Socrative-An Online Quizzing Tool!

Quick assessments are made easy with Socrative.com! (And it’s free!)

All you have to do is sign up for a free account and watch the quick 5 minute intro and you are ready!

The coolest thing about Socrative is that if you are lucky enough to have tablets, ipads, ipods or SmartPhones in your classroom, you can make this quick assessment even quicker.

Here’s the gist:

  • Once you sign up for Socrative, you will be taken to t.socrative.com (teacher) where you can create a quick quiz, multiple choice, T/F, short answer and a Space Race.
  • You can create as many quizzes as you want, just click on the quiz you want your students to take at that particular time
  • You will be given a class number that your students will need in order to take your quiz.
  • Your students will go to m.socrative.com
  • Once your students put in your assigned room number, it will ask them to type their name then start the quiz!

*If you are using student computers and not tablets or SmartPhones, after the student has taken the quiz it will give them the option to “Let Another Student Take Quiz”-once they click that it will take them back to the original screen where the next student will have to put in the Room Number and their name.

  • As the teacher, you can watch live results while the students take their quiz.
  • Once everyone has taken the quiz, you will get an Excel spreadsheet sent to your email with the results!

This is an quick and easy way to assess your students! Try it out and share your thoughts!

Collaborative Learning in the 21st Century

Collaborative learning is one of the greatest ways for teachers to really see who their students are as learners. It is one of the best parts of my day when I get to see my students working together. The ideas they can come up with when they are set free can be inspiring.

“Cooperative learning is not so much learning to cooperative as it is cooperating to learn ( Wong & Wong, 1998)” (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, Malenoski, 2007).

Technology has given us so many tools to enhance collaborative learning in our classroom. I have loved making videos since I was in school so I naturally brought that into my classroom. I have a Flip video camera for my classroom that we use all of the time. Instead of writing a report or taking a test over a story, a great way to assess your students is to have them create a video. They can reenact the story, make a commercial summary of the story, make a talk show, etc. Once you make a video using whatever video editing program you have (Windows Movie Maker, iMovie, Adobe Premier, etc.), you can upload the video to youtube or Google Video and share your students creations with anyone!

Another great collaborative tool is Google Docs. All you need is a gmail account to create and share documents. It has a feature that you can edit a project and chat live with the people you have shared it with. Google Docs also includes Google Sites where you can create a class website or have your students create their own websites. Here is an example of a Google Site:https://sites.google.com/a/jgsc.k12.in.us/mrs-holland-s-class/

VoiceThread is fantastic tool that let’s the students collaborate with people around the world. You can upload pictures, videos or presentations and narrate or comment over them. People can use their phones, a webcam or a microphone to comment. Here is an example of a VT my students did this week on Fire Prevention :http://voicethread.com/share/2299633/

There are many tools out there that will encourage collaboration amongst your students. If you have an idea, please share!

References

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Podcastin’

Incorporating podcasts into the classroom is simple and very beneficial! All you need is a small, inexpensive microphone and an internet connection!

I have centers for my reading class and one center is called “ Podcastin’“. Oral reading fluency is a big thing for second graders to get comfortable with. Creating podcasts lets the students practice orally reading as well as listen to how they are reading.

Podcasts can be as simple as the straight reading of a text to adding voices, sound effects and music!

Pod-o-matic is a fantastic site to use! They make it easy to upload and embed the files.

Podbean is another great one!

Ideas for incorporating:

-Reading a story aloud-Let the students act the story out with their voices

-Presenting a project-instead of having students stand up in front of everyone, let them present their podcast

-As the teacher, you can record a story you want your students to listen to

-Create Podcast channels that can be embedded into your class website (examples: newscasts, daily announcements, story of the week, vocabulary words of the week, writing tips)

Let the students use their imaginations. A lot of students will get shy if they are asked to be in front of a camera, but with podcasts, students feel more free to create!

If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them! Leave a comment! 🙂

Let your students create!-Project Based Learning and Technology

Let your students create!

The constructivist/constructionist theory explains how important it is for the learner to explore and create for themselves (Laureate, 2011). Project based learning derives itself from this theory and explains that “Because [it] is filled with active and engaged learning, it inspires students to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they’re studying” (Nichol, 2011).

When coming up with a project for your students, it is important to create a situation where they will be forced into a point of dis-equilibration. When students are in a place where they do not know all of the answers they are forced to work through a situation or problem in order to solve it. The answers are not given to them. Students learn when they have to solve something on their own.

Students need to be able to work through a problem successfully as well as sometimes, unsuccessfully.

Creating and testing hypotheses is a great way for students to work through problems and different concepts.

“When students generate and test hypotheses, they are engaging in complex mental processes, applying content knowledge like facts and vocabulary, and enhancing their overall understanding of the content” (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, Malenoski, 2007).

Technology tools help enhance the testing of hypotheses. Students are able to manipulate figures and work with the content in ways that would take too long to work through on paper. Microsoft Excel is a convenient tool that many students have access to at school and at home. There are also many online spreadsheet tools such as Google Docs (Spreadsheets) and wikiCalc (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, Malenoski, 2007).

Online gaming systems, oddly enough, provide simulations where students “use background knowledge, make decisions and see the outcome of their hypotheses, often in virtual situations that would be impossible or financially unreasonable in real life” (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, Malenoski, 2007).

As many people would consider Farmville on Facebook a waste of time, it may have a place in the classroom. Players are able to make decisions about what would work best for their farm, try it out and see the consequences. Where SimCity and the Sims are seen as programs that waste too much time, and maybe they do, they could also have a place in the classroom. Students are able to try all kinds of different situations without any harm to their real lives. They are constantly testing hypotheses without even knowing or trying.

Presentation tools such as SlideRocket and Prezi are great ways for students to document what they have researched or what they are working on. Both sites allow the user to easily upload or embed presentations into websites. They also have a link that can easily be shared.

No matter the content area, there is a technology tool out there that can enhance your curriculum.

References

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program five: Cognitive learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=laureate.ecollege.com&Survey=1&47=2594577&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=0&bhcp=1

Nichol, M. (2011) What Works in Education. Why Teach with Project-Based Learning?: Providing Students With a Well-Rounded Classroom Experience. Retrieved fromhttp://www.edutopia.org/project-learning-introduction

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Applying How Students Learn to How We Teach-Utilizing technology

When preparing a lesson to teach to your students, what are you thinking about? Do you think about meeting the standards? Do you think about the different levels of your students and how you are going to reach them?

Do you think about what you are teaching or how you are teaching?

When we look at cognitive theories such as Paivio’s Dual Coding Hypothesis, we learn that students can remember images better than remembering text and if there is an image associated with the text, they have a better chance of remembering that (Laureate, 2011). That does not mean that we throw out all of our books and workbooks because their are words in it, that means we have to understand that our students need visual aids when we are teaching the content.

Straight lecture is not going to work most of the time.

Students need to feel the content. Students need videos, pictures and models to fully grasp what you want them to learn. We need to use their senses to get that information from short term memory to long term memory.

It is no secret that funding for schools is not where it should be. We want our students to experience the topics we are talking about in class, but we cannot afford to make that happen.

Does that mean we just give up and hope that the pictures we are showing our students will do the content justice?

There are many ways we can bring the content to life and one great way to do that is through Virtual Field Trips. Here are some great sites that will guide you to finding the perfect Virtual Field Trip for your students.

http://www.internet4classrooms.com/vft.htm

http://www.theteachersguide.com/virtualtours.html

http://www.field-trips.org/

These experiences allow the students to use visual stimuli to put that information into their long term memory. These are also great ways to allow the students to explore a topic on their own. They are able to interact with the content they are learning which will encourage them to dive into their episodic memory and use schema when trying to learn new concepts.

Once your students have explored the different VFE’s, they can put what they have learned into a concept map. There are many great sites that allow the students to create many different types of concept maps. Here are just a few:

http://www.spiderscribe.net/

https://cacoo.com/

http://www.mindmeister.com/

When the students are able to organize their thoughts, they again, will be able to take the information from short-term memory to long-term memory. Students need to chunk and piece together the information. They cannot just learn an entire concept and be expected to remember it when it comes time for an assessment.

Our focus has to be on the learner first, content second.

References

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Cognitive Learning Theories [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=laureate.ecollege.com&Survey=1&47=2594577&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=0&bhcp=1

Drill and Kill-Does it have a place in the classroom?

The idea of “drill and kill” has been a hot-button issue for many years. Can the innovation of educational technology programs bring this idea back to the classroom? Does the Behaviorist Learning Theory have a place in classrooms today?

The Behaviorist Learning Theory states that positive behavior should be reinforced and undesirable behavior should be punished (Orey, 2011).

How does that theory relate to drilling students on facts, you might ask? There are many websites and computer programs that drill the students on their facts and instantly reward them with a positive saying, a silly song or a fun animation. When they get a wrong answer, they either hear a loud, harsh sound, see a negative phrase or mainly lose points. This can be seen as very negative. I can speak for my students when I say, the majority love playing these kinds of games. They love trying to beat their previous score. They do not really see it as a negative reinforcement.

Not all sights are aesthetically pleasing and do not grab the attention of the students. Those that do, effectively aide in student learning.

Here are some great sights that utilize the video gaming age to create fun, interactive games while drilling the students on their basic facts.

Sheppard Software

Arcademic SkillBuilders

Online Basic Skill Games-This site is a hub for many skill games!

The idea of drilling facts into the brains of our students can seem pointless, but when you think about it, those skills are the basis of most story problems, reading comprehension questions and many other various skills students will use.

Activity is important. Learning is better when the learner is active rather than passive. (‘Learning by doing’ is to be applauded) (Smith, 1999).

Technology has given what was once a boring “drill and kill” method and made learning facts active and engaging.

References

Smith, K. (1999). The behaviourist orientation to learning. In The encyclopedia of informal education. Retrieved from http://www.infed.org/biblio/learning-behavourist.htm

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program four: Behaviorist learning theory [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=laureate.ecollege.com&Survey=1&47=2594577&ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=0&bhcp=1

How I am using Twitter in my classroom!

You may think that social media should be kept outside of the classroom, but I definitely disagree!

When used correctly and monitored, social media can be one of the greatest instructional tools you will encounter!

In my second grade classroom, I am using Twitter for instructional purposes. My students sit at tables. On each table is a computer monitor. I set my room up this way so that my students have convenient access to the computer at all times. I created @MrsHollandSays on Twitter and have that up on their monitors at all times. They do not have personal Twitter accounts, they simply use my account. (I log-in prior to the start of the day). Throughout the day I will post instructions, encouraging words and answers to their questions.

**If you don’t have many computers in your room, you can still use Twitter! You could have it up on the computers that you do have or when you take your students to the computer lab, teach them how to log in to the classroom twitter and have it up while they are working.

If you have a SmartBoard, ActivBoard or a projector, have your Twitter feed up when you are not instructing!

They have a running log of today’s events (as well as yesterdays, two weeks ago and as long as you have been on Twitter)!

Key items to remember when setting up/using a classroom Twitter:

Keep it private!-Only people you allow to follow you will see your tweets.

Only use first names in your tweets

Encourage parents to follow you! -I have had parents tweet the class encouraging words during the day and they love it!

Post reminders throughout the day-If you have students who need extra reminders, post it, then tell your students to check their Twitter. They have never been this excited to read directions!

Share sites and links with parents-This is a quick and easy way to share different links you are using in class!

Happy Tweeting!!

If you have any other ideas on how you are using Twitter in your room, I would love to hear from you!