Thursday, June 8, 2017

4 Good Formative Assessment Tools for Classrooms That Aren't 1:1

Earlier today Kahoot announced that they now have 50 million users. That prompted one person to email me asking if there was something similar that she can use in her classroom that isn't 1:1. My immediate reply was to try Kahoot's team mode.

Kahoot's team mode is designed to be used with students who are sharing computers, tablets, or phones. In team mode students arrange themselves in teams around a shared computer or tablet. When you start a Kahoot game you'll now choose "team mode." With team mode selected your students will be prompted to enter a team name and a list of the team members. After the teams have entered their names you will be ready to start the game. One of the nice features of team mode is that students have time to discuss their answer choices before they are allowed to submit a response. From there the game is played and scored as any other Kahoot game is played and scored.

Socrative is the standard to which I compare all new student response systems. Socrative uses cell phones and or laptops (user's choice) for gathering feedback from students. You can post as many questions as you like in a variety of formats. One of the more fun question formats is the "space race" format in which students can work individually or in teams to answer questions as quickly as possible.

If not every student in your classroom has a laptop or tablet to use, then you need to check out Plickers as a student response system. Plickers uses a teacher's iPad or Android tablet in conjunction with a series of QR codes to create a student response system. Students are given a set of QR codes on large index cards. The codes are assigned to students. Each code card can be turned in four orientations. Each orientation provides a different answer. When the teacher is ready to collect data, he or she uses the Plickers mobile app to scan the cards to see a bar graph of responses. In your teacher account on Plickers you can view and save all of the data that you collected from scanning your students' Plickers cards.

Quick Key is an excellent platform for creating and conducting formative assessments. It is a tool that works equally well in classrooms that are 1:1 and in classrooms that are not 1:1. This is possible because Quick Key allows you to create formative assessments that you can distribute electronically as well as on paper. If you use Quick Key to distribute your assessments electronically, Quick Key will score your students' responses automatically. One of the latest features of Quick Key is an integration with Google Classroom. This integration lets you use your Google Classroom rosters to distribute and collect assessments. If you distribute your assessments on paper, you can use the Quick Key mobile app to quickly scan your students' answer sheets and receive the scores.

Disclosure: Quick Key is an advertiser on this blog and Plickers once sent me a free t-shirt and some cards. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Simpleshow Foundation Seeks Volunteers to Help Educate Through Video

The Simpleshow Foundation is a non-profit organization founder by mysimpleshow's founders for the purpose of helping to educate the world through video. The Simpleshow Foundation recently partnered with the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) to develop videos to explain the 17 sustainable development goals of UN Agenda 2030.

The Simpleshow Foundation is seeking volunteer contributors to produce simple videos to explain the sustainable development goals of UN Agenda 2030. Producers can use mysimpleshow's free video production to create and donate their videos.

There are just four steps to volunteering through the Simpleshow Foundation:
  • Volunteer and sign up for the program.
  • Choose one of the offered topics or suggest one of your own.
  • Create explainer videos with mysimpleshow, an easy-to-use online video-creator.
  • Donate the video to the Simpleshow Foundation and it will be published through a variety of channels including the video library on the Simpleshow Foundation's website.


In addition to offering free video creation tools and hosting videos, the Simpleshow Foundation runs free video workshops for universities as well as educational projects in cooperation with Wikipedia.

Disclosure: The Simpleshow Foundation is a non-profit started by mysimpleshow. Mysimpleshow is an advertiser on this blog

Be Internet Awesome - Google's New Internet Safety Curriculum

Be Internet Awesome is Google's new Internet safety curriculum. I learned about it from Larry Ferlazzo and then spent some time exploring it myself. The Be Internet Awesome site features a game called Interland. The game is set in a virtual world that students navigate by correctly answering questions about Internet safety. The graphics of the game are great and there are some elements in which students navigate, but there is also a heavy reliance multiple choice questions in the game. Watch an overview of the game in the video below.


Be Internet Awesome is based on five key concepts for kids:
  • Share with care.
  • Don't fall for fake.
  • Secure your secrets.
  • It's cool to be kind.
  • When in doubt, talk it out. 
There is a 48 page PDF containing lesson plans on each concept in the Be Internet Awesome curriculum that teachers can download for free. 

The Interland game featured in the video above can be distributed through Google Classroom. G Suite administrators can push the game to the task bar on managed Chromebooks. 

An Overview of Google's Public Data Explorer

Google's Public Data Explorer draws on data sets from the World Bank, the US CDC, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and other sources of public data. In all there are eighty data sets. The Public Data Explorer makes it possible to quickly create visual representations and visual comparisons of the data sets. Each visualization you create has a unique URL that you can direct people to or you can embed the visualization in a blog or website.

In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use Google's Public Data Explorer.



Applications for Education
Google's Public Data Explorer is a tool that I have used in civics courses that I have taught. I would ask students to analyze data and then create a public policy proposal based on that analysis. The Public Data Explorer is useful in helping students compare data sets.

Free Webinar - Behind the Scenes at Common Craft

Common Craft burst onto the explainer video scene way back in 2007 with RSS in Plain English. That video demonstrated a new way for students and professionals to create effective and engaging explanatory videos. In the ten years since RSS in Plain English hit the web, many teachers, students, and creative professionals have created their own explanatory videos using the Common Craft model.

On June 21st, for the first time ever, Lee Lefever (the voice of Common Craft videos) will host a free webinar in which you can go behind the scenes of a Common Craft video. You'll learn how he and his wife Sachi craft engaging and effective explanatory videos.

Learn more and register here. I'll be there and I hope that you will be there too.