Author Archives: mrchase

Socrative- A Simple, Strategic Assessment Tool.

At the start of the school year, I was introduced to a student clicker-type program called Socrative. It’s free and can be used in your web browser or downloaded as an app to a mobile device (available for iOS and Android devices), I must say I prefer the app as a class-based tool. I’ve been testing this out in my class for the past couple of months and have been rather impressed by the results.

There are essentially two modes for using Socrative: you can administer a pre-written quiz to your students with multiple-choice questions and free response questions, or you can administer a quick one-question activity or exit ticket.

I used the pre-built quiz feature for a few days as a warm-up activity for my children whilst they got used to the app and logging in. Students find the app on a tablet computer and then enter a code, there is a set, random one that is given to you. However, if you got to settings you can change your code for your class to something more memorable – I think this is a terrific feature!

Socrative 1
I was asked to demonstrate Socrative to my colleagues at a staff meeting, so I wrote a sample quiz for them. Here was one of the multiple-choice questions:

Socrative 2
Now, while students are taking the quiz, the teacher can use their end of the software to monitor progress and results in real time:

Socrative 3
Free-response questions can also be built into a Socrative quiz. Here’s an example from the quiz from the staff meeting:

Socrative 4
Now, here’s the interesting cool part. When I see that the children have finished, I end the activity. Then, I am presented with the option to e-mail a report to myself.
Socrative 5
So this morning when my students finished their warm-up question, I had a report e-mailed to me. A few minutes later, the results arrived in my inbox (student names have been removed):

Formative performance data that can inform and drive my classroom instruction to best meet the needs of my students. This is all organized and colour-coded in an Excel spreadsheet.

If you don’t have time to write a quiz in Socrative, that’s no problem at all. Socrative also allows for a quick one-question option that allows you to assess students on the fly. On the teacher control panel, you can choose to start a quick multiple choice, true/false, or short answer activity:
Socrative 7
You can announce the question orally, or provide it in a written format on paper or on the board. You select this option, and the students see this on their screen:
Socrative 8
Notice that there’s no question displayed. As I mentioned, it’s up to you to present the question however you want. The point is that you can use Socrative on the fly to formatively assess your students as well. You can also monitor results in real time, though there won’t be names attached (so this is also good for taking an anonymous poll). The downside, however, is that you can’t e-mail a report to yourself in this mode.
Socrative 6
So far, I’m seeing great advantages to using Socrative in my classroom. It’s a very handy way for me to quickly collect and organize formative assessment data before, during, and after a lesson. It allows me to more effectively monitor my students’ learning and to make appropriate instructional decisions. Overall, this is a great piece of software and is a very simple way of recording formative assessment data.
If you would like to learn more about apps for assessment I highly recommend  a course that NAACE  put on which is Apps for AfL. Find out more on: https://www.naace.co.uk/

Thanks for Reading!

Adam Chase

Skitch- The Simple Annotation Tool.

I have been recently using different apps with the aim of trying to become more paperless, from this I started using Skitch, Skitch is an app that has been around for a while, it’s available for Computers, Macs, iPads and even the Android Market. The app is made by Evernote and it tries to sort out information as easy as possible. It is easy for a user to capture screenshots, gallery pictures or take pictures in the app and then annotate them.

Skitch used in Y5

Skitch used in Y5

Skitch goes out of its way to keep things simple and coherent. It launches very quickly, and has a vertical toolbar with a scant seven tools, each with a large, clear icon. These are traditional image annotation tools: An arrow for pointing things out, a text tool, a colour picker with a limited palette of just eight colours, a rectangle you can surround objects with, a highlighter, a “pixelizer” for blurring out details, and a crop tool. With this app, students can sketch ideas, mark-up photos, make diagrams, create/label maps, and even annotate text.

Introducing Skitch: 

The Skitch app, which is very user-friendly, enables students to snap their own photos or upload images/screenshots from the web.  Before jumping into digital texts, I spent some time introducing the students to the app itself. We practised taking photos using the camera and practised using all the tools. We talked about appropriate tools for specific tasks and how not every tool will work for every assignment.

Further ideas:

Maps/Diagrams:

  • Create diagrams (e.g., parts of a flower, stages of a life cycle, planets in a solar system, layers of the rainforest, etc.)
  • Create a map of your classroom/school
  • Create a treasure map using all the features of a map (i.e., key, scale, symbols, routes, geographical features, etc.)
  • Label of blank map of the continents or a map of the country

Text Annotating: 

  • Take a screenshot of non-fiction articles or snap

    Annotating the features of a text.

    a photo of text from a newspaper, magazine, or book to annotate for active reading

  • Take a photo of student writing to mark-up (i.e., label parts of a paragraph, highlight writing conventions, locate text-based evidence, etc.) — great for self-assessment!
  • Label fiction story elements
  • Label non-fiction text features (see my lesson above)
  • Highlight key words that show non-fiction text structure

Speaking and Listening: 

  • Capture examples and make content vocabulary come to life (snap pictures, sketch, label, etc.)

Maths: 

  • Deconstructing word problems (snap a photo & mark it up!)
  • Showing work for constructed response maths questions (you can use Skitch as a whiteboard)

Further Reading:

If you’re interested and would like to learn more about Skitch look at:

http://reflectandrefine.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/using-skitch-in-your-classroom.html

http://www.appsinclass.com/skitch.html

https://thatedtechguy.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/apps-in-action-skitch/

Also, if you would like to learn more about educational technology I would recommend you look at:  https://www.naace.co.uk/ 

Thanks for reading!

Padlet- The collaborative wall!

Padlet is an app that can be used in lots of different ways. This could be in a 1-to-1 situation, or the teacher could use a projector to show the class a bulletin board you create. Share the URL/QR code with the class have the children answer a discussion question, work on a “Do Now” activity, or even create an exit slip to show learning. I have even seen it used as a way of showing learning made during a topic, the class filled in a collective project at the start and then at the end of a unit to show progress made.  I have used it to create a bank of sentences as a class which can then be used in later writing e.g. how would describe… and then the children create sentences, I prefer three each, and this can be ‘magpied’ when they create a piece of writing.

Another idea is to use Padlet as a tool for small group projects. The teacher could divide the class into small groups and have the children work together at home to research a particular subject — for example, the Euros, Olympics or even the Romans. Each student could devote their research to a type of media supported by Padlet (video, audio, photo, or text), add it to their group’s shared wall, and then present the findings in class.

There are dozens of online bulletin board sites out there, but Padlet is one of the more intuitive, and probably most appealing to kids. The colourful backgrounds and customisation options let children add some personality to walls. The drag-and-drop interface is  smooth and easy to use. The depth of the site depends on what you put into it; it’s basically a blank page, but Padlet gives support and has examples of best use.

Children write a few sentences each and the class ends up with a paragraph.

Children write a few sentences each and the class ends up with a paragraph.

Padlet walls are great for study groups, class projects, and discussions. Classmates and friends can collaborate successfully on shared walls for study or fun, too — just keep an eye on them. Padlet gives students a lot of freedom to explore interests online and save that info in an organised manner. Whether it’s school- or fun-related, children get to create a space of their own.

All in all, Padlet gives students their own little corner of the Internet to collect and save information in a simple, fun and collaborative manner. It’s beyond easy to use, the interface is intuitive, and help is available around every corner. However, be aware that walls are semi-private by default, meaning there’s an extra step involved in ensuring total privacy for users.

Thanks for Reading,

Adam Chase.