Thursday, March 10, 2016

Quiz Games and Healthy Competition

I'm sure many of you have heard of Kahoot the website for creating review games to play in class, a great alternative to old school Jeopardy. I have used it myself countless times in my classes and the students love it. They love to see their names in the leader boards and the competition adds excitement to the event. Recently I found two other websites similar to Kahoot, Quizizz and Quizalize and having tried all three I really recommend Quizizz and let me tell you why. Unlike Kahoot, Quizizz shows the questions on the student devices not just the teachers so you don't need to project your own screen to play.  The scoring and timing are also more accurate and fair because it times each student individually regardless of when he starts and then compares and ranks scores. The student still scores higher the faster he answers but if his page loads slower he is not at a disadvantage since the timer starts when he gets to the question. This also allows you to assign the quiz as homework and they still compete against each other which makes it fun for them. Additionally, Quizizz gives you much better feedback than Kahoot, it will show you how each student performed on each questioned and you can see how many kids missed any given question so its easy to detect what area needs to be taught again.

Everything I said so far about Quizizz is also true of Quizalize, so why do I not recommend the latter? Quizizz lets you use other users public quizzes for free just like Kahoot but Quizalize charges you for using their created content.  So Quizalize is not 100% free.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Classroom Websites Made Easy

It's amazing how fast educational technology is growing, I was in Grad School in 2012 and learned about Wikis, Blogs, Google Sites, Weebly and so much more but never really delved into the whole new world of Learning Management Systems, we learned about Moodle that was it. Honestly, 3 years ago the only people talking about an LMS were online education providers, but this has changed. Why? Moodle was difficult and although free it needed hosting, but now we have products like Canvas, Haiku, Schoology and others that allow teachers to have truly free accounts. This is how I got acquainted with Schoology and there is no going back. Schoology (and the other free to use LMS) is so much more than a school portal. It truly lets you create an entire course fully online for free or use as a companion to a traditional course. I've done both and it is amazing how much you can do for free. I liked it so much that we purchased an enterprise account and the teachers and students love it.

I no longer need Evernote or Google to have a paperless classroom, everything can be submitted, graded, and shared in Schoology. It connects with my favorite Pixton, Nearpod and lots of other tools to eliminate multiple sign ins for the students.  I can embed anything, upload any type of file and even a whole zip folder.  I can record videos and audios directly into my course without the need of other software, I can grade without having to download the files, it has made my life so much easier.

The best part is that it has the look and feel of Facebook so it was easy for everyone to learn how to use it! You really need to try it out:

Monday, November 17, 2014

Video Quizzes

Videos are a great tool for teaching but if not used properly they can be a waste of time. These days if there is a video I really want students to see and learn from I do not show it in class,  instead I assign it as homework. How can I do this? It is due to a great free tool I discovered at the EdSurge Summit. The tool is called EdPuzzle and it allows you to upload your videos or search for a video (youtube etc...) and customize it. You can edit the length, add captions and add questions/quizzes. It also tracks who viewed the video, and you can choose to block fast forwarding.  It then creates great reports for each video. It is easy to set up and to add your students via a class code (they need to create an account but emails are not required).

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Awake During Lectures

Now that things have settled in my life and I have become the EdTech Specialist at my high school I have more time to share new tools, I also have more time to research new tools and not just for Religion! A tool that has become an almost daily part of my classroom is Nearpod which has turn lectures into an interactive activity. The free account of  Nearpod lets you import your existing Power Points and then add questions (poll, quiz, drawing, free response...). Once you are done you publish it and it is ready to use in class. In class you need to select the presentation and click go live which generates a code for your students to login and participate, as you get to the questions you see the students's answers in real time.  That's It! It is so easy than even my least techie teachers are using it.  After each class it generates excellent reports with the students answers which saves in your account and has the option of being emailed to you.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Webinar Handouts

This post is for those attending the "Web 2.0 in the Religion Classroom"  live webinar hosted by Ave Maria press.