Search with a difference

If you haven’t come across Spezify, check it out.  Spezify is a really neat search tool which acts intuitively by  collecting results from a large number of websites in different visual ways.  This is a great tool for classroom use instead of a list of links and specifically for younger age groups.  I was really impressed with this tool, it’s definitely going to the top of my list!  I ran a search on ‘sustainability’ and the result included great video and images, as well as related words to use for further searches.

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Creating quizzes

I was searching for some easy quiz creators that I could use for students to create quizzes for their classmates. This is a great way for students to think about the concepts they have covered,  revise what they and have fun testing their peers!

Here’s a run down on the quiz makers that I came across:

Quiz your friends: free, easy and effective quiz creator, unfortunately the ads make it inappropriate for classroom use.  I’ve written to the creators asking if they can make it school-friendly.  This would be perfect for students to create quizzes, no registration required.

Classmarker: Requires registration but is free.  You simply create your quizzes and your learners or business clients take them online.  Great for teachers to create quizzes for students, but not really suitable for students to create their own quizzes to exchange with each other.

Mystudiyo is a free quiz creator that enables you to build a quiz and add it to your site. Great looking quizzes with a choice of templates.  As I learned from Larry Ferlazzo’s site,  Sue Waters has great screenshots about how Mystudiyo works.

I have written about Quia and Yacapaca! in a previous post, both of which have quiz making facilities. However, they are  teacher-generated.

So I haven’t found exactly what I am looking for. I’ll use Classmarker to create quizzes for students to do, but I’d really love to use Quiz your friends if only they could clean up the page.

After writing this post, Larry Ferlazzo kindly responsed to my plea and directed me to a few more options.

Smile allows teachers and students to create quizzes, drag-and-drop exercises and sequencing events.  The interface is very simple and clean, so very appropriate for student use.

Another extremely useful tool is to use google spreadsheets which enables users to create forms. These can be used as quizzes including multiple choice.  See Anne’s instructions for form creation.  I guess the only lacking in this tool is that it doesn’t give the sender the instant result of whether the answer is correct. Aside from that, it is a great way to create quizzes.

Getting started with Web 2.0 tools

It can seem a little overwhelming knowing where to start with facilitating Web 2.0 tools in the classroom for teachers who are trying to embrace 21st century learning. I was so captured by this wiki: Webtools4u2se that I thought it would be a great tool to introduce teachers to cool tools and what is great about the wiki is that it gives lots of ideas for using the tools. Designed for school library media specialists, it is an ideal starting place for all educators.  It is very informative with a bright inviting home page (this is created using Glogster). It also has a page dedicated to Why Web 2.0 tools? Tools include:

  • audio and podcasting
  • blogs
  • calendars, task management and to do lists
  • drawing, charting and mapping tools
  • portal and web page starting tools
  • photo and photo sharing tools
  • presentation tools
  • quiz and polling tools
  • news feeds and aggregators
  • social networks
  • video tools and video sharing
  • wikis
  • productivity tools

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Another great starting place for teachers wanting to know how to start or where, is Anne Mirtschin and Jess McCulloch’s project and wiki for laying the foundations for using Web 2.0 technologies for teaching and learning. Visit their wiki at: Laying the e-planks for a Web 2.0 school. Anne and Jess are embracing 21st century literacies at their Hawkesdale P-12 College (a small rural p12 school, educating 5 – 18 year old students om Victoria, Australia) and are documenting what they have achieved as well as their goals on the wiki.

In the Planks page, they have resources to important issues related to Web 2.0 use, such as cybersafety, digital media and copyright, joining networks and creating an online space. To follow their journey you can subscribe to their eplanks podcasts.

Here is a great  wiki, 23 Things introducing Web 2.0 tools to teachers. It is a 10 week course for teachers. Although it cannot be joined it gives a list of resources that are to be covered in the course. If you are interested in learning more about the course, participating in a future course session, facilitating the course at your own school or adapting the content under Creative Commons, please email Shelley Paul @ k12learning20@gmail.com

Online tools for formative assessment

 Creating online assessment tools is so easy on Quia (pronounced key-ah, and is short for Quintessential Instructional Archive).  Although it costs about $50 a year (30-day free trial) I was really impressed with the array of formative assessment tools that could be created.  The following information is taken from Find out more about Quia:

The teacher can organize the test so that it evaluates the learning standard at a high level of thinking. For example, the first three questions could quiz at the Bloom’s Knowledge-Comprehension level, the next three at the Application- Analysis level, and the remaining four at the Synthesis-Evaluation level.

  • Templates for creating 16 types of online activities, including flash cards, word search, battleship, challenge board, and cloze exercises. Quia activities are designed with different learning styles in mind to suit the needs of all your students.
  • Complete online testing tools that allow you to create quizzes, grade them with computer assistance, and receive detailed reports on student performance.
  • Access to online activities and quizzes in more than 150 categories. All of the shared activities have been created by teachers from around the world.
  • A schoolwide network that lets you collaborate with your fellow teachers quickly and effortlessly.
  • An easy, centralized classroom management system including a master student list, archive of student results, and the tools to conduct schoolwide proficiency testing.
  • A class Web page creator that includes a course calendar and an easy way to post your Quia activities for students and parents.
  • Online surveys for gathering student and teacher feedback.

Hassle-free quiz creation

Not only are Quia’s quiz tools easy to use, but quizzes can be customized to fit any teacher’s needs.

  • Choose from 10 question types, including multiple choice, true-false, short answer, essay, matching, and ordering.
  • Include audio or pictures in your quizzes, if you like.
  • Have students take your quizzes from any computer with an Internet connection, or even on paper print-outs.
  • Select from a wide range of options for controlling student access during testing.

 A sample of a quiz that can be created:

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 The site also enables instant grading and reporting and networking inter-school or between schools and districts.

There is already a huge resource bank available for all different subject areas and levels. 

There is another site for creating quizzes and flashcards, Proprofs.com but it was not as impressive. It did not have a huge range of subjects, shared assessment and was not age categorised.

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Web 2.0 and the power of sharing

I needed to prepare a presentation on Web 2.0 and rather than start something from scratch I knew that other educators had probably done the same thing. Within a few days of my request, I received some incredible powerpoint presentations, webslides and teachertube resources.  Many thanks to Ken Price, Jim Mullaney, Phil Pound and others who helped me out.  Here is a webslide presentation Web 2.0 in the classroom, by Mark Woolley that was sent to me.