Snapseed, Instagram, or Layouts to edit photos and create collages 
  • Dropbox, Google Drive, or Office 365 to create and share documents and presentations
  • Prezi and Haiku Deck to create presentations 

Even though some of these tools can be web only, there are a lot of mobile features that can create a mobile first experience.  

I'm curious to see what others think! 

Community Coach
Community Coach

This is such a fun opportunity to collaborate!

When creating assignments for my students, I try my best to vary the levels of thinking required, as described in Blooms Taxonomy. While not every single assignment needs to be at the highest level (it is super important for students to reach all of them!), it is awesome to be able to distribute the digital assignments/activities with this philosophy in mind. (I believe that Bloom's Taxonomy and Canvas has a great conversation already going about this!)


Ryan mentioned a few ideas, but thinking creatively could easily start with changing the way an instructor utilizes the already-existing tools in Canvas. 

Some additional ideas for assignment "tools", to add to's list:

  • Padlet or Glogster or Padlet (which integrates will with Canvas!) - think of these like digital bulletin boards
  • Google Drawings - great for diagrams, mind-maps, compare/contrast, etc
  • ExplainEverything - another option alongside Educreations, ShowMe
  • GarageBand / iMovie - audio and video options for Apple
  • Strip Designer / ComicBook! - encourage students to visually communicate main ideas
  • Canva - make beautiful graphics, easily - web or apps
  • Adobe Spark Posts / Page / Video - web or apps

There are many many ideas out there. I think I could make a blog post just on some of these options. However, when it comes down to it, I genuinely feel that the creativity comes more from the instructor rather than the tool. Yes, the tool needs to be engaging, relevant, and mobile-friendly, but the task, thinking, and outcomes are critical! How can you get the students to interact with content, draw conclusions/connections, and then reiterate or demonstrate their understanding? The possibilities are endless!

Community Coach
Community Coach

I know this is a little out of date, but at UCF we created OTTR (Online Tools & Taxonomy
Resource) which would be relevant in this conversation: 

Community Coach
Community Coach

Thanks for getting this started Caryn 

Here are a few examples of how I weave blended learning into my into class programs.

Connecting with Families

 LMS newsletters and updates

Videos of excursions, assemblies or special events

Challenges for students to undertake at home

Students work showcased

Resources for parents re supporting their children’s education eg. How to support your child with reading, maths, writing at home.

Connected Learners

Students accessing learning while away on holiday or sick

Guest speakers ‘beaming in’ from different parts of the world

Sister schools in different countries sharing learning opportunities

Students offer feedback to each other about their work online

Students create online resources for their buddy classes or sister school

Teaching and Learning

Tasks set, criteria, rubrics available online

Feedback/feed forward opportunities

Flipped learning situations

Students create reviews (book reviews, event reviews etc)

Games and activities to support learning

Term reviews and goal setting

Integrating the curriculum with different tasks and resources available within one context of learning

Personalised learning opportunities – students drive the learning, setting goals, making plans and learning within or without the online environment

Differentiation – group or individual tasks set by the teacher

Whole school vision or values focus supported through examples shared online

Formative Assessment




Students giving feedback to each other and to the teacher

Purpose/Authentic Audience

Reason to create work for real audiences to view

Variety of audiences eg. class, peers, buddy class, families, extended family, classes overseas



Make the most of sharing interesting or fun asides for real world involvement. This is a real hook to get students involved with the online learning environment.