Sunday, 20 March 2016

The Gamification Chronicles: Combine Assessment, Review and Gaming with "Quizizz"

One of the favorite parts of my job is piloting new assessment tools with my students. My students, (like many others world wide) love to play games and compete with their peers. Gamification is a "buzzword" in education lately as we try to appeal to the competitive nature of students and tap into their learning modalities and interests. And who doesn't like to play games?

The quizizz game room enter porthole 
What makes quizizz so fun is that it has great applications as a formative assessment tool. Create an account here and then direct your students to the game room sign in to join. When you are in the admin console, you can create quizzes, but I like to browse public quizzes which many people use. You can duplicate these quizzes to add or take out questions.


Quizziz in Action!
When you start a game, you'll see who has entered your "room" and when everyone is there, you can start the game. Students get points on the correct answer, but you can also indicate if you want extra points given for the "speediness" of answers. Personally, I don't like this, as it causes students to rush through and not read carefully. If they get a question correct, they get points which is also followed by a funny meme. Answers populate into the teacher dashboard in real time and you'll see a breakdown of each question and whether it was a high frequency miss or not. 

In real time, each participant has a bar of completion with correct and incorrect answers.

After ending the game, you will see a list of frequently missed questions. Here, question #8 was frequently missed.


Comparing Quizizz and Kahoot!
Most people have heard of "Kahoot" instead of "Quizizz", so I'll compare the two. Kahoot is a teacher paced assessment tool, meaning that the students will answer one question at at time and the teacher will see the results after each question. I think this is much more effective as a study and review tool, because if you see the majority of the class missed a question, you can stop and re-teach. 

Quizizz is student paced and gives more options whether or not you want answers to be shown, memes and can be sent out as a link or assigned as homework. I think Quizizz has better as a lesson review or a multi-lesson review tool, and Kahot is better for diagnostic assessment and re-teaching. 

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Tuesday, 15 March 2016

The Hank Moody Effect-Is Online Communication Evolving or Devolving?

In a faculty meeting last week, we made a list of tech and organizational skills that we felt students should have in our first, second and third week of school starting next fall. We generated some great ideas and prioritized them based on what was "essential" early on and what could be shelved for later.

A student writes me a chat message in the hangouts window.

One of the topics that came up was "How to write a letter to your teacher". Whereas generally, my students do have good letter writing skills, when students chat with me via gmail I occasionally get these emoji encrusted letters with cute faces and an incoherent message as seen above. Somehow, this made me think of the current US presidential election and all of the online vitriol flung back and forth between candidate supporters and decreased civility and openness to different opinions. It also made me think of Hank Moody.

The Hank Moody Effect
Hank Moody is a charachter played by David Duchovny in "Californication"and in a recent scene, Henry Rollins interviews Hank Moody's character and asks what he's interested in thinking or writing about. Hank had this great appraisal:

"The fact that people seem to be getting dumber and dumber.  People, they don't write any more, they blog. Instead of talking, they text. No punctuation, no grammar. It's LOL this and LMFAO that. It just seems to me like a bunch of stupid people pseudo communicating with a bunch of other stupid people in a protolanguage that resembles more of what cavemen used to speak rather than the king's English." 

Was it always like this? Or is this a step forward from not being able to talk with random strangers at all? Sherry Turkle was an early pioneer in this emerging field of technology and her TED talk: "Connected, but alone" is a interesting by slightly dystopian vision of how accessibility to the world has created small "sips" of text or conversation that has given everyone a voice, although many young adults don't know how to pivot on cues in real time. 



I think there's hope for my students and the future. They just have to be taught how to do it; so that's what I'm going to do now.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

The Power of Pear Deck

My new favorite assessment tool is "Pear Deck". Pear deck is a presentation platform that allows a teacher to give lectures with videos, content, but also intersperse formative assessment questions to engage students so they're not sitting passively.

The Pear Deck Dashboard
Pear Deck is free but the premium account allows teachers to see student responses during a presentation. There are times when I've used "Pear Deck" and I don't want my student to see another student's response in which I'll toggle in an out of presentation mode.


The Pear Deck dashboard. Lessons are boxed together for editing. 
Getting Started
Strangely, the best way to get started with Pear Deck is to create an account in "Google Drive" as teachers will have the ability to send responses to a students Google drive account, and for this, Pear Deck needs to be enabled. Go to "Google Drive", hit the red button that says "new" and go down to "connect more apps" and search for pear deck and install.

Once students have done this, direct them to the Pear Deck website and select "student login". DO NOT select "Sign in with Google" as this will sign them into Pear Deck as an administrator.

Pear Deck in Action
For this lesson below on how nutrition affects the body, I asked students for some background knowledge using an long, open ended response. On the left window, I can see students and their responses, but in the center, they can publicly see what each other wrote. You can select the green eye below if you want (or don't want) students to see each other responses before submitting, so Pear deck does have applications as a community learning tool, but also for summative assessment. Another fun feature is the "lock" button which will shut out students ability to respond after a designated time.




Presentation Mode
Below you will see the format for videos. A video inserted will not play as a session dashboard, but as a teacher you can go back and forth between projector view and session dashboard.



Running Records
As you insert questions with the question icon, all information from users is collected and put into a spreadsheet that can be emailed and send with "another email merge" or "autocrat" for reference.
A spreadsheet of responses. 

A Final Word
I had to practice Pear Deck once with my advisory students before I felt competent enough to manage pear deck with a lesson. The different presenting modes, inserting question types were all a little daunting for a first time. However, after using my 11 students as guinea pigs for an advisory lesson, I got a handle on things and was ready to go!

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Google Forms never looks so good with "Superquiz".