Wednesday, October 5, 2016

5 Formative Assessment Tools You Can Embed Into Your Website or Blog

Earlier this week I had a chat with a teacher about the role of formative assessments in his classroom. As most of my conversations about education do, our chat eventually drifted into the various formative assessment tools that we've tried over the years. One thing that I've always tried to do when selecting formative assessment tools is to make sure that students can quickly access the assessment activity. One way that I've done this is by embedded the activities directly into my classroom blogs. Here are five tools that can be used to place quick, formative assessments into your classroom blog.

Since this post is about formative assessment tools it makes sense to start with one that is actually called Formative. Formative offers an nice way to create multiple choice, open-response, and image-based quizzes. The image-based quizzes that you create in Formative can be embedded into your classroom blog where your students can then answer the questions in the quiz. In my video embedded below I demonstrate how to create the quiz, how to embed it into your blog, and I show you a student's perspective of the quiz as embedded into a blog.

Vizia is a free tool for creating video-based quizzes. It can be used to create a short activity designed to help you determine if your students understand a concept or concepts demonstrated in a video lesson.

TodaysMeet is a free backchannel tool that I've used for years. One of the ways that I've used it is to simply ask my students to respond to a couple of questions that I have posted in the backchannel. I'll also use TodaysMeet rooms to have students ask me questions. You can embed TodaysMeet rooms into your blog or website. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how you can do that.

Dotstorming is a great platform for having students post ideas and vote on their favorite ideas. One of the ways that you could use Dotstorming is to post set of answer choices for your students and have them vote for the answer that they think is correct. Dotstorming activity boards can be embedded into blog posts and webpages.

Google Forms:
For many readers of this blog, Google Forms is the obvious choice for creating simple formative assessments to embed into a blog or website. The following playlist of videos can help you get started with Google Forms.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 - Save Time, Shorten URLs, and Track Interactions is Google's free URL shortening service. As I explain in the video embedded below, can be a good tool to help you get all of your students on the same webpage at the same time. By shortening a long URL to something manageable, you should be able to get all of your students on the same page more quickly than if you just wrote out a long URL on your whiteboard. also lets you create a QR code for any web link. Print or project that QR code and let your students scan it to get to the webpage you want them to see. Finally, includes an analytics feature that will show you how many times your shortened URL has been used.

See in action in the video embedded below.

A Clarification About the Explore Feature In Google Slides

Last week I published a video about the new Explore feature in Google Slides. Since I published that video I have received a bunch of emails and Tweets from folks saying that they cannot find the Explore feature. If that describes you, don't worry because it's not you, it's Google. The Explore feature hasn't been rolled out to all users and all domains, yet. In the video embedded below I explain this in a bit more detail and I demonstrate the differences between the new Explore feature and the other Research option in Google Slides.

Coming Soon - Discovery Education's Annual Fall VirtCon

Every fall Discovery Education hosts a virtual conference that is open to the world. The DEN Fall VirtCon is a blended online and physical conference. This year's event is happening on October 22nd. You can participate virtually as I did last year or attend one of the physical events organized in locations all over North America.

A few years ago I had the privilege of giving one of the keynotes for Discovery's DEN Fall VirtCon. That year the theme was open resources. This year there appears to be four themes or strands to the conference. Those themes are Literacy Through Digital Content, Learner Agency & Student Ownership, Collaborative STEM, and  Professional Learning Strategies. The event will feature presentations packed with tips, tricks, and treats for teaching digital literacy.

Click here to register and learn more about the DEN Fall VirtCon.

If you can't make the live sessions on the 22nd, don't worry because they are being recorded.

How to Put a Random Name Selector In Your Blog

Whether it is to call on a student to answer a question during a lesson or two choose a line leader for the day, we all have occasions for using a random name selector. The Random Name Picker from Russel Tarr's  is one of those tools that can be used in almost every classroom setting. You can use it as a stand-alone tool or you can embed it directly into a page on your classroom blog. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to embed a random name picker into your classroom blog.