Final Reflections – Thing 10

I have loved this learning experience.  I have investigated and experimented with so manyinternet_research different things.  My feed reader will continue giving me so many new ideas to explore.  Many of the sites I am following are about technology in education.  I used to comb the internet for new ideas now they come to me automatically.  My students are now blogging and I have improved the research section of my web site for my students with new search engines.

I am looking forward to using and  Google for Education with my students.  I realize that to fully utilize the benefits of Google will require more time, training and investigation on my part but I am excited.  I also plan to complete the following things before they disappear from view:

  • thing 8 – screen casting
  • thing 11 – coding
  • thing 16 – digital citizenship
  • thing 28 – emerging tech
  • thing 39 – news literacy

I think of myself as a lifelong learner and this has just been one part of a continuous journey.  Thank you and kudos to Polly Farrington for providing all these wonderful resources!


Student Assessment Tools – Thing 29

child-and-schoolStudent assessment seems to be a hot topic these days.  There are many ways we can do formative and summative assessments so I decided to check out a few of them.  Currently I use a student response system with my Smart Board.  My students love it when we have and Senteo (Smart Technology’s name for their clickers) test.  The part they like best is the quick feedback.  As soon as the students are all finished I click a button and the test is scored telling the students which questions they got right or wrong.  We then go over the test and discuss the answers.  My more cautious students like this because they can raise their hands for to answer questions the clicker tells them they got right.  They participate with confidence.  I love the system because it corrects and scores my assessment, does an item analysis, and records the individual answers for each student.  The system was expensive, though, and a couple of the clickers have a button or 2 that has lost its sensitivity.  I don’t see them replacing the clickers down the road because there are so many other less expensive options out there.

Socrative is a web based assessment tool that has a few different feedback options.  I liked the quiz feature as well as the quick question especially since you have a choice between multiple choice, true/false and short answers.  For the quiz I wish I could import quizes I have already made in Microsoft Word the way I can with my student response clickers, but no such luck.  Therefore, I would have to retype into Socrative all the quizes I have already created. Oh well.  I can definitely see myself using the built in exit ticket.  I think it would be a quick and easy way to gather info.  Tapping into the students love of games can easily be done with the space race game.  I usually set up teams myself for games in class but it is nice to also have the random assignment feature.  The students would certainly get a charge out of playing the game.

Answer Garden is a quick assessment tool.  It was a cross between a tweet and a word cloud.  I could see using it as an exit ticket, for brainstorming, and to take a survey on a topic.  My students love to make word clouds on so I know they’d like how the responses are displayed in a word cloud.

I love and so would my students.  The idea of turning the assessment into a game is something the kids would love.  My students would have to use laptops rather than mobile devices.  I played a short game with a few other teachers the other day and we all got into the competitive spirit of it.  I could see how it would work well with a wide range of ages. Plickers is a similar idea if you do not have access to devices for your students, but it seems rather cumbersome otherwise.

I can’t imagine using Google Forms for an assessment without the add-on Flubaroo.  It seems like it should have been built into Google forms in the beginning!  It seems with Flubaroo it would be similar to using the student response system I mentioned above at least from the teacher’s perspective since it would grade the assessment at the click of a button.





Search Tools – Thing 9

I wanted to explore the search tools because my students will almost always go directly to Google unless I direct them otherwise.  Many of them often end up plagiarizing  because they end up on sites that are too difficult for them to truly understand (or simply because they are looking for the easy way out).  I find that if I give them a preselected list of sites that I have bookmarked they are much more successful with their research.  Giving them the sites means they are not learning to independently find suitable sites.  When I have them use our databases they often need or want to go beyond them to complete a project.

jeune-femme-poste-de-travailI liked the idea of search engines whose sites have been evaluated for student use so I am pretty confident they will view acceptable content.   I liked KidRex a lot because the search results emphasized kid related pages.   I also liked Sweet Search.   Because I teach 5th and 6th grade many of the search results were written above my weaker students’ reading levels.  When I added “for kids” to the end of my search it did help narrow down the results to their level.  I added both search engines to my website research page.

I liked the credibility of the search results from refseek. Students often struggle with determining the credibility of  a source.  Unlike Google the first result was not Wikipedia. Hooray!  The search engine Million Short surprised me.  I found useful sites that had not popped up in Google or Bing.

I was fascinated by InstaGrok.  I could easily see how it would appeal to students.  I played with it for about 2 hours.  Although I liked it, the site was less intuitive then I expected.  For example, I took notes on a source and could find them nowhere afterwards.  It was frustrating to lose my work. I could not figure out how to get an image to paste into the journal.  I tried using both Safari and Firefox with no luck.  I could see the site frustrating students.  Unless I can get a good handle on how the site works I can’t see spending the $45.

Carrot Search had the clustering feature of InstaGrok but it could be orgainzed 3 ways. I like how the clustering would help students sift through their search results.  I preferred the folders rather than the circles myself although I could see students being drawn to the circles.  I did not care for the foam tree at all because I found it overwhelming.  When I used the web tab it worked fine but I got a lot of error messages on the other tabs.

I have recently been learning about meta data and liked the search engine BASE because it included metadata in its search.  It was a great site for me but well above my students.  I could see it being used by high school and college students for research.

I spent many hours exploring this topic and comparing the different search engines.  I’m a research junkie so it was right up my alley.  I will certainly be many of theses search engines in the future.