Archive for the ‘Assessment’ Category

Formative Assessment With the App NearPod

Posted on: April 11th, 2014 by Chris Loat

Janice Novakowski and I were invited to work with three intermediate colleagues at Blair Elementary as part of their Innovation project for the 2013/14 school year. One of the goals of their grant application was to investigate ways in which technology can help with formative assessment. After sharing a few webtools and apps with the teachers, we decided together that NearPod might best meet their needs.

nearpod_Mathnotebook

This student took a photo of the work they did in their notebook and highlighted the specific question for the teacher before submitting it.

NearPod is an app that combines presentation, collaboration and real-time assessment tools into one integrated solution. The app creates a wireless connection between the teacher and all students’ iPads and allows them to share work that between them. Teachers can create a lesson and manage that content on the students’ iPads. Responses by students on the iPad can be sent to the teacher during the lesson. This app can be used in various situations with all learners and we have found it to be a versatile app for formative assessment.

We felt NearPod would best suit the teachers’ needs because it provided specific formative feedback for each student (as opposed to general feedback about the class as a whole that you would get with the webtool PollEverywhere.) The teachers at Blair were looking at how immediate feedback during a lesson might inform their instruction and provide feedback to students in the area of mathematics and in writing. While planning how to integrate this app into the classroom experience, we realized that it is not necessary to create an entire NearPod lesson for each time you use the app. Instead, teachers can create a lesson with 5-6 blank pages, formatted as a ‘Draw It’ page and a couple of blank pages formatted as ‘Open Ended Question’. As the pages are blank, the prompts need to be provided by the teacher, and can be:

    1. written on the board/screen at the front of the room
    2. read out of a book
    3. given verbally.

One ‘blank’ NearPod lesson can be used in different situations with the intention that the teacher provides the prompts each time it is used. The students can respond in a variety of ways including:

    1. writing on the iPad
    2. taking a photo of their written work
    3. taking a photo of manipulatives they have used
    4. drawing a picture on the iPad
    5. taking a photo of a passage/picture from a book.

Students can also annotate/mark up their photos they take, which would allow them to highlight something they want the teacher to notice.

nearpod_BLM

This student to a photo of the hundredths grid BLM used in the lesson, annotated it, and then submitted this as their answer.

On Tuesday, Janice worked with Kit Kwok as she introduced the NearPod app to her grade six students. One of Kit’s goals in using this technology was for her to receive immediate feedback when students began their practice questions in mathematics, so that she could provide support to the students who might need a mini-lesson or review before continuing on their own.

In this Math lesson, students provided their responses in two different ways: 1) Students completed the work took in their notebook and took a photograph of their response, often circling the answer to highlight it;  2) Other students took a photograph of the hundredths grid and then annotated it on the iPad before submitting it to their teacher.

nearpod_BLM2

This student completed their work on the hundredths grid BLM, photographed it, then annotated it in NearPod before submitting it to the teacher.

It should be noted that the Blair students are relatively fluent in using the iPads and were able to support each other and problem-solve as they learned how to use this app. Other classes may need more direction and practice before using it independently. It should also be noted that to start a lesson, students log in with a 5 letter passcode and download the template. Depending on the strength / speed of your wifi connection will determine how quickly the students can connect to the lesson. It is advised to stagger the log-in or do it well in advance.

Kit was very enthusiastic about the experience and was confident that this would be really useful to both her and her students. She liked how she could quickly see the list of students who had logged in and then being able to visually see who had submitted their work. She was able to click on a submitted file to enlarge it and see it in more detail and then provide immediate feedback to students as necessary. Going forward, it looks NearPod will provide the specific formative assessment needed to ensure our learners are understanding the concepts and information we teach on a daily basis.

~ Chris and Janice

Formative Assessment On the iPad

Posted on: March 5th, 2014 by Chris Loat
photo

Students highlighting their work and recording their reflections with 30Hands

Today at Maple Lane, I taught a lesson on formative assessment to a group of grade 6/7 students from Sarah Beairsto’s class. What was unique about this lesson was that instead of using a pencil, students used the iPad, and specifically the app 30Hands. The students were in the midst of a project on extreme environments and Sarah asked me to do a lesson that allowed the students to do a reflection on the processes used to date for the project. As 30Hands allows students to attach audio recordings to photos, I thought this would be the right tool for the job. I taught the basics of the app to the class, then had the students take photos of the work they completed to date. This included all rough draft notes, any unfinished pages, completed pages, and any other evidence of work that was completed for the project. We then chatted about formative assessment. We brainstormed ideas for sentence starters that could be used in their verbal reflections and wrote these on the whiteboard. After this, we asked the students to record their reflections for each part of the project. In the end, each student had a 4-5 minute video of their photos and of their verbal reflections of the processes used in the project.

Formative Assessment Sentence Starters

Formative Assessment Sentence Starters

This lesson was a hit on many levels. Firstly, it was a collaborative effort between myself and Sarah (the classroom teacher). Secondly, if focussed on the process used in completing the students’ work. Focussing on the process (instead of the product) is so valuable for students, and bringing it to their consciousness is paramount in them understanding the importance of it. Thirdly, the iterative process of students recording their ideas further strengthens the understanding of processes used in thir project.

Will I do this one again? For sure! It has so many positives that I hope to model this lesson to every class I go into. Thanks to Sarah for the great idea and to her students for their thoughtfulness in completing these formative assessments.

Using Popplet in the Classroom

Posted on: October 13th, 2013 by Chris Loat 2 Comments

Popplet Lite is an app that allows students to create a word web, mind map, or any other organized collection of ideas. The big differences between using Popplet and creating one by hand is that the ideas can be easily moved around and colour coded, and that photos/images can be easily inserted instead of written ideas. Students add ideas by double tapping the iPad screen to create a cell or ‘popple’.

Inside the popple, students have the option to:

  • type text in the middle of the popple
  • use their finger to draw a sketch (or handwrite) with the pencil
  • add a photo taken with their camera
  • add a photo from their photo library
  • colour code and resize each popple.

Most students will figure out how to add the different elements; however here are a few tips for using the app:

  1. For drawing sketches with the pencil, enlarge the popple, draw the sketch, then resize the popple down to its smaller size.
  2. To select multiple popples, tap each one with two fingers.
  3. You can copy a popple by holding your finger one the popple. ‘Copy popple’ will appear and then tap this button.
  4. Paste an image copied from elsewhere by tapping and holding your finger on a popple. ‘Paste image’ will appear and then tap this button.
  5. Move the entire popplet by dragging your finger outside of a popple.
  6. Move one popple around the screen by dragging your finger inside of a popple.
  7. You can cut/copy/paste text within and between popples by tapping and holding on the text. A selection of buttons will appear which allow you to cut/copy/paste text.
  8. Create a new branch between two popples by tapping on the popple, then tapping on the grey circle just outside the popple, then dragging your finger to the popple you want to connect to.
  9. Colour code your popples so each similar idea / word is the same colour (e.g. all proper nouns are green).
  10. Change the arrangement (left, centre, right justified) or size of the text by tapping and holding on a word, then tapping on select or select all. A new dialogue box appears on the right side of the screen to alter the text. This is done while in text mode, so tap the T on the popple before selecting your words.

Ideas for student use of Popplet Lite in the classroom include:

  • brainstorm ideas for a written essay in an organized manner. Remember, the ideas can be images from a website, photos they take with the iPad, or sketches made with the pencil tool.
  • make a word web for a specific unit of study or in second language. This is a great tool for ELL students or for learning French vocabulary.
  • make a concept map with connections between ideas (sadly, words cannot be placed on the lines in popplet). One could make a concept map without the adjoining words and print it off, then have the students add the words to show their understanding between the concepts.
  • categorize ideas / words / concepts
  • create a timeline by arranging the popplets in a linear fashion
  • collect facts for a research project (using popplet makes it difficult to copy/paste long sentences or paragraphs, therefore helps to prevent plagiarism)
  • create a family tree with photos and names
  • Ideas for teacher use of Popplet lite in the classroom include:
  • create your own 4 Pictures 1 Word game
  • seating plan (with names and photos)
  • class brainstorm of ideas
  • create a unit plan

See the examples below of how popplet can be used in the classroom

Canada Vocabulary for an ELL class, with words categorized
Seating Plan for a Classroom
Framework for brainstorming essay ideas
Fact Collecting for a Research Project on homo habilis

Using the App ‘Book Creator’ in the Classroom

Posted on: October 4th, 2013 by Chris Loat

The app ‘Book Creator’ is a versatile and intuitively set-up app that allows students to easily create digital content in a variety of ways. In Richmond, teachers have used their iPads and ‘Book Creator’ to publish ebooks on a variety of topics and in a variety of genres. Below are some ideas for using ‘Book Creator’ in your classroom.

1. How To… Books
Kirsten Wallace at Steves Elementary first taught a series of lessons on procedural writing to her grade 5 class. After learning the skills required for procedural writing, the students used the app ‘Book Creator’ on the iPad to explain ‘How To Tie a Shoe’. Each student wrote about this topic and explained the process with text, photos, audio recordings, and video. The ebooks were shared with their little buddies in grade 1 (a true test if their explanations were clear!). The next assignment was to explain the steps to their Science experiment for the annual district Science Jam event. Again, the students used the app ‘Book Creator’ on the iPads to write, verbally explain, and show with photos/videos the series of steps for their Science experiment. Students used the performance standards (adapted to student language) to self-evaluate their assignment on ‘How To Tie a Shoe’ and then made changes to improve their work. Using ‘Book Creator’ allowed for easy edits to the digital work the kids had completed so far. These same criteria were used to self-assess their Science experiment procedures and make changes along the way.

Steps 3 and 4 of ‘How To Tie a Shoe’ ebook. Students used
both video and audio recordings to help explain the process.

2. Collaborative Books
Sandy Sanderson and Susan Fawcus at Kingswood Elementary used ‘Book Creator’ to make a collaborative ABC book on Ancient China, their theme for Social Studies. Each student was given a letter of the alphabet and came up with an idea that started with their letter and connected to Ancient China. Students researched the topic and presented their information on one page in ‘Book Creator’. The pages contained text, images, audio explanations and videos. Some students created their own videos with the animation app ‘NFB Pixstop’ or by video taping themselves with the iPad camera, and then embedded them into their page. When their page was done, students emailed their work to the teacher who collated all pages into one book.

Cover page for the ABC ebook on Ancient China.
One page from the ABC ebook on Ancient China. The video is
an animation made with NFB Pixstop which was then embedded in the book.
Another page from the ABC ebook on Ancient China. The
video is a recording the students took with the iPad camera.

Another idea for a collaborative book is to give primary students a sentence starter to complete (e.g. One spooky night, I saw…). Students made a page in ‘Book Creator’ and wrote their completed sentence on the page. They then illustrated their sentence with a drawing app (e.g. Doodle Buddy or Drawing Box). After the drawing was finished, students saved it to their camera roll on the iPad and then placed it on the ‘Book Creator’ page. When the page was finished, students emailed it to their teacher who collated the pages into one ‘Book Creator’ book.

Cover page for the collaborative ebook ‘One Spooky Night’.
First 2 pages of the ebook ‘One Spooky Night’.

3. Non-fiction Books
Sonya O’Neill at Steveston London Secondary had her Spanish 9 students learn about a Spanish speaking country by researching the country and then making an ebook. Students were asked to incorporate Spanish on each page, and since the audio function in ‘Book Creator’ is easy to incorporate, it was a favourite among the students to complete this part of the criteria. Other students also video taped themselves speaking Spanish and included these videos in their books. At the end of the project, students did a presentation about their country by sharing the book on a flat screen TV.

Two pages from an ebook about Argentina. Audio buttons
beside the page titles play student recordings in Spanish.
Video files were embedded on different pages to show clips
of life in Argentina.

4. Photo Book

When she taught at Blair Elementary, Janice Novakowski would take photographs during walking field trips and would make photo books for the class to reflect on the following day. Using ‘Book Creator’, she would present each photo on its own page, along with a simple sentence for the Gr. 1 students to read. Since the iPads were set to automatically sync books, the book could be put on all 30 iPads for each student to see.

Cover page for the photo ebook of a walking field trip.
Pages of photos and simple text for the Grade 1 photo
ebook of a walking field trip.

Represent Your Understanding Orally on the iPad

Posted on: September 17th, 2013 by Chris Loat

The iPad has become a versatile tool that students can use to represent what they know in a variety of ways. One feature that separates the iPad from other tech tools is the ability to easily record students’ voices with visuals, thus tapping into students’ verbal and kinesthetic intelligences. Earlier, I reviewed some different screencasting apps, which allow students to orally explain their ideas. The below apps incorporate characters (1a,b,c) or still photos (#2-5) with oral explanations to generate a verbal and visual product.
1. a) Sock Puppets - Lets students create their own lip-synched videos and share them on Facebook and YouTube. Add Puppets, props, scenery, and backgrounds and start creating. Hit the record button and the puppets automatically lip-synch to your voice. The app is free, but need the paid version ($0.99) to save creations to the iPad’s camera roll.

b) 

Toontastic - Students produce their own animated short story by moving pre-made characters and recording the dialogue. Students can also make their own backgrounds and characters. Also has a support page and a paid version (all-access pass is $19.99).

c) Puppet Pals – Students can create a virtual puppet show with this app that has various sets and characters in the free version (and many more in the paid version). After selecting the characters and set, move the characters while you speak and movements and sounds will be recorded. Paid version ($2.99) also allows for custom sets and characters (e.g. your own photo).
2. 30 Hands - Create a photo / image slideshow, then add narration for each slide to produce a narrated slideshow. Great for students who are reluctant writers, students who are working to improve verbal fluency, and students who want to have fun telling their story. This app allows the user to draw on the photos before recording their voice for the photo (e.g. can circle a certain part of a photo and then talk about it). Export options include sending the finished video as a .mov file to the camera roll. The app is currently free.


3. PixntellAdd voice to your photo slideshow with pixntell. Has an intuitive interface that is easy for younger kids to use. Free version gives you only 5 photos, which forces the students to be thoughtful in the photos they choose. Paid version ($1.99) allows for up to 70 photos to be added.

4. VoiceThread - Combines a screencasting and slideshow creating together.  Load a photo/image and add an audio note while marking up / annotating the image with your finger. Visit their support page. Online account needed to share and view. The app is free.

5. Sonic Pics  – Students can load a bunch of photos, record your voice for each photo, and show them in a slideshow; however it does cost $2.99. Export the slideshow to your camera roll for easy sharing.

Archiving Student Artwork with the iPad

Posted on: September 15th, 2013 by Chris Loat

Reflecting on one’s work is a valuable process for students, whether it is a creative story, a piece of art, or the solution to a Math problem. Looking back to examine the quality of their work and the process used to complete their work provides students with a more in-depth understanding of what and how they learn. One example of how students can reflect on their learning is by using an iPad to document the work they do during Art.

Using an iPad, students can take photos during the stages of completing their work to document the processes used during the assignment. Written comments can also be added to each photo, either directly on the photo (use the app Pixlr Express* for this) or as a separate entry with the app Book Creator (see below). One example of when this works especially well is with painting activities. Students often layer the background first, then add the midground elements, and lastly addScreen Shot 2014-03-06 at 10.25.06 AM the foreground, and recording these steps is a powerful way for students to appreciate the process used to paint a landscape. Archiving these steps is also useful for teachers to use as formative assessment or for samples when teaching the same lesson in future years.

Another means of archiving art work is to take photos of a series of completed art pieces done throughout the year. After each piece is completed, students can take a photo and write a short reflection (e.g. do a 3-2-1 3 parts they like, 2 parts they would do differently, 1 comment about the process). Of course, keeping the original piece in a folder is also essential as nothing can replace the original work.

Taking photos and recording reflections can be done with various apps, but my top pick for this would be Book Creator. The app Book Creator provides a means of organizing photos, written reflections, audio comments and even video clips into an ebook. If students took a photo and wrote a short reflection for each piece of art, or if they archived the process for each art project, they would have a wonderful digital portfolio by the end of the year. Using Book Creator also gives students the option to record their voice and archive verbal reflections, so students who have strengths in verbal communication can utilize this option. When completed, the student can publish from Book Creator as an ebook or pdf. These files can be shared with family via email, or online for the rest of the world to see.

Archiving student work or the processes used to complete their work is an important part of student learning and is a great way to share about what is happening in your classroom.

* Other apps for adding text to photos include  Picshop Lite or Snapseed