Wednesday, June 7, 2023

How to Use AI to Create Formative Assessments

A day ago I published a big list of AI tools and resources for teachers. This morning I tried another AI tool that is worth noting. That tool is the new AI-powered assessment generator that is now built into Formative

Formative's new AI-powered assessment generator is currently a beta product that anyone with an active Formative account (free or paid) can use. To use it you do need to opt into "early release" features in your Formative account settings. 

With the AI option enabled in Formative you can create an assessment by simply writing a topic prompt like "landmarks of the United States." The AI tool will then create a set of questions based on your prompt. You can edit any of the questions that Formative's AI tool generates for you. You can also delete questions and re-order questions. Additionally, you can add your own manually written questions to an assessment generated by Formative's AI. 

Watch my short video that is embedded below to see how Formative's new AI-powered assessment generator works. 

Formative is an online assessment platform that I've been using for at least the last half-dozen years. Two of my favorite features of Formative are demonstrated in the video in this post from 2022.

1,001 American Novels Mapped

1,001 Novels: A Library of America is an ESRI story map developed by Susan Straight. The story map features short reviews of 1,000 American novels. Each novel is geolocated on a map of the United States. The story map is divided into geographic regions. You can also view the entire map at once

Susan is an author and a Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at UC Riverside. Before you jump to the map I encourage you to read her introduction to the story map. She tells a lovely story about her inspiration for the story map. 

Applications for Education
Just last night while walking our dogs I was thinking that I need to find a new book to read (last week I finished reading The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz). As someone who loves geography, coming across this story map via the Maps Mania blog is exactly what I needed. I'm sure that you and or your students could also use it to find your next summer reading book.

My Two Most Popular Courses This Year

Summer break is here or nearly here for many of us. With that break comes time to drink our coffee out of our favorite mugs at home instead of a travel mug at school. I love the feeling of sipping coffee in the warm morning sun while I'll catch up on the things I couldn't do during the school year. Things like taking a course I've been thinking about enrolling in. 

If part of your summer break includes taking a professional development course, I have some for you to try. I currently offer four self-paced courses you can complete this summer (I'll be announcing two more next week). Two of them have been far and away more popular than the others during the 2022-23 school year. Those are Making and Teaching With Animated Explanations and How to Create and Sell Your Own Digital Products.

Making and Teaching With Animated Explanations
This five-part course teaches you everything you need to know to create and teach with your own animated explanations. In the course you’ll learn why the process of creating animated explanations is valuable to your students and to you. You’ll learn how to make everything from a simple one-frame animation to a complete animated video.

How to Create & Sell Your Own Digital Products
In this four-part course you’ll learn how to create and sell eBooks, webinars, video courses, lesson plans, and more! And I’ll help you promote your new products! All of the course material is delivered in a series of four weekly emails. Each lesson includes written materials, templates, and video tutorials. You can email me all of your questions as you go through the course. And at the end you can book a one-on-one Zoom call with me!

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Swords, Airplanes, and Cartoons - A Big Collection of Free Sound Effects

The Internet Archive's USC Optical Sound Effects Library is a collection of hundreds of sound effect recordings created for Hollywood studios in the beginning in the 1930's through the 1980's. The recordings were donated to USC and have now been digitized for playback and download on the Internet Archive. 

The Internet Archive's USC Optical Sound Effects Library has three collections within it. The Gold and Red Libraries are comprised of sound effects created in the 1930's and 1940's. The Sunset Editorial Library has sound effect recordings made from the 1930's through the 1980's.

As you look through the Internet Archive's USC Optical Sound Effects Library you will find sound effects for things like classic cartoon noises (boing! pow!), swords clashing (classic swashbuckler movie sounds), voices of crowds, and airplanes taking off and flying through the sky. 

All of the recordings in the library are short. Some are introduced by a speaker while others are not. The ones that have an introduction you could still use if you download the MP3 and then make a quick edit to remove the introduction. 

Applications for Education
I've long said that the best was to make sure you don't accidentally commit a copyright infringement is to use your own original audio recordings. When that's not practical or possible, then use audio files that are in the public domain or are Creative Commons licensed. The Internet Archive's USC Optical Sound Effects Library could be a good source of free sound effects for your students' next video project or podcast project. 

For more modern sound effects, check out the resources that I featured here

Three New Padlet Slideshow Features

Back in February Padlet introduced a new feature that enables you to quickly turn a collection of notes on a Padlet wall into a slideshow. Recently, Padlet added three new features to its slideshow function. 

The latest Padlet slideshow features include a new slide navigator, a new QR code generator, and an automatic playback function. 

All of the new Padlet slideshow functions are demonstrated in this short video

Applications for Education
The Padlet slideshow option could be very handy when you're trying to review with your whole class the contributions that they've made to a Padlet wall. I can see this being particularly useful when going through a set of KWL responses as it allows you and your class to focus on one item at a time without the distraction of other notes appearing in the background.
The new QR code generator for Padlet slideshows will make it easy to get all of your students looking at the same slides at the same time. The slideshow navigator should make it easy to quickly pull up one slide when you need it for a discussion prompt.

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