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Monday, May 12, 2014

Twelve Good Tools for Building End-of-year Review Activities

The end of the school year will soon be upon us. This is the time of year that we think about activities that we can do to help students review the school year. At this time of the year I start to get a lot of requests for suggestions for tools to create review activities. Here are twelve good options.

Video-based review activities:
Blubbr is a neat quiz creation service that you can use to create video-based quizzes. Using Blubbr you can create interactive quizzes that are based on YouTube clips. Your quizzes can be about anything of your choosing. The structure of the quizzes has a viewer watch a short clip then answer a multiple choice question about the clip. Viewers know right away if they chose the correct answer or not. To create a quiz on Blubbr start by entering a topic for your quiz. After entering your topic enter a search for a video about that topic. Blubbr will generate a list of videos that you can select from to use in your quiz. When you find a video that works for you, trim the clip to a length that you like then write out your question and answer choices. Repeat the process for as many video clips as you like. Click here to try a short Blubbr quiz about the human heart.

eduCanon offers a free service for creating, assigning, and tracking your students' progress on flipped lessons. eduCanon allows teachers to build flipped lessons using YouTube and Vimeo videos, create questions about the videos, then assign lessons to their students. Teachers can track the progress of their students within eduCanon. To create lessons start by identifying a topic and objective then searching YouTube and Vimeo from within the eduCanon site. Once you've found a suitable video you can build multiple choice questions throughout the timeline of your chosen video. You can create as many lessons as you like and assign them to your students at any time.

VideoNotes is a neat tool for taking notes while watching videos. VideoNotes allows you to load any YouTube video on the left side of your screen and on the right side of the screen VideoNotes gives you a notepad to type on. VideoNotes integrates with your Google Drive account. By integrating with Google Drive VideoNotes allows you to share your notes and collaborate on your notes just as you can do with a Google Document. Use VideoNotes to share videos like those found on Hip Hughes History with your students and have them submit clarifying questions to you and to each other.

Games-based review activities:
Purpose Games is a free service that allows users to create custom games, share games, and play games. There are two styles of games that you can create and play on Purpose Games. The simpler of the two styles is a fairly basic multiple choice game. The other style uses images and maps on which players have to name the places represented by placemarks on the image or map. For an example, try this game about the skeletal system. Purpose Games gives game creators the option to make their games public or private. If you select the private option, only the people to whom you send invitations will be able to play your game.

ClassTools.net offers a free service teachers can use to create their own educational games. Games made on ClassTools.net can be shared via email or embedded into a blog or website. (Yet another reason for having a class website or blog). ClassTools.net provides fifteen easy to use templates with which teachers can make educational games for their students. There are also many pre-made games available on ClassTools.net.

Stencyl is a free program for creating flash-based games on your Mac or Windows computer. Using Stencyl you can create a fairly complex game even if you don't have any coding skills at all. That is possible because Stencyl uses a drag and drop interface to enable game creation. Stencyl provides a huge selection of characters, settings, and elements to add to each scene of your games. To create and direct the actions within your games Stencyl gives you a block-snapping interface to construct actions and sequences. The block-snapping interface will look familiar to people who have used Scratch or Android App Inventor.

Old, reliable flashcard activities:
Quizlet is a popular flashcard service that students can use in their web browsers or install as apps on their iOS and Android devices. Quizlet offers some helpful features in addition to the standard options of creating and sharing sets of flashcards. Quizlet offers a text-to-speech mode in eighteen languages. Second, they launched a new study mode that they've name "speller." Speller mode plays words for you that you then have to type correctly into the space provided. If you misspell the word that is read to you, Quizlet will show you your errors. Quizlet flashcards can be used without an internet connection if you have the Android or iOS app installed on your mobile device.

Flashcard Stash is a free vocabulary flashcard service for teachers and students. The service makes it easy to quickly create flashcards and sets of flashcards. As a registered user of Flashcard Stash when you type a word into a blank flashcard suggested definitions and sample context sentences are provided to you. You can then choose to add one or all of those definitions and sentences to your flashcard or you can write your own definitions and sentences. When making your own flashcards you can include images. If you don't have time to create your own flashcards you can choose to work with some of the pre-made lists of flashcards. Teachers registered on Flashcard Stash can create flashcard sets to share with their students. Teachers can create and manage multiple class lists within their accounts. Sharing class lists can be done by inviting students to view the flashcards via email or by posting a password-protected link to the lists on a class blog. The second method requires students to remember the password that you have created to access the list. Word lists can also be embedded into blogs or websites.

Flippity is a free tool for creating flashcards from data in a Google Spreadsheet. Flippity provides clear directions for the simple steps to take to create your flashcards. To create your flashcards use the Flippity template, enter your data, publish the spreadsheet to the web, then grab your Flippity link. Your Flippity link will take you to a Flippity page on which you and your students can flip through your flashcards. Flippity includes a shuffle function and an option to remove cards from your deck of flashcards as you flip through them.

Quiz-based activities:
ImageQuiz is a free service that allows you to create quizzes based on any images that you own or find online. When people take your quizzes on ImageQuiz they answer your questions by clicking on the part of the picture that answers each question. For example, if you uploaded a picture of a map you could write questions that ask users to click on states, cities, or countries. Creating a quiz on ImageQuiz  is an easy process. First, give your quiz a title and then upload a picture or copy and paste the URL of an online image into ImageQuiz. Then draw outlines around the parts of the picture that will be the answers to your questions. Finally, write your questions and try your quiz. To share your quiz just give people the URL of your quiz. You can try my sample quiz here.

eQuizShow is a free tool developed by a junior year high school student in New York City, Henry Wilson. Henry designed eQuizShow to be a tool that teachers can use to create Jeopardy-style games online. Unlike similar tools you do not have to download or upload any PowerPoint files to use eQuizShow. On eQuizShow you can build and display your quiz completely online. To build your quiz just enter a title, an administrative password, and your question categories. eQuizShow will then generate a grid on which you can enter questions and answers. If you don't have time to build a quiz or you just need some inspiration, browse the eQuizShow gallery.

Socrative is still my go-to student response tool. One of my favorite aspects of Socrative is the "space race" option. 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. I've included below, a video of space race being used in a classroom.

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