Edmodo Quizzes

October 12, 2013

I like to use quizzes as a way of assessing how much theory work my pupils have remembered during our FPT projects (that stands for Focussed Practical Tasks and is a project in which there is no designing, just making something so you can learn how materials and machines work). We have now been working on a metal folder for the last few weeks, so it was time for a metal theory quiz. Normally I would have used my school intranet, which has a quiz function, but this was the ideal opportunity to try the quiz function in Edmodo.

Writing the quiz was very easy, they have a variety of question you can use. Most of them are self marking.

I liked the idea of the fill in the gaps question, but the pupil don’t get a word bank (which in my case was ok).

Written answer question have to be marked by you, but it doesn’t take very long.

I have a test pupil account, so I could take the test as a pupil. I found it very easy. The only question I found slightly difficult was the matching question as it was quite hard to drag the boxes around.

You can set a time limit on the quiz which is helpful is reducing ‘internet cheating’ (when a pupil taking an unsupervised online quiz searches for the answer).

The only disadvantage I found was that you couldn’t include picture in the quiz itself, you can upload files but then pupils have to view the file before answering the question. I wanted to use picture in the matching game (so pupils could match the picture of the tool to the correct name).

The pupils who have taken the quiz so far have told me that they liked it, and they found it easier than the intranet quiz (which they have taken with other teachers).

Now I need to find a reason to try out the ‘poll’ function!

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Socrative – New Features

May 11, 2013

I discovered (through my twitter feed) that Socrative had released some new features. You may remember this blog post from last year when I first started using Socrative.

Socrative now let’s you include images and automatically marked short answer questions, which is very useful in a quick quiz situation when pupils want to know who won!

I’ve been experimenting with the image feature first, as it is the most useful for my subject. So far I am impressed with its possibilities, but it does seem to have some limitations. Let me show you how it works first and then discuss the minor problem I am having.

Now when you start to write a quiz you are presented with the option to ‘add image’ to each question.

As with most apps you have the choice of using an existing image, or taking a new one.

You can see here my finished questions about mechanical fixings, with included picture!

Then when you run the quiz, this picture will appear under the question but before the answer on the pupils device. This is where I ran into a small problem. When I tried it out on my iPhone, this is what I was presented with:

The picture was huge! I thought it was just my choice of picture, so I tried it out with an icon sized image of the same thing, but the picture was still huge – just more pixelated.

This would work well on a computer screen, as there would be more space. But I am mainly using Socrative on pupil devices, and some of them have even smaller screens than my iPhone.

I think that this has great potential, I am just really hoping that the picture size can be sorted out soon!

On a separate note, this Saturday I am taking part in an annual tradition at my school called ‘Apposition’. Whilst it is a lovely event, it does take up almost all of my Saturday (which as most teachers know are quite precious). Anyway, we are (to my knowledge) the only school that does this. So if you want to find out more then there is a great description of it on the schools Wikipedia entry. The event is steeped in history, and it remonds me how long my school has been around for! We get to dress up in our academic gown and hood (which makes for a very colourful staff room, I will be resplendent in navy blue, gold and turquoise), listen to some amazing speeches from pupils (last year we had the mathematics behind juggling 11 balls explained to us – it was quite fascinating), see our senior pupils get awarded prizes and then have lunch with parents of prize winners.


Revision – Games

April 20, 2013

We are now well underway into revision time with my GCSE class one of the things my pupils need to be able to do it identify tools and machines. They need to know what it is called, and what it is used for. There are a lot of tools and machines in my subject! Although they will have used most of them over the course of the 2 years, they still find it difficult to associate the right name with an image.

So I get them to play matching games at the start of the lesson. It only takes about 5 mins, and they get quite competitive with each other.

It is a very simple game to make, there are 3 cards for each tools. One has the picture, one the name and one a description. I’ve laminated them so they last longer.

I’m sure you’re wondering by now why I am posting about this, surely this blog is all about the use of technology in the classroom! After the pupils have finished matching (and got them all correct) I remind them to use their phone to take a photo of the tools they struggled to match (making sure all 3 cards are in view). That way they have a photo flash card to revise from later. My pupils last year informed me that this was quite useful once they were on study leave.

Another thing they can do is download the matching game from our intranet, so they can make it at home (it’s arranged so that the squares are already matched on the sheet). As you don’t have access to our intranet, I have uploaded the games to Dropmark. So if you would like a copy for your class (or just for fun) you can find it here.


Keynote (or how to avoid death by PowerPoint)

January 12, 2013

The Spring term started this week, and after such a lovely break it was a bit of a shock to the system! Fortunately we started with an inset day, where the teachers have meetings and training sessions. I had been asked to run a 1/2 hour session on using Socrative. So I spent some of my holiday writing a general knowledge quiz, presentation and handout.

I have mentioned Keynote before, but only in passing. And I suspect that this post is going to be quite simaler to last weeks post in Pages.

Keynote comes with a good selection of templates, although I tend to stick to the first 2 (black or white) for my lessons as I think they look better on my whiteboard.

As before it is really easy to add content, and editing things are the same as in Pages. The main addition is the ability to add animations, and this is where (in my opinion) keynote is better than PowerPoint. It is really easy to add subtle (or obvious) animations to give your presentation that certain something.

If you are interested in the resources I used in my Socrative inset, you can download a copy of the hand out and keynote from my Dropmark Folder (review to follow). And if you have Socrative, you can have a copy of my general knowledge quiz by using the code SOC-699726.


Christmas Apps (to get you in the holiday mood!)

December 22, 2012

I thought that this week I would post about some Christmas apps. I know this isn’t strictly education related, but I guess you could link it to Geography or R.S.

Term has ended, holiday baking is underway and presents have been bought and wrapped (and yes I am feeling a little smug!).

So to the apps, first up we have NORAD Santa.

Every year my daughter (who is now 12) loves to track where Santa is on the NORAD website. We would have the laptop out on the table while we prepared sprouts and other Christmas lunch things. It is great fun seeing where in the world Santa is, especially as he starts to get closer to the UK! So this year we are going to try out the app, I don’t yet know what it will be like, but I am hoping it will be as cheesy as the website!

Next up we have Apple’s ‘12 Days‘. 

Every day during the 12 days of Christmas, there will something free for you to download from the iTunes or App stores. Again I don’t know what it will be like, and based on the free taster app of a Rod Stewart video, I am a little skeptical! But I’m not going to say no to the promise of free stuff.

So I hope you have a lovely Christmas, I’m off to get and get Mince Pies out of the oven (yum). 


Interactive Class Quizzes (part 2)

July 14, 2012

As I mentioned before in 'Interactive Class Quizzes (part1)', one of the drawbacks of Socrative is the inability to include pictures in the quiz question. So I found another type of quiz generator called eclicker, there are few varieties in the app store (client, presenter and audience), as a teacher you need to use the presenter version.

I must warn you that is not cheap, about £9 when I checked, I was lucky and purchased it during a sale (it was about £1). I also need to be honest, I last used it before a big update. It was buggy and crashed frequently, however I am hoping that it has stabilised since. Despite its drawbacks (cost, lack of stability), it is a promising app.

It is similar to Socrative, in that you give your own personal address (this time an IP address), and pupils have to log in with their smart devices. The drawback is, that they have to be on the same wifi network as you.

Once pupils have signed in, they appear on your home screen.

You then choose which playlist of question you wish to use (it's very easy to write your questions, and assign them to playlists) and send the question to your pupils.

 

When your pupils has submitted the answer to the question, it shows them if they were right and the percentage of correct answers in the class.

It also shows you on your home screen who was correct (using the easy to see method of colouring them in either red of green).

Something I quite like is that each question session is saved, so you can go back after the class have gone and look at their level of understanding. It shows all the questions you asked, and who got them right and wrong.

So despite the stability issues (which I am hopeful will have been sorted out), I will be using this app again. My pupils loved it, especially being able to see the percentage of correct answers in the class. However, once again Blackberry users struggled, and sometimes my pupils found it difficult to connect to the schools wifi network. However, one of my boys has offered to set me up a local wifi network in my classroom, so that they can connect through that instead (sometimes you've got to love pupil initiative!).


Puzzles, how to create (the easy way)

June 16, 2012

I firmly believe (and my pupils seem to agree) that crosswords are an excellent way of revising or checking knowledge. So I like to make them as lesson starters, mainly during GCSE revision time. Normally I would use one of the many free puzzle generators you can find online (for example this one) but I wanted one I could use on the iPad, especially as I find the websites quite tricky to use without a mouse.

I started off trying out an app called Tekasi, which was free. I found it quite frustrating. You had to decide on the shape of your crossword before you started inputting any words. This meant carefully planning out my crossword on a piece of paper first. Also you couldn’t edit a puzzle once you had generated it, this meant lots of re entering data.

I found a recommendation on another education technology blog (although I am embarrassed to admit that I can’t remember which one, I will research and try to update with a link later). It has the rather wordy title of ‘Make My Own Puzzles‘, and it did cost money (although not very much) but I was very impressed.

It has a very simple easy to use interface and can make either wordsearches or crosswords. You simply enter in the words you wish to use (with a clue if you want to make a crossword).

Then you simply generate your puzzle. It works out the best placement for the words, and if you don’t like the layout, you can generate it again for a different layout. Something I particularly liked was the ability to go back and edit the puzzle. Adding more words, tweaking clues etc. was very easy.

The finished puzzle can be easily exported as a PDF, PNG OR JPEG. You can even open it from the app into things like Goodreader, OpenOffice or iBooks. The puzzle also comes in 3 formats, standard crossword, crossword with initial letter clues and a completed crossword.

So if you also believe in crosswords, then I recommend ‘Make My Own Puzzles’. Or if you have a puzzle generator recommendation, then I would love to hear it.

 


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