Monday, May 12, 2014

Kahoot Adds Another Helpful Option - Dismissing Names

Last week Kahoot added a slick rich text editor to its already excellent student response system. Over the weekend another helpful feature was added to the teacher's control panel. Teachers can now kick out inappropriate nicknames. If a student enters an inappropriate nickname the teacher can simply click on that name in the Kahoot Lobby (the Lobby is the screen that is displayed while waiting to start an activity) and the name will be removed. The student who entered the inappropriate name will see his or her screen turn red and will have to enter a different nickname in order to participate in the activity.
Applications for Education
Kahoot is one of my favorite tools for quickly assessing your students' understanding of a lesson. The game-like environment provides a good way to engage students in the informal assessment activities that you run through Kahoot.

On Kahoot you create a quiz or survey that your students respond to through any device that has a web browser (iPad, Android device, Chromebook). 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.

Click here to learn more about Kahoot and see how it compares to other feedback tools.

Use Your Voice to Give Students Feedback on Google Drive - Cool Kaizena Updates

This is a guest post from Greg Kulowiec of, an advertiser on this blog. This post first appeared on

Kaizena is an outstanding web based tool that allows teachers to provide audio feedback on student work that has been created and shared through as Google Docs. Kaizena is not a native tool in a Google Drive account, but can be added through the Google Drive apps store.

Alternatively, teachers and students can go to the Kaizena website and connect the app to an existing Google Drive account.

Providing students with audio as well as text-based feedback, and getting that feedback back to students, can now be a streamlined process. Teachers can begin in Google Drive by selecting a student writing assignment and choosing Kaizena as the tool to open the document. This will automatically open a new tab in the browser and import the document into the Kaizena feedback platform.

Alternatively, teachers can go directly to the Kaizena website and pull any existing Google document into the feedback platform.

The process of creating feedback consists of highlighting a section of student work and tapping on the microphone to record audio feedback. Entire sections of a paper can be highlighted or just individual words.

NEW Features to Kaizena

The most helpful feature that appeared in the recent update to Kaizena is the ability to send a feedback link back to the student directly through the comment section of the original Google document.

Now the student simply clicks on the comments button in their Google Document to find the link to the audio feedback.

Organization in Kaizena used to be challenging, yet a recent update includes the ability to create Boxes to organize document that have received feedback. These Boxes can be used to collect assignments, or teachers could make boxes for individual students.

The last and most interesting update to Kaizena is the ability for teachers to have a unique Kaizena URL that students can visit to request audio feedback on a Google Document. The unique teacher URL will appear on the top of your homepage in Kaizena.

Once students visit the URL, they are prompted with an option to ask for feedback.

The teacher and student workflow for this process is quite seamless. Once the student picks a Google Document from their Drive, they have to select the Box for the work to appear for the teacher. As previously mentioned, a teacher may create assignment-specific boxes, student-specific boxes, or potentially an “Ask for Feedback” box where students can submit their document. The teacher will receive an email indicating a student request has been made, and the document will appear as “unread” in the Kaizena homepage.

To learn more about Kaizena and working with Google Apps, join Greg Kulowiec for Google Chromebook & The Google-Infused Classroom in Cambridge, MA, July 10-11. EdTechTeacher has Summer Workshops in six cities this summer: Atlanta, Austin, Berkeley, Cambridge, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Hip Hughes History Helps Students Review U.S. & World History

We're getting close to final exam time for many high school students. If you teach U.S. History or World History, consider referring your students to Hip Hughes History for some great videos to help them review the year. Hip Hughes History is produced by Keith Hughes, a high school history teacher in New York. As Keith points out in many of the videos, they're not a replacement for reading or paying attention in class, but they are great reviews of key topics in history.

The U.S. History playlist is available here.

The World History playlist is available here.

News Map - An Interactive Collage of Current Events Stories

News Map organizes and displays news stories from around the world. News Map uses Google News to source the stories displayed in the grid so the content is frequently updated. The stories are displayed in a color coded grid reflective of how popular or important a story is at any given time. You can select the country or countries from which you would like to see the news. You may also select which type of news stories, (world news, national news, sports, etc) you want to see displayed. By selecting multiple countries you can discover patterns in the news across the world.

Applications for Education
News Map provides a good way for students to recognize similarities and differences between how a news story is covered in one country versus another. It is also a good tool for showing students how a story that is popular in one country may be insignificant in another. This is particular true if you select the entertainment news option.

Physics 4 Kids - Short Physics Lessons

Rader's Physics 4 Kids is part of a series of Rader's 4 Kids lessons about science. Physics 4 Kids takes students on tours of different sub-topics of physics. After each stop on the tour there is a quiz that students can take to test their understanding of each topic. Along with text and image information there are some short videos about different physics concepts along the tour.

Applications for Education
Student-directed tours like the ones offered on Physics 4 Kids are great tools for differentiating activities within the classroom. Physics 4 Kids is a good resource for science teachers to link to a class web page or blog so that students and parents can study and test themselves outside of the classroom.