Over the past couple of weeks I have come across lots of different tools that would be fantastic to try within your organisation. Many of these suggestions come courtesy of Twitter whilst others arrive via corridor/staff room chats!
Snapguide is a fantastic free IOS app that allows users to create simple step by step guides. Not only can the Teacher produce instructions for activities or experiments but learners could create their own. This has fantastic potential especially as they can import pictures in to their guides. Here is an example of a Snapguide for you to check out.
Watch2gether is a great website that allows you to watch a YouTube video with others. On loading the page watch2gether.com a private room is created and a unique URL assigned. You simply then share the link via email or using Facebook/Twitter. The private room requires you to enter a display name, and informs you when your friends have joined. The pane on the right allows you to discuss the video you are watching which is great for analysis or reflection.
Dispatch is a project management tool that allows you to add multiple files to a single ‘Dispatch’ including Messages, Notes, Files, Google Drive, Drop Box etc. Once you have added your files simply add Team Members (by adding their email addresses). All activity is time stamped to support project management.
I first started to explore the use of augmented reality within education some time ago. More recently i combined it with short assignment support video i created using VideoScribe. In short, I produced a short video that helped students to ensure they fully understand the assessment method, criteria and structure of their assignment. Using Aurasma I linked an image of the assignment brief to the short video clip. Student were impressed with the results especially when using an IPAD in class.
Whilst shopping at the weekend I called in to the O2 store and came across a product called appQuiz. In short it was simply an iPad dock with 4 buttons that allowed four people to complete a quiz game. I thought it had huge potential was a learning activity however after further enquiry it seemed you were limited to the quiz questions set by the app. I’m therefore keeping my eye out for other similar products online.
Last week I explored the use of Twitter in a class setting. Whilst watching a short documentary, learners were provided with an opportunity either take notes (with a pen and paper) or to use their mobile devices and send a Tweet. Hashtags were created and displayed on the whiteboard. The group often tell me they are constantly on Twitter and therefore i assumed they would take advantage of this opportunity. Unfortunately on reflection it was evident that the group preferred to take written notes! When i questioned their preferences/choice the main reason for lack of engagement was the fact that they saw their Twitter accounts as personal and did not wish to ‘Tweet’ about College work. On reflection I can fully understand this especially as the group was predominantly 16-18 year olds.
Fortunately I did attempt to lead by example and therefore was tweeting key facts and information throughout the documentary. In addition a colleague across the City also engaged with the activity (without being prompted) and he also managed to include professional sports players in the discussion. Learners were particularly intrigued that ‘other people’ were interested in what we were doing….. so maybe this approach can be revisited after setting up College Twitter accounts for my students?
visibletweets.com was used to display the # commentary (see slideshow below).
One the of challenges faced by many ‘Teachers’ is how best to evidence learning (the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, practice, or study, or by being taught) or progress made. Progress as a definition is “Forward or onward movement toward a destination.” however in an educational sense this is often applied to academic progress. The Ofsted CIF (2012) suggests ‘staff initially assess learners’ starting points and monitor their progress, set challenging tasks, and build on and extend learning for all learners’.
Today i attempted to use technology to support the tracking of progress made against standards, and to improve the timeliness of feedback in a class setting. Using Google Sites I created a ‘Lesson‘ which included a knowledge section, a range of activities (including extension activities), embedded media (video, podcasts, publications), and clear success criteria. At the end of the lesson section i embedded a Socrative Quiz. This was a short 8 question method of assessment for learning, used to check understanding on completion of the task. Learners were provided with a set of instructions and were tasked to complete the lesson and quiz within 1 hour. A crib sheet was provided for them to make notes and also record any questions they may have as they work through the resource. Individuals who completed the activities set were targeted to complete the extension activities as appropriate.
The images below aim to demonstrate some of the key impact measures of this technique. Firstly the Google Site is public although you could restrict this to your local domain if required, either way this allows individuals who missed the session or need to review aspects of the lesson a chance to do so 24/7. Using the Google iframe i was able to embed the m.socrative link within the site and simply provide the room number for students to enter. As learners worked through the quiz i was able to track live progress to see who was engaging with the assessment. I was able to share this live view with the group as learner ID numbers were used and therefore individuals scores were not identifiable to their peers. After each question learners received instant feedback as to whether they answered it correctly. This is especially important in a world where games consoles provide instant feedback yet educational establishments can take several weeks to mark learner work!
On completion, I was able to download the automated report which had built in conditional formatting, thus i was able to see during the lesson which learners had answered which questions correctly and use this information to target individual students.
I have used Google forms for some time now however recently I started to explore other ways they could be used. This post reflects on one recent approach whereby I designed a form that could be used to assess student presentations. The structure of the form was such that once submitted the spreadsheet sitting behind the form would contain the relevant and more importantly personalised feedback required for learners to improve their work. This major benefit for this in terms of Individual and Group presentations is that the form can be designed to not only state what they have included or not but also includes things to consider in order to improve. I also included reference to assessment criteria, whether it was fully achieved or partially achieve, and what the other all grade was. The final section allowed for feedback on oracy, spelling, punctuation, grammar and presentation delivery/style. Already a colleague Lee Chapman has began to take this one step further in terms of adding the paragraph section for even more focused feedback or comments that need to be made.
I was introduced to Socrative a few months ago however never managed to actually use it in my sessions – until today…
Learners were required to simply load up m.socrative.com and then log in to the ‘room’ number allocated. Some choose to use mobile phones and some preferred using laptops.
The activity was well received and an element of competition was added by displaying the ‘live screen’. This can be hidden if required although it does provide information on learner progress throughout the task as well as a summary of correct multiple choice answers.