If you’ve ever thought about flipping your class, EduCanon.com is a great place to start. EduCanon makes it easy to create formative questions to go along with a video. You can use any videos you find on Vimeo, YouTube, or TeacherTube with EduCanon. This means you can also upload your own makes to these websites and use them on EduCanon. Here’s how EduCanon works:
Using EduCanon is really quite simple once you’ve settled on a video to use. Just click “build” at the top of the screen and embed the video’s URL link. Your video will show on the EduCanon screen where you can add either multiple choice questions or reflective pauses to any part(s) of your video as seen below. Users with a paid subscription have more question options, including free response. Creating questions is easy on EduCanon; there really is not much of a learning curve because this site is so user-friendly.
A major issue with flipping a class, or a part of a class, is accountability–how do I know people have viewed and understood the video? EduCanon lets users create classes that will register each student’s answer to an embedded question. EduCanon videos cannot be fast forwarded but can be rewound ensuring that students watch what is required and are able to review necessary parts. A few thoughtful and well-placed questions throughout a video will ensure that all material is watched and allow the teacher to assess student understanding. For a complete tutorial, click here.
Screenshot of my flipped lesson using EduCanon
I recently flipped a faculty meeting about web page creation using EduCanon. I created a 10-minute tutorial using QuickTime player on my Mac which I then imported to iMovie so I could create some transitions and delete some material to make the segment shorter. After uploading the video to YouTube I was able to import my creation to EduCanon. While this process is somewhat time-consuming, it is certainly easier if you use preexisting video. So, if you were going to show a video clip in class, a TED talk, or a Khan Academy tutorial, you can flip that part of your lesson for homework using EduCanon and be sure the video was watched, understood, and hopefully even enjoyed.
…that there’s a quick undo/redo function available on iPads and iPhones? To quickly get to this, type something and then give your device a gentle shake. An “Undo/Redo” window will appear. Just a quick, fun tip!
In an earlier blog post, I wrote about how important student surveys can be to teachers and administrators. In this post I would like to show two different ways surveys can be given.
Bree Valvano, an English teacher at Randolph, has frequently used Survey Monkey to poll her students throughout the year. “I used the feedback to help guide my lesson planning,” explains Bree. The site is free and easy to use. In Survey Monkey, you can design your own survey or use a template. Students are then provided a link where they can fill out the survey and Survey Monkey tabulates the results for you. Here are some screen shots from a survey Bree has given in the past:
Another way to collect information is by using Google Forms. If you already use Google Drive to create documents or share files with students or staff, Google Forms might be a convenient way to survey students. Google Forms works very much like Survey Monkey or other popular sites like Socrative and Poll Everywhere. However, like Survey Monkey, I’ve found Google Forms to be much better than these two sites at tabulating data. Results from your survey are presented in easy-to-analyze charts or on a spreadsheet.
Using Survey Monkey or Google Forms makes giving student surveys easy. Both sites have ready-to-use templates and teachers can have a survey up in minutes. Since both survey sites are web based, students can use their own devices to record their answers, making the process 100% paperless. Easy, easy, easy.
As the calendar rolls into February and second semesters begin throughout the country, it can be useful to think about implementing student surveys in your classes.
Larry Ferlazzo, an ESL teacher and Learning Network contributor, polls his students every semester and finds the feedback he receives invaluable. “I’ve found that receiving feedback from my students about the class and my teaching style has helped me become a better educator,” writes Larry on his blog where he has compiled a host of resources to guide teachers through the survey process. Larry’s blog has everything from the form he uses with his students to his reflections from surveys he’s given to students in the past.
Like Larry, I’ve found that surveying students and faculty can be rewarding and helps inform what I do. In fact, reading Larry’s blog is the reason I started to use student surveys. In the past, I’ve used multiple-choice surveys for students based on the Stronge evaluation model, and also short narrative forms that can be used with greater frequency for staff feedback. (Hard copies of Stronge survey forms can be found here on pages 55-62.)
If you’re thinking about surveying your students, here are my top five recommendations for making the process a smooth one:
- Keep the surveys anonymous to encourage honesty.
- Be sure to inform your students or colleagues about why you value their opinion before they fill it out.
- Don’t make the form too long; 5-10 minutes to complete the form should suffice.
- Don’t dwell on the outliers–good or bad.
- Use the results to inform your practice. What does the data say you can improve about your classes, department or school right away?
So, if you’ve never surveyed your students before, consider trying it out–it can be tremendously worthwhile.
Today our Technology Focus Group learned about an app called Sock Puppets–it’s free and available on the iTunes store. Sock Puppets lets users create their own short video clips with audio about anything they want. The fun part is that the videos feature sock puppets. The app has a ton of potential in many different types of classrooms. For example, English teachers can use it so students can create dialogue based on vocabulary words or math teachers can use it to have students explain math concepts. Users are able to modulate their voices, add their own images and scenery, and choose their own characters. Today we used the app to create a video based on Abbott and Costello’s “Whose on First?” routine. Here’s the video we created (can you guess who the actors are?):
Sock Puppets is an amazingly fun app that is easy to use. It does have some inexpensive add-ons you can purchase. To make the video above I purchased for $.99 a feature that lets users import their own backgrounds, which is how we were able to use a baseball field. Using my iPad, I took a screen shot from Google of an old baseball field then edited the image with a great app called Doc Scan HD (which is quickly becoming my favorite app) then imported the image to Sock Puppets. Then our actors took over, recorded their voices, and uploaded the file to YouTube.
Total time from start to finish: about 7 minutes.
If you’re interested in trying to limit Internet search results to a specific reading level, Google is able to do this based on your preference. Google uses an algorithm to determine reading levels and groups results into three categories: basic, intermediate, and advanced. This search function can enable someone like a second language learner to find more basic sites that are easily understandable. Or, it can be a tool for students looking to do research for a class project as they’ll be able to filter their search to get only advanced results. Google Reading Level takes only a minute to master and is a great research option to show students.
- Click Search tools at the top of the search results page.
- Click All Results.
- Click Reading level. You’ll now see results annotated with reading levels as well as a percentage breakdown of results by reading level.
- To filter your results by a specific reading level, select your desired level (Basic, Intermediate, or Advanced).
- At any time, you can click Clear to go back to seeing all results.
Check out this video for other ways to access this search function:
The start of the new year is usually a time for resolutions. However, as most of us know, resolutions generally don’t last the entire year. A 2007 study of over 3,000 people showed just how pervasive failed resolutions are–it turns out that 88% of all resolutions ended in failure. I haven’t set any particular resolutions for 2014 since, like those surveyed, I doubt I’ll be able to follow through all 365 days. However, I’m always trying to find innovative ways to manage my time more efficiently. Maybe I’ll be more efficient in 2014? I thought I’d share three of my favorite web tools that I rely on frequently to help me achieve this goal. I thought that by posting these three tools you might start using them as well this year because they are true and tested time savers.
Zamzar.com is a free website for file conversion. The online interface is easy to use–just select or drop your file needing conversion to Zamzar and then choose how you want it converted. You’ll receive an email with the converted file in about a second. The interface (image on left) is simple and effective. For example, to get this image, I took a screenshot of part of the Zamzar website and since WorldPress doesn’t accept this file I used Zamzar to convert the image to .jpg then had it emailed to myself so I could upload it to this blog post. It took about 1 minute from start to finish. This service is great if you’re looking for an efficient way to cut and paste scanned student work into presentation software. Most presentation software won’t allow you to embed .pdf so Zamar could solve this problem for you by converting all or part of the file into .gif or .jpg so you can quickly embed the images into your presentation.
Doodle.com makes scheduling a meeting a breeze. Just invite your colleagues or friends and establish some dates and times using their calendar. Your invitees will be able to select with checkmarks when they are available. After everyone has selected when they are free you can schedule a time to meet based on what’s mutually convenient. No lengthy e-mail exchanges and a totally transparent process. It’s incredibly efficient! (And yes, I used Zamzar to capture the image to the right!)
Here’s more information about the capability of Doodle:
Dropbox.com allows users to save anything they want electronically and be able to access it wherever they are online. No more thumb drives needed! When you upload a document to dropbox you can get it on your tablet, mobile device or computer. I’ve found Dropbox to be incredibly user friendly and 100% secure. You can edit files directly on Dropbox and share them from the cloud. I couple Dropbox with a service called DropitTome which allows me to receive files from anyone with the password directly into my Dropbox account. This works great with things like lesson plans or even student work. Files are delivered into folders in my Dropbox account. No e-mail and no hassle!
All three of these services are free (upgraded accounts are available for a fee) and I’ve never received a single spam e-mail after using these services. Here’s to a more efficient 2014…at least for now.
Happy New Year!