If you are looking for a quick way to check for student understanding of new material, to give a quiz or formative assessment, or to provide a fun way to review for a test, several awesome websites are available! Here’s a short description of four that would be fun to try. Numerous others are available, too. I’ve tried to highlight a few things that make each of these unique.
Kahoot! is the “original” of the online gameshow-type review games. Teachers set-up the quiz in advance – either creating a new quiz or using one of the millions of Public Kahoot!s. Students join the game by going to kahoot.it on any device and entering the Game Pin given by the teacher. All questions and answers are displayed on a projector (and not on individual devices) so everyone answers at the same time. Points are awarded based on correct answers and speed of answering. The class works through one question at a time, which allows teachers to pause and discuss questions as needed.
Quizizz is one of the newer websites I have heard about, and it is often listed as an alternative to Kahoot!. One of the main differences from Kahoot! is that the questions and answers are displayed on each individual device, and students work through a quiz at their own pace. Students join a game with a code like Kahoot!, but Quizizz games can be played in class or can be assigned as homework.
Click HERE for a comparison of Kahoot! and Quizizz by Becky Keith on infogr.am
Socrative has three different options for assessment: Quiz, Space Race (competition), or Exit Ticket. A teacher can also ask a quick question, which gives generic answer choices to a verbal or projected question and answers. Students join the quiz or game with a code that allows them to join a “room” created by the teacher. Teachers can tag questions with state standards and can share quizzes with other teachers. Questions can be multiple choice, short answer, or true/false. Additionally, teachers can use the mastery tracker and reports to determine student understanding and progress.
Plickers is different from the others in that students DO NOT need their own device. Instead, students use a pre-printed card to display their answers. The cards can be printed for free on the Plickers website. Questions are restricted to multiple choice (up to four choices) or true/false. The teacher must have the Plickers app on his/her mobile device to scan student answers. Class and student information can be set-up online, which allows teachers to track individual student understanding and progress.
Two other review/quiz websites worth mentioning are Quizlet and Quizalize. Quizlet provides additional tools for studying, including flashcards. Quizalize touts itself as “the number one formative assessment tool” and is most similar to Socrative.
Let me know in the comments if you have used any of these formative assessment/quiz platforms, and if you have used more than one, let me know which one is your favorite!
EDpuzzle is a FREE interactive website (and app) that allows a teacher to take almost any video from the internet, edit it to include only the parts wanted, add audio commentary and questions for students, and create a virtual classroom to track student work. Click HERE for an EDpuzzle welcome and to give EDpuzzle’s tools a trial run.
Once teachers have created accounts, they may create their own content from videos already on EDpuzzle or may create content using an online video from elsewhere. Additionally, all created/edited videos are public, which allows teachers to use content created by others.
This is a great tool for using the “flipped classroom” model, but it has many other applications as well. In my class, I have shown an EDpuzzle video on my SmartBoard that included embedded questions for my students. I had edited the video to pause and display a question at several different points. My students answered these questions in an Edmodo assignment on their computers. I have not sent out a video to my students individually yet, but I plan to try it soon.
I also see this as a good tool for a teacher to use when he or she is planning to miss school. The substitute teacher can show a teacher-created or teacher-chosen EDpuzzle video on the SmartBoard and students can answer questions either on paper or digitally. The pauses and questions are built into the video, which can encourage better student engagement. As mentioned above, EDpuzzle also allows teachers to crop videos to show only specific parts, if needed.
EDpuzzle integrates with Google accounts, which allowed me to import my Business Management students directly from Google Classroom. It was a one-step process, and all of those students are now set-up within EDpuzzle. I do not currently use Google Classroom with my other classes, but it will be relatively easy to give my students a class code and have them create their own student accounts. Students are not required to have or use an email address to register. In addition to watching teacher-assigned videos and answering questions, students can create their own private videos using EDpuzzle’s tools.
If you are interested in learning more about EDpuzzle, I would suggest taking a look at these two blog posts:
Catlin Tucker provides step-by-step EDpuzzle instructions HERE.
Richard Byrne’s video shows the main features of EDpuzzle HERE.
This is a tool I plan to use more frequently this semester!
One of my goals for 2017 is to frequently share resources and online tools with my coworkers and administrators and help them implement more technology within our school. To keep myself on track, I stole a popular idea (Tech Tip Tuesday) and adapted it for my use. I sent out my first tech tip via email on Tuesday. This week, I shared about Symbaloo EDU, which I have also written about in the Resources section on this website. The following is my information about Symbaloo and how I use it with my students:
One of my favorite FREE online tools is Symbaloo, specifically Symbaloo EDU. Symbaloo is a website and an app that helps you remember, organize, and manage your online resources. In other words, it is a tool that saves your internet bookmarks so you can access them from any device! I often work from different devices throughout my day (school computers, laptop, tablet, phone) and need access to various websites for both school and personal use. This tool allows me to access a web resource regardless of what device I originally saved it on. Symbaloo helps save and organize resources by allowing you to create a Webmix (or multiple Webmixes) that is stored in the cloud. Below is a Webmix I created with links to EdTech Tools for Teachers. Each icon on the ONLINE VERSION of the Webmix is a link to that particular website.
I have also found uses for Symbaloo with my classes. Before doing a short unit on the basics of computer coding, I created a “Coding for Kids” Symbaloo Webmix (shown below). I shared the link to this Webmix with my students via our class Edmodo page and told them they could try any of the coding websites linked there. This gave them freedom to choose what type of coding they wanted to learn and also gave them a resource for learning coding on their own time.
Another Webmix (shown below) I created for my students gives them links to different “presentation and/or infographic creation” websites. After we cover Microsoft PowerPoint, I like to show them similar tools that are available online. We usually do at least one project using the websites on this Webmix, and I let them choose which one they would like to use.
Symbaloo is an easy way to share any online resources with students. For instance, if you would like your students to only use specific websites for a research project, you can create a Symbaloo with links to those webpages.
I am not going to go into the specifics of creating a Webmix here, but if you like what you see, go to www.symbalooedu.com or download the Symbaloo App and create an account. It does not take a lot of time to set up your first Webmix. Additionally, many awesome Webmixes have already been created by teachers, and you can use them without having to create your own!
One thing I love about summer is the opportunity to coach and hang out with student-athletes outside of the normal school setting. Between open gyms, team camps, and summer leagues, I have the opportunity to get to know my student-athletes better. Sometimes we spend most of the day together: playing games/matches, eating meals, and talking during the downtime between games. The kids are less stressed since they're not worried about school or homework and are more willing to talk.
Right now the basketball girls are in the middle of their second team camp. Today, we played three games against some rather tough competition, but it's apparent to me that they are evolving into a more cohesive team and will be much improved by the time our season starts in December. I'm impressed by how much some of the girls have improved! The volleyball girls are currently playing in a weekly summer league, which began last Thursday. This year's summer league will be used to try different lineups; our goal is to have a solid lineup by the time we go to an overnight team camp in Branson next month.
This next year's senior class was my first class at the I-High, so I feel a special bond with them. I am excited to spend extra time with the volleyball seniors this summer to prepare them for their leadership role during the fall season. I became even more excited after participating in my district's SRI PLC facilitator training a few weeks ago. I learned some valuable tools and ideas to help the seniors develop goals and plan team building for the upcoming season. My goal is for the seniors to take "ownership" of the volleyball program (specifically the varsity team) and the outcome of the season. I believe they will have great success (and lots of fun memories!) if they are given the responsibility to make team decisions, plan team bonding events, and hold each other accountable (among other things). I cannot wait for my first meeting with the seniors at the end of this month!
Hooray for sweet, sweet summertime!
Our school year started two weeks ago! So far, I'm doing everything I can to stay afloat during this busy time. Volleyball season is in full swing, with matches at least three days a week. I also added new responsibilities this year (leadership and yearbook), so I have been learning what each of those adviser roles entail. I'll certainly be happy when my days become more routine (if that ever happens). :)
The focus in my Computer Applications classes has been Digital Citizenship. We have spent a few days discussing Internet safety, online reputations, and digital footprints. I have mostly used lesson materials from CommonSense Media, but I also had the students do an activity from Digizen. Before we finish the unit on Digital Citizenship, I plan to cover copyrights, plagiarism, and Creative Commons; online research and website evaluation; and cyberbullying.
The beginning of the year is always a little challenging in computer classes because the students don't receive computer access right away. Most of my students now have their network log-ins, so I'm anxious to move forward with computer-based assignments and projects. I set up my classes on Edmodo, and the students have joined in. We are ready to roll. I'm excited for this year and the learning possibilities that will come with it!
Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend my first EdCamp! EdCamp Kansas (the first ever in the state) was held at Wichita State University on August 3, 2013. I stumbled upon this event a few months ago when I had just started using Twitter for professional development. As a native Kansan, the Kansas ed chat (#KSed) was one of the first ed chats I became interested in, even though I teach in Oklahoma. I lurked for several weeks, reading through the discussion. During one of the discussions, the participants mentioned an upcoming EdCamp, so I Google searched to find out more about it. After reading about the general EdCamp format and specifically about #EdCampKS, I knew this was something I wanted to attend!
Here’s my recap of the events:
On Friday night, the #EdCampKS organizers hosted a TweetUp at Public at the Brickyard in Old Town Wichita. This gave #EdCampKS participants an opportunity to meet each other face-to-face before the official EdCamp on Saturday. At first I decided to skip the TweetUp because I would arrive late to the party. Few things in life make me more nervous than having to walk in late by myself to a social event. Eeek! Fortunately, one of the #EdCampKS founders, Anthony Purcell (@MrP_tchr), is from my hometown, and we were in high school at the same time. We reconnected on Twitter, and he encouraged me to come to the TweetUp. Once I arrived, he saw me walk in, found me a chair, and promptly introduced me to others. (Thanks, Anthony!) I’m glad I didn’t miss the TweetUp. Having the opportunity to meet others before the main event helped me feel a lot more comfortable on Saturday.
On Saturday morning, I arrived at the Corbin Education Building at WSU. I was armed with my parents’ iPad Mini, so I could take notes using Evernote and participate in the conference’s backchannel on Twitter. I checked in and took in my surroundings. Five poster boards, each with a classroom number at the top, were lying on tables. We would be using these five classrooms for EdCamp. The organizers had decided that we would have five one-hour sessions (9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 1:30, 2:30), so each poster board was divided into five time slots. Some of the time slots on the various posters were filled, but many were still blank – waiting for an attendee to fill it with a topic they would present. Any EdCamp participant can choose to lead a session.
The first session I went to was about Minecraft PE (Pocket Edition) presented by William Chamberlain (@wmchamberlain), his wife, and his two daughters (Aidan and Quinci). Using AirServer, the girls’ mobile device screens were displayed on a projection screen, so we could watch them play Minecraft. Aidan explained the basics of the game and told us several things she had learned from playing. Other educators in the room shared how Minecraft (and especially Minecraft PE) could be used in the classroom. Minecraft PE is worth looking into for classrooms that have 1:1 iPads. Quinci also gave a quick demonstration of Toontastic (Pirate version), which is a story-telling app. The app gives you the start of a scene, and then you decide how to finish it by moving the puppet characters, recording your voice, and adding background music. After recording all of the scenes, they are put together to form the story, which you can watch from start to finish. The app allows you to pick which story elements (intro, rise, climax, conclusion, etc.) to include; this could be a great way to introduce these to younger students.
“I didn’t know Google did that!” was the second session that I attended. The Kansas teacher of the year, Dyane Smokorowski (@Mrs_Smoke) led this informative session about lesser-known Google tools and search techniques. For some reason, I had never used Google Voice to search. It especially makes sense to speak search terms when you’re using a mobile device, so you don’t have to type on your smart phone’s keyboard! We also learned about Google Goggles; something I’ll try on my next travel adventure. Next, Dyane showed us how to access newspaper archives using the News: Archives search feature. This is an awesome way to find primary resources. We then moved on to searching for Images using Google. I’ve used some of these tools before, but I did learn a few new things. For example, I had never thought about searching for line drawings to learn how to draw something. At the end of the session, we spent some time on Wolfram Alpha, a data search engine I’ve rarely used. As a self-proclaimed lover of data and statistics, this site is amazing! We searched for Justin Bieber and specifically looked at a graph that showed his rise in popularity (based on number of daily hits of his Wikipedia page). We also did a comparison of states using Wolfram Alpha search (Kansas vs. Oklahoma vs. Nebraska). This is such a cool way to look at two or more entities side-by-side. I hope to find ways to use this in my classroom this year.
The third session I attended was an opportunity to play with and learn more about Google Chromebooks. Dr. Moody from Fort Hays State University brought 30 Chromebooks to EdCampKS to give educators a chance to try them hands-on. After logging on to the Chromebooks with our individual Google accounts, we created a Google+ Community for those of us in the room. This was very easy to set up and manage. We talked about advantages to working in the cloud versus saving work to an individual computer. We also discussed the lower cost of Chromebooks versus touch-screen tablets and why it might be beneficial to have a full, attached keyboard. I really like the idea of students using Chromebooks in the classroom. My school district is already using Google Apps for Education and with the lower cost and high versatility of Chromebooks, I think they could be a great option for us.
Lunch was the next item on the agenda. I went to lunch with Anibal (@AnibalPachecoIT), Lisa (@techintegratio1), and Laura (@LauraGilchrist4) at The Anchor in Old Town. The food was fabulous, especially the fried cheesecake we shared! We took advantage of this time to talk education, Google Glass, Google Fiber, iPads versus Chromebooks, and WordPress versus Blogger. Anibal also shared some entertaining personal stories! I enjoyed the informal learning time just as much as the formal sessions.
After lunch, I went to the App Smackdown session. Session attendees shared their favorite app or apps. We used AirPlay to display each presenter’s iPad on the projection screen. Lindsey (@Lindsey_Hogan), another #EdCampKS founder, started a shared Google Doc and Tweeted out the link, so we could collectively keep track of all the apps being shared. Although I do not currently have an iPad or tablet, I wanted to attend this session to watch the sharing process and possibly learn about a few apps that are also web-based. Some cool apps that I learned about during this session: Zapd (“social websites in 60 seconds from your phone”), Storybook Maker (book maker for kids), Questimate! (estimation game where you make the questions). One educator also mentioned an assignment for students: each student picks an app to research, learns about it, creates a short presentation, presents to the class, and then presents to teachers. I love this idea, and I think I can adapt it so students research educational websites. I would love for my students to present and share with their teachers!
The final session I attended was Rocks and Sucks. Anthony and Dyane facilitated this friendly debate about hot topics in education. One side of the room was designated as “Rocks” and the other as “Sucks”. As each new topic was displayed, every person had to decide whether he/she thought it was an awesome idea or a terrible idea and move to the appropriate side of the room. People were also allowed to be in the middle, but I tried to force myself to make a choice. After everyone had moved, we debated the issue for two minutes on the clock. One or two people spoke for each side and others added their thoughts as time allowed. Regardless of which side I was on, it was fun to hear people’s differing opinions. Dan (@dankrutka) and Levi (@_levi_) played Devil’s advocate when most people chose one side on an issue. Debates like this are always a good reminder that positives and negatives exist for almost every idea.
Wow! What a fun day of learning! I’m so glad I had the opportunity to attend the first annual #EdCampKS. I enjoyed meeting other educators face-to-face to discuss education and technology and learn together at an “unconference”. I gained a bunch of awesome educator friends from whom I will continue to learn via Twitter and meet up with again at future EdCamps! I loved having a choice of what sessions to attend based on my professional development needs. It was also fun to meet people in my Twitter PLN (personal learning network) in person. And most importantly, I now own an awesome yellow #EdCampKS t-shirt!
Next year’s #EdCampKS will be on June 13, 2014 at Andover High School in Wichita. You should put it on your calendar now and plan to be there! A huge thank you to #EdCampKS founders and organizers: Dan (@dankrutka), Anthony (@MrP_tchr), Lindsey (@Lindsey_Hogan), and Greg (@gormang). Can’t wait until next year!
High School Business & Technology Teacher in Skiatook, Oklahoma.
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