Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tuesday Tech Tip: Mixing it Up with Office Mix

We've done a series of blog posts in recent weeks, all focusing on "tools of engagement."  Zaption, Socrative, PearDeck, and Classflow all provide levels of student interaction and analytics that can help teachers monitor progress.  In addition, we've posted previously about ways to narrate a presentation (MoveNote) and create a screencast (Screencastify & Snagit),

This week, we're highlighting Office Mix, a tool that does ALL of those things inside of an application that most people are already familiar with: PowerPoint.  OfficeMix would be a great option for blended or flipped instruction or anytime you want students to interact more with information being presented.

Office Mix is a relatively new add-on for PowerPoint 2013 (you can install the add-on from their site).  While you do need PowerPoint to create a mix, a mix can be viewed on any device with a web connection, including mobile devices;  however, certain interactive elements are not yet available on iOS or Android.

With Office Mix, you can:
You decide if you want it publicly available or restricted to your district or school domain. Office Mix analytics will tell you how long viewers spent on each slide, show their quiz answers, and results can be exported to Excel.

Use your district email address when prompted to sign in (choose Office for Work or School).

Your mix can be added into Schoology as an assignment, embedded into Schoology or another website with code, or accessed via link.  See the Mix below for the directions on adding into Schoology (and also to experience some of the interactive elements you can insert into "the mix").

Check with your school technology support folks if you need to upgrade the version of MS Office on your district PC laptop.  And have fun mixing it up!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tuesday Tech Tip: Zaption

Using video for instructional purposes is a great way to engage learners and share information. How many times have you been sharing a video and stopped it to ask questions or to see if your students were still with you? Have you ever wondered if your students are really paying attention to the content or if they are taking the opportunity to take a mental break from class?  

What if there was a tool that could help you with this, where you could pause and check for understanding, gather feedback, and have your students interact?  

One tool you might consider is Zaption.  Zaption allows you to create engaging video lessons in minutes.  

With Zaption you can create tours for your students where they interact with video content. With a little planning, you can turn online videos into interactive learning experiences.  Zaption�s authoring tools allow you to find relevant online video and add elements such as text, images, drawings, discussions and questions.

You can start from scratch or search Zaption�s content to get started.

Once you create a tour, getting it to your students is as simple as sharing a link. You can also embed the tour into a website or right inside of Schoology or even share through Google Classroom.

Consider creating tours for students to use on individual devices or perhaps you want to use the tool with the whole class as you project from your computer.  The Office of Instructional Technology is happy to help you think through how this tool can enhance student learning and engagement.  

Why not give it a whirl?  Watch the video below and then login to www.zaption.com. Use your CCSD/G+ Login

Want more?  Check out these tours from the Zaption Gallery

 U.S. History Andrew Jackson

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Tuesday Tech Tip: Socrative

As a classroom teacher, I was always looking for ways to get formative feedback from my students.  Pop quizzes were fine, but I still had to grade them overnight and wait until the next day to give students their feedback.  Exit tickets were a better option, but I often struggled to grade them quickly in class so that I could use the data immediately.  At best, I was able to modify my plans for the next day�s lesson.  Then, I found Socrative.

Can't see the above video? Click here to open it in a new tab: Socrative introduction video (new) from Socrative Inc. on Vimeo (This may require a filter bypass).

Socrative is a great student-response system designed for teachers looking to tap into real-time questioning, analyzing student responses, and data visualization.  I am a visual learner and always understand material better with graphs and charts.  Socrative allows me to visualize my students� response data quickly.  I can then use my class time more effectively based on the results from quizzes, quick questions, or exit tickets.  I receive instant feedback that I use to personalize my lesson�s content �on-the-fly.�  

Socrative, as a student-response system, is different from a Schoology assessment.  I am huge proponent of creating quizzes and tests in Schoology, however, sometimes you need a quick way to get formative feedback from students during a lesson. I suggest Socrative.  Although you cannot embed a Socrative exit ticket or quiz into a website, blog, or Learning Management System (LMS), it is quick and easy to have students navigate to Socrative from their device.  Students do not need to create an account; they simply go to https://b.socrative.com/login/student/.  Oftentimes, I have students just Google �Socrative� and choose the student link.  Once there, they enter their Teacher�s Room Code, and they are in!  

In terms of collecting student responses, I use different options depending on my need.  For example, I use Schoology assessments for summative tests at the end of a unit of study.  I use Google Forms when students are pacing themselves in Schoology, instead of a traditional lecture-style lesson.  I then embed a form that students must complete before moving on to the next online activity in Schoology (e.g.: discussion, page with embedded pictures or videos, or assignment).  

Dashboard Overview in Socrative:

Aside from offering students a chance to interact with the content of a lesson throughout the lesson, you can "dipstick" students to check for understanding.  Students can use any device to enter their teacher's Room Code.  For example, as I teach a lesson on Primary versus Secondary source documents in Social Studies, I want to make sure my students understand the difference between to two.  Below, is an example of what the quiz looks like as a PDF.  

Students see the questions on their screen.

When students answer, they get immediate feedback.

As a teacher, you can set the pace of the quiz.  For example, you can have students answer at their own pace, receiving feedback as they progress.  You can have students self-pace, but with no feedback given until the end, or you, as the teacher, can control the pace of the quiz.  

You can disable student names, randomize the order of the questions and the answers, and disable student feedback.  It all depends on how you want to structure the quiz or exit ticket.  

Questions can also be short answer.  As a teacher, I tend to use multiple choice as formative quizzes throughout the lesson, and use short answers for exit tickets.  Multiple choice answers are quick to answer in the middle of a lesson.  Short answers may require more reflection or synthesis of the lesson's content.

When you are ready to view the results, you can display them in a grid-like matrix to immediately see how students did per question.  If, for instance, you notice that many students missed Question #3, then you can re-teach that question.  

One of the my favorite features of Socrative is the fact that when creating questions, I can embed pictures and explanations for each question.  The human brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than regular text, and 90% of the information that comes to brain is visual (Burmack, 2004).  Therefore, it makes sense that, as teachers, we should be incorporating more images into our lessons and assessments.  
So, whether you are a teacher looking to flip the delivery of your content, just want a better way to engage your students, or want a quicker way check for student understanding, I suggest looking at Socrative.

More Resources:

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