Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Webinar - Connecting Classrooms

Tomorrow at 3:15pm EST and again at 7:15pm EST MLTI technology integration mentor Jim Wells will be hosting a webinar about connecting classrooms. The webinar will discuss ideas for projects that connect classrooms and the tools that can be used to make those connected projects happen. The webinar is free, but MLTI does ask that you register. If you miss the live webinar, the recording will be available in the future.

Quickly Grade Quizzes With Flubaroo

Two of the most popular posts of 2010 dealt with creating quizzes in Google Docs. Last March in Google for Teachers I provided directions for administering a quiz online through Google Docs. Last September I shared directions for making those quizzes self-graded. The directions for creating self-graded quizzes are good, but the first time you try it you might find it to be a little frustrating  (it sure was for me the first few times I did it). Recently, I learned from Kristen Swanson about an easier way to grade quizzes administered through Google Docs.

Flubaroo is a free script that you can use grade the quizzes that you administer through Google Docs. Flubaroo provides great step-by-step directions for using the script. I'll give an quick overview of how it works. First, create your multiple choice quiz using Forms in Google Docs (get directions here). Then take the quiz yourself and have students take the quiz (you can embed it in a webpage or direct students to the URL for your form). Now instead of trying to grade the spreadsheet cells you will insert the Flubaroo script by selecting it from the "insert" menu in your spreadsheet. Once the Flubaroo script is inserted just select it and it will grade the quiz for you.

Applications for Education
While multiple choice quizzes definitely don't fall into the category of authentic assessment they are still used by teachers for a variety of purposes. If you use multiple choice quizzes for any purpose, giving that quiz through Google Docs and grading it with Flubaroo could save you a lot of time that you can put to better use on other tasks.

For the record, I occasionally (4-5 times a year) give them for the purpose of check-point surveys of my students' knowledge of things like vocabulary terms. 

Lego City Comic Builder

Like a lot of people, as a kid I loved playing with Legos. So when I learned that Lego offers a comic creator I had to try it out.

At Lego City you can create a comic strip that feature Lego elements. To create a comic just select a strip format (one box or multiple boxes in various layouts) and start dragging elements into your comic strip. Elements in your comic strip can be resized to fit the frame and maintain proportions among multiple elements. Your comic strip can have multiple pages. When you're done creating your comic strip you can save it online or download it to your computer. Head over to Lego City to get started creating your comic strip.

H/T to Larry Ferlazzo for the link.

Applications for Education
Using Lego City's comic creator could be a good, fun way to get students interested in creative writing. Even students who don't consider themselves to be artistic can create comics that they can be proud to show-off to others.

Infographic - Statistics About Japan

The damage from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan on March 11 is astounding. Although it will be a long time before a final statistical analysis of the damage will be available, Digital Surgeons has created an infographic of the statistics that are currently (as of March 22) available. The infographic is large so I dropped it into to make it fit on this page and to enable you to zoom in on specific parts of it.

Applications for Education
You could certainly find these statistics online in various places, but this infographic makes it possible to find them all at a glance. A printed version of the infographic could be a nice classroom reference poster.

H/T to Cool Infographics.

Can Your Classmates Learn from Your Work?

This week the students in my global studies course finished up the short informational videos that they were creating about Egypt and Libya. Overall, they did a bang-up job. (We'll be making some of the videos public later this week). One part of the grades for their videos was "can your classmates learn from your work?" Because these videos were intended to be informational videos, the answer should be yes. Rather than just answering that question hypothetically, I had the students "hit the streets" so to speak to find out if people could learn from their videos.

The Process
Three weeks ago my students put together a seven question survey about current events in Libya and Egypt. They used a Google Form to make it easier to summarize the data they collected. Then I sent them off with their netbooks to survey students and staff throughout the school. They surveyed people in the cafeteria, in study halls, and in the library. When they finished we looked at the data and realized that many of the people in our school were not sure where Libya and Egypt are and what was going on in those countries.

Because we don't have access to iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, my students used JayCut to create their short (3-5 minute) informational videos. The videos had to provide answers to each of the survey questions. When their videos were done we watched them in class before going out to the cafeteria, study halls, and library to show them to other students. After watching the videos my students asked their viewers to take the survey again to see if their viewers actually did learn something from watching the video.

How do you assess student video creation projects? Please leave a comment.