Friday, March 21, 2014

Geddit - Quickly Gather Feedback from Students

Update February 2022: This tool is no longer available. 

Geddit is a new service that allows you to quickly gather feedback from your students through any web-enabled device. Like similar services Geddit gives you the ability to push questions to your students' devices. You can create and send multiple choice and short answer questions. You can also simply ask "do you get it" at any time to check for your students' general feelings about a lesson you're conducting. The feedback that you gather from your students through Geddit can be displayed in a variety of graph and list formats. The list format that I like best shows me how each student responded to my "do you get it" question and highlights the students who responded with "no" or "kind of."

The teacher panel in Geddit does not have the most intuitive interface that I've seen in student response systems. In fact, it took me a couple of tries before I wrapped my head around the terminology that Geddit uses in the teacher panel. To get started, you first have to create at least one class then create your first "lesson." Within your lesson you have to specify a topic then in a separate screen you finally write your questions. Questions can include pictures. Students can join your class by using a class code or you can add them to your class manually.

Applications for Education
The aspect of Geddit that makes it different than some other student response systems is the variety of data collection formats available to you. The data from each of your activities can be saved in your account or downloaded as a spreadsheet.

Mobento - Another Place to Search for Educational Videos

Update February 2022: This tool is no longer available.

It seems like every month or so a new site pops-up that is trying to make it easier to find educational videos. The latest such site that I've seen is Mobento. Mobento's take on searching for educational videos allows you to search by category, organization producing the video, speakers, and length of video. You can refine your search by combining selections from each of those menus.

Applications for Education
Mobento won't change the way that you use videos with your students, but it could be helpful in finding a good video to use in a flipped lesson. Once you find a video you might want to try a service like EduCanon to create a flipped lesson that requires students to answer questions while watching the video.

Three Good Web Search Tutorials for Students

One of the first things that I do with any group of new-to-me students is talk with them about research strategies. The following tutorials don't cover everything that I cover with students, but they do reinforce some of the basic skills that students should develop.

Vaughn Memorial Library at Acadia University hosts a series of four free animated tutorials designed to teach students lessons on web research strategies. The four tutorials are Credible Sources Count, Research It Right, Searching With Success, and You Quote It, You Note It. In Credible Sources Count students learn how to recognize the validity of information on the Internet. It's a good tutorial except for a strong emphasis on using domain names for determining validity. Research It Right walks students through the process of forming a research question through the actual research steps. Searching With Success shows students how search engines function. The tutorial gives clear examples and directions for altering search terms. You Quote It, You Note It shows students what plagiarism is and how to avoid accidentally plagiarizing someone's work.

The Kentucky Virtual Library hosts an interactive map of the research process for students. The map, titled How To Do Research, walks students through the research process from start to finish with every step along the way. One of the things about this map that school librarians will like is that it is not focused solely on web research. How To Do Research includes a good section about using library catalogs, books, and magazines.

A good resource that can help students understand web search strategies is Common Craft's Web Search Strategies in Plain English.

The video can be viewed online. If you would like a copy to download or embed into your blog like I have done above you will need to have a Common Craft subscription.

Disclosure: I do have an in-kind relationship with Common Craft. 

Search Science Buddies for Science Fair Project Ideas

Science Buddies is a good site for teachers and students to browse for ideas for science projects. For teachers there are free lesson plans and for there are many ideas for science fair projects as well as tips for creating a great looking science fair presentation. If students are having trouble deciding what type of science fair project to undertake, there is a topic selection wizard that will help them narrow down their list of choices.

The Science Careers section of Science Buddies offers overviews of dozens of careers in seven different areas of science. Each career profile provides an overview of what a person in that field does, links to interviews with people in that field, the minimum education requirements of the career, career growth potential, and salary information.

Applications for EducationScience Buddies covers materials for elementary school, middle school, and high school. The topic selection wizard could prove to be a valuable resource for students struggling to choose a topic for a science fair project. 

The Science Buddies Science Careers page could be a good reference for guidance counselors to bookmark. Students who enjoy science, but aren't sure of the career opportunities in science, could benefit from researching some careers through the Science Buddies Science Careers page.

OpenStax Releases Principles of Economics - A Free eText

OpenStax College is an initiative whose purpose is to create and distribute free and low-cost college textbooks. The initiative is led by Rice University. An introduction to economics book is the latest free etext released by OpenStax. The book can be downloaded as a PDF and or viewed online. The text provides an overview of classic topics in economics as well as current topics like the controversy among economists over the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the recent government shutdown, and the appointment of the United States’ first female Federal Reserve chair, Janet Yellen.

Learn more about OpenStax in the video below.