One way to increase student engagement and facilitate deeper learning is to frequently check for student understanding throughout a lesson. Formative Assessment is one of John Hattieā€™s top 10 instructional moves that has a big effect on student achievement.

Practitioners find many benefits in using frequent assessment techniques to simultaneously check all students' level of understanding.

My three favorite technology tools increase student engagement and quickly get students thinking visually so teachers can adjust and differentiate instruction on the spot. All three technology tools are free, teacher-friendly, and the student data can be saved and graphed to facilitate data charts.

Padlet is an online bulletin board used to support collaboration, discussion, and checking for student understanding. Padlet is similar to a virtual wall in which students can answer questions, express their thoughts on a common topic and share feedback.

Just like Post-It notes, students answer or comment on content by sharing text, images, videos or documents. Students can share their content from any device. Padlet is a great resource for collecting student data before, during or after a lesson.

As a self-reflection tool, students can revisit peers post-it notes throughout a lesson to add or refine comments. Check out this six-minute tutorial on how Padlet can be used in your classroom.

Senteos SMART Technology Clickers are helpful for collecting student data and providing students with instant feedback, but if you don't have many class sets or the funds to purchase more, Socrative is a great substitute.

Socrative lets teachers engage and assess their students on tablets, laptops and smartphones. Through the use of real-time questioning, instant result aggregation and visualization for all students, teachers can gauge the whole class' current level of understanding on any given concept.

This technology tool allows teachers to visually display and save class data as student enter their responses. I especially love the interactive space race battleship quizzes and the generic exit ticket options.

Plickers is a powerful tool that lets teachers collect real-time formative assessment data without the need for student devices. Many teachers project questions and answer choices on the board from the Live View tab of the website, give students a designated thinking time to problem-solve, and then countdown to a "show cards!" moment.

Live View will update with student results in real-time. Unique shapes on each Plickers card help protect students' privacy so they can answer your questions honestly without worrying about what their peers think of their answer. See a Plickers in action here.