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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Three Good Ways to Use Socrative In Your Classroom

The last part of the short presentation about backchannels and informal assessment that I gave at the Texas Library Association's conference was spent on Socrative. Just as I did for Padlet and TodaysMeet, I shared three ways that Socrative can be used in school. Those ways are outlined below.

Use Socrative to gather anonymous questions and answers:
The single response activities in Socrative allow students to reply to your prompt or question without entering their names. In a single response activity you verbally pose a question or prompt to your students and they respond with a word, sentence, or multiple choice selection. The anonymous reply format is useful for surveying students when you’re asking them to submit responses to questions or prompts that they might be reluctant to share in an open format.

Use Socrative to administer short quizzes:
The quiz-based activities in Socrative allow you to give your students short quizzes that include multiple choice, true/ false, and short answer responses. The new option to include pictures in your questions allows you ask questions about diagrams, charts, and any other item that you have an image of. You can set the quiz to give students immediate feedback on the multiple choice and true/ false questions. You can see the results of the quizzes in real-time and download a report of all students’ answers when all of your students have completed the quiz.

Use Socrative to host a “space race” in your classroom:
A fun way to use Socrative is to host a team "space race." A space race is a competitive format for quizzes. Space race can be played as a team or individual activity. Each correct answer moves a rocket ship across the screen. The first person or team to get their rocket across the screen wins. Your space race questions can be pulled from a quiz that you have stored in your Socrative account.

Three Good Ways to Use Padlet In Your School

This afternoon at the Texas Library Association's annual conference I gave a short presentation about backchannels and informal assessment. Some of you may have seen the Padlet wall that I posted here for a few hours as a part of that presentation. During the presentation I mentioned three ways to use Padlet in schools. Those ways are described below.

Using Padlet as a KWL chart:
Padlet can be used to create a KWL chart that students can contribute to anonymously (or not anonymously if you want them to sign-in). Create a wall, make it public, and ask students to share what they know and what they want to know about a topic. If you allow anonymous posting you might get contributions from shy students who might not otherwise speak-up in class. Of course, if you allow anonymous commenting you should have a conversation with your students about what an appropriate comment looks like. (You could also turn on moderation and approve all notes before they appear). Padlet works well when projected on an interactive whiteboard.

Using Padlet for group research:
A couple of years ago I showed my special education students a short (18 minutes) video about cultural changes that took place in the US during the 1920's. After the video we discussed what they saw. Then I had students search online for other examples of cultural change in the 1920's. When they found examples they put them onto a Wallwisher wall that I projected onto a wall in my classroom. The wall started with just text being added to the wall and quickly progressed to YouTube videos being added to the wall. Once every student had added a video to the wall we stopped, watched the videos, and discussed them.

Using Padlet as a showcase of your students’ work:
If your students are creating digital portfolios, creating slideshows, or producing videos you could use Padlet to display all of your students’ best work on one page. Create the wall, call it something like “my best work this year,” and have your students post links to their works.

Three Good Ways to Use TodaysMeet in Your Classroom

TodaysMeet.com is a completely free service for hosting backchannel discussions. Over the years I’ve used it in a variety of ways including as a real-time discussion during a classroom viewing of a video, as a tool for quickly polling my students, and as forum for students to anonymously ask questions.

Using TodaysMeet to support lectures:
What I've done in the past is post my slideshows (which are basically lecture outlines) on the classroom blog two days prior to discussing that content in class. Then in class we discuss the content of the slideshows and I add "spice" to the slideshow content. While this discussion is going on, my students write questions and comments as they pop into their heads. This enables more students to ask more questions and share more comments than if they all had to raise their hands and wait to be called upon to speak.

Using TodaysMeet while watching videos in the classroom:
Using TodaysMeet for back-channeling while showing a video is a great way to handle clarifying questions and comments in real-time. Prior to using backchannels when I showed a video I would stop it at various intervals to discuss the students' reactions and questions. Now when I show a video in a classroom, I set-up a backchannel using TodaysMeet. The back-channel allows students to record their reactions to what they see while at the same time I am able to answer questions that arise as they watch the video.

Using TodaysMeet to collect anonymously questions and comments:
TodaysMeet does not have an option for requiring users to log-in with an email address. This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because it means that your students don’t have to remember a username and password to use the service. It’s a curse because students can use any alias they like when they join your TodaysMeet room. If you want your students to use aliases in your TodaysMeet room, ask them to right them down for you so that you can determine who is who if you have to step into a conversation that goes awry.

I love a good keynote...but...

I love to listen to a good keynote presentation. Dan Meyer's Math Class Needs a Makeover is still one of the best I've seen in terms of challenging status quo in education. I also love to give a keynote when I'm offered the opportunity. But given the choice of attending a keynote-style presentation or a hands-on workshop, I'll take the workshop nine times out of ten (there are some keynote speakers that are really, really good and some - Rushton Hurley is one educator I'd pay good money to see give a keynote). Likewise, while I enjoy giving keynotes I love even more the opportunity to spend hours working with teachers in hands-on workshops because at the end of the day I know for sure that those teachers are walking away with something new that they can use. This is why I'm so excited to lead the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp in July. I spent two years thinking about doing something like this and talking with trusted colleagues about offering it and now that it's going to happen I can't wait for July to get here. If you would like to join us eleven seats are currently available.

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