Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sushi, Gmail, and Kahoot

At the end of every month I like to take a look at the search terms visitors frequently use on Free Technology for Teachers. It gives me a sense of what people are interested in learning about. That information helps me brainstorm new blog posts for the next month. The three most commonly searched terms in Septmeber were "Gmail tips," "sushi monster," and "Kahoot." Here's some information related to all three of those terms.

Sushi Monster
Sushi Monster is a free iPad game from Scholastic that helps kids practice their addition and multiplication skills. This is the premise of Sushi Monster; students feed their Sushi Monsters by correctly choosing two numbers that when added or multiplied result in the number that the monster wants to eat. When the monster has been fully fed students move on to feeding a new monster. The video below provides a good demonstration of Sushi Monster in action.

Gmail Tips
Creating and using contact groups can save you a lot of time when you're sending messages to groups of parents, colleagues, or students. Watch the video below to learn how to create a contact group.

Use Gmail offline, unsend a message, reply all vs. reply:
Setting your Gmail account for offline use is easy and makes it easy for you to work on email even when you don't have a connection to the Internet.

Every once in a while you might hit "send" a bit too early. The undo send function can rescue you from that situation.

No one likes to be copied on a email thread when they don't need to be. Make sure you know when to use "reply all" and when not to use it.

In April Kahoot released a new team mode. The team mode is designed to be used with students who are sharing computers, tablets, or phones. In team mode students arrange themselves in teams around a shared computer or tablet. When you start a Kahoot game you'll now choose "team mode." With team mode selected your students will be prompted to enter a team name and a list of the team members. After the teams have entered their names you will be ready to start the game. One of the nice features of team mode is that students have time to discuss their answer choices before they are allowed to submit a response. From there the game is played and scored as any other Kahoot game is scored.

Kahoot's ghost mode essentially gives students the opportunity to play a Kahoot review game against themselves. In ghost mode students measure their progress against themselves. First, run a Kahoot game as you normally would. At the end of the game select "ghost mode" to run the game again. In ghost mode students play against their own scores from the previous game. Then when you run the game students will be competing against the "ghost" version of themselves from the previous running of the game. For example, I play a game as a student in the first running of a game then in the second running of the game I'll be competing against my previous score as well as those of my classmates.

One of the features of Kahoot that I frequently demonstrate in my workshops is the option to duplicate and edit quizzes that teachers have contributed to the public Kahoot quiz gallery. Duplicating and editing existing quizzes can save you a lot of time when you need to find a quick review activity for your students.

Wizer - Create & Share Interactive Writing & Drawing Assignments

Wizer is a great, free service that bills itself as a tool for creating "blended worksheets." While that is a fine a description I think it doesn't tell the whole story of what can be done through Wizer. Recently, Wizer added a new feature for creating interactive assignments. You can now ask students to draw responses to questions and prompts. These assignments, like all other Wizer assignments can be distributed through Google Classroom. Click here to try a Wizer drawing assignment.

Since it launched earlier this year Wizer has offered teachers the option to create interactive writing assignments in a couple of ways besides the aforementioned drawing option. You can create fill-in-the-blank activities that provide students with instant feedback as they work. The other style of writing assignment that you can create on Wizer is an interactive image assignment. You can upload an image and have students label it. As they write their labels they can receive feedback as to whether or not they labeled the image correctly. In that regard it is like Thinglink but with a quiz component.

In addition to writing activities, you can use Wizer to create multiple choice, matching, and open-ended question activities. All of the activities that you create on Wizer can be shared to your students through Google Classroom. If you do not have Google Classroom you can share your activities by giving students a link and an activity pin code.