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Monday, March 17, 2014

Gen i Revolution - A Personal Finance Game for Middle School and High School Students

Gen i Revolution is an online game designed to help middle school and high school students develop and test their knowledge of concepts in personal finance. Gen i Revolution contains fifteen "missions" in which students have to select "operatives" to assist them. Each mission is designed to help someone make better personal financial decisions. Some of the mission topics include credit, budgeting, and investing for the future.

Students earn points for successfully completing each mission in Gen i Revolution. The points can be used to gain the assistance of additional operatives on the missions in the game. Each operative has a different skill set that can be of assistance in the missions.


Applications for Education
Gen i Revolution provides a teacher log-in that you can use to register your students to play the game, reset their passwords, and monitor their progress in the game. You can have students play the game as individuals or in teams. The teacher's section also includes a PDF with suggestions for continuing the lessons of Gen i Revolution offline.

Wikispaces Improves Mobile User Experience

Wikispaces has good news for teachers and students who access their wikis through iPads and Android tablets. The latest update to Wikispaces includes four features added with mobile users in mind. First, Wikispaces now has responsive sizing to accommodate all screen sizes. Second, the size of the actions and edit buttons/ links has increased to make it easier to tap on exactly what you want. Third, pop-up menus have been re-sized to make them easier to navigate on mobile devices. And finally, Wikispaces now has a top navigation menu visible on all displays. Click here to get all of the details about the new mobile features of Wikispaces.

QuizBean Opens a Quiz Bank for Sharing Quizzes

QuizBean is a nice platform for creating simple image-based quizzes that your students can complete online. The service allows you to assign quizzes to students on a class-by-class or individual basis. Quiz results are automatically sent to your teacher dashboard when students have completed a quiz.

The latest update to QuizBean allows you to search for quizzes that other teachers have created and marked as public. You can also contribute your own quizzes to the quiz bank.

Applications for Education
The QuizBean quiz bank could be a place to share quizzes with local and global colleagues. Before writing your next short quiz, take a quick look in the quiz bank to see if there is one suitable for your chosen topic. Even if you don't find an exact match you may find ideas for your writing your own quizzes.

One of the things that I like about QuizBean is that students get immediate feedback on each question that they answer. Before moving to the next question students are told if they answered the previous question correctly or incorrectly.

A Crash Course on Hamlet

Last month John Green started a new Crash Course series on classic literature. The first installment was about The Odyssey. The latest installment tackles the first half of Shakespeare's Hamlet. Ghosts, Murder, and More Murder, embedded below, follows the same format as all Crash Course videos in which Green opens with a fast introduction to the whole work then uses a mix of analogies to modern terms to explain the story's key points. Just like reading CliffsNotes isn't a replacement for reading the story, watching a Crash Course video is not a replacement for reading.

Seven Good Student Response Systems That Work On All Devices

Earlier today I received an email from someone who had found this comparison chart of student response tools. He was interested in learning a bit more about each of them beyond what was in the chart so I put together this collection of information about popular student response tools. Each of these tools can be used on iPads, Android tablets, and in the web browser on your laptop or Chromebook.

Infuse Learning is a free student response system that works with any Internet-connected device. Infuse Learning allows teachers to push questions, prompts, and quizzes out to students' devices in private virtual classrooms. In an Infuse Learning room a teacher can give students a wide variety of formats in which to response to a question or prompt. Students can reply to prompts and questions in standard multiple choice, true/false, and short answer formats. Infuse Learning also offers an option for students to reply by creating drawings or diagrams on their iPads, Android tablets, or on their laptops.

Quiz Socket is a tool developed for the purpose of enabling teachers to quickly gather feedback from students. Quiz Socket enables students to respond to questions through their cell phones, tablets, and laptops. Here's how Quiz Socket works. Teachers visit the Quiz Socket website and click "create quiz." A quiz code is assigned to the teacher. The teacher then gives that quiz code to students to enter on QuizSocket.com. Teachers then deliver multiple choice questions to students either verbally or by posting them on a whiteboard. The teacher controls the pace of the quiz by simply clicking "next question" to move the quiz along.

Kahoot is a service for delivering online quizzes and surveys to your students. The premise of Kahoot is similar to that of Socrative and Infuse Learning. On Kahoot you create a quiz or survey that your students respond to through any device that has a web browser. Your Kahoot questions can include pictures and videos. As the teacher you can control the pace of the Kahoot quiz or survey by imposing a time limit for each question. As students answer questions they are awarded points for correct answers and the timeliness of their answers. A scoreboard is displayed on the teacher's screen. Students do not need to have a Kahoot account in order to participate in your activities. To participate they simply have to visit Kahoot.it then enter the PIN code that you give to them to join the activity.

Verso is a free service that offers a nice way to deliver flipped lessons to students and gather feedback from them. As a teacher you can create Verso classrooms that your students join. In your classroom you can post videos, links, and files from your Google Drive account. Include response prompts with each item that you post. You can specify how many responses you want to gather from each student. When students sign into your Verso classroom they will see every new item you've posted for them. If you've posted a video it will play within the Verso environment. Students can track their completion progress in their account dashboards.

Socrative is the standard to which I compare all new student response systems. Socrative uses cell phones and or laptops (user's choice) for gathering feedback from students. You can post as many questions as you like in a variety of formats. One of the more fun question formats is the "space race" format in which students can work individually or in teams to answer questions as quickly as possible. The video below offers a nice overview of the Socrative system.


Socrative introduction video (new) from Socrative Inc. on Vimeo.

Poll Everywhere is a service that allows you to collect responses from an audience via text messaging. The free plan for K-12 educators provides selection of features and quantity of responses that is adequate for almost any classroom. One of the neat ways to display feedback gathered through Poll Everywhere is in word clouds. The word cloud feature integrates with WordleTagxedo, and Tagul.

Mentimeter allows you to pose a question to your audience and get instant feedback on that question through cell phones, tablets, and any other Internet-connected device. Mentimeter doesn't have has many features as Socrative or Poll Everywhere, but it is free and very easy to use.

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