Monday, December 7, 2015

Plickers ~ Quick and Easy Formative Assessment

Plickers, which stands for “paper clickers,” are an easy, technology enhanced way to quickly gather formative assessment data from your students without requiring a student device. Students utilize a specially designed card, much like a QR code, that is assigned specifically to each student to provide their answers in the form of a multiple choice responses (A, B, C, D) to the teacher who scans the responses with an iDevice or Android device. Data from the students is instantly available on the teacher device and can be displayed to students through the Plickers website where the data is also stored for review purposes. As a teacher, you can easily gather formative data from your students, for free, using this powerful tool, here’s how…

How To Get Started

Getting started with Plickers is a quick and easy process. In order to get started you first need to download the Plickers App to your device. You can download the apps using the links below. Note that for the iPad you may need to filter by “iPhone only” and then search for Plickers in order to show it in the App Store.
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Once you have downloaded and installed the app you will need to also print out a set of student cards. These can be accessed for free on the Plickers website. Print the Standard Set or check out other options on their cards page. It is advisable to print the student cards on card stock but for an initial test run regular paper will work; the heavier paper simply holds up longer. Do not laminate the cards as the glare will cause problems with scanning.
Once you have the Plickers printed and the app installed it is time to register for an account. This can be done via the app or the website but since we are going to use the website to quickly set-up classes and questions it is advised to start there. You will then login to your app with the username and password you set-up on the website and your app will sync with the Plickers website.
Head to the Plickers website, choose “Sign Up” and complete the easy registration form.
Once logged in to your account choose the box “Add new class” to add your first class.
2014-11-17_12-22-47Complete the class information and then start entering student names. Enter a name and press enter and the site will automatically assign a card to the student you just typed. Quick and easy! It is advisable to enter student names alphabetically in order to make distributing cards easier, but this is not required. You can enter names based upon your seating chart for instance.
With your first class set up it is time to enter your first question. Click on “Library” at the top of the page and then click in the box marked “Type your question here.” When you do the box will expand to allow you to enter your question, possible answers and select your correct answer. Notice that it also lets you toggle between multiple choice and true/false options. Click save and you are almost ready to ask your first question. Another piece of advice: enter the standard for your question first to make tracking assessed standards easier.
Your final step is to assign the question to a class. This is done by clicking on a question and then choosing “Add to plan…” and choosing the class you set up earlier. Note that you can add the same question to multiple classes.
It is now time to ask your class your first question. Log in to the mobile app and choose your class and then the question you wish to ask. If you have the website up on your whiteboard or projector you can choose “Live View” and as you change questions in the mobile app the website will display the question you are currently asking making it easy for students to see the question and respond. Students will respond by holding up their Plicker oriented so that the letter of the answer they choose is at the top. You will then touch the camera icon in the mobile app and scan the room with the camera of your device. As you scan the program recognizes each distinct code and its orientation translating this into quick and easy formative data for you. As you scan you will see instantly on the class chart in the app each student turns green or red depending on whether they answered correctly or not. In the “Live View” a student can tell they have been scanned when a blue check appears next to their name. When you are finished scanning cards you can click on “Graph” to quickly show students a bar graph of how the class answered.
That’s it! All you have to do now is enter the questions you would like quick feedback on as you plan each lesson and Plickers will be ready to quickly assess each question and provide you with data on not only how the class overall scored, but how each individual student scored on each question. Perfect for exit ticket type assessment, and for differentiating instruction based on how individual students are understanding the material. Kids love to answer questions with Plickers, probably due to the novelty of it, but it does engage them and sharing the bar chart of how the class does inspire them to try their best to answer each question correctly. And best of all, the entire thing is absolutely free (unless you buy a set of laminated cards). More information and help can be found on the Plickers website under Help.

Suggested Uses

  • Use like an exit ticket at the end of class.
  • Use during instruction to gather data on student understanding and to inform subsequent instruction.
  • Use to quickly poll your students and share the results.

Why It Matters (Teaching Rubric)

It is important for teachers to provide Multiple Assessments Aligned to Goals and Learning Outcomes in order to be able to effectively measure progress toward learning objectives. With Plickers a teacher is given the ability to provide both formative (and summative, if desired) assessments during classroom instruction and to have data on every student, and share overall data with students. Most importantly, it provides the teacher with some necessary information to inform what to plan for instruction and differentiate to meet the needs of every child in the classroom.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Record Video Online and other Free Online Multimedia Software

Free Online Multimedia Software

123apps software runs in your browser. It's easy, safe and free.

Record Video Online

Follow these steps to record a video online (webcamera.iousing any device with a webcam- including Chromebooks:
1)  Allow Flash Player plugin access to your camera and microphone.

2) If you want to change default recording settings, click Settings icon in the top left corner.

3) Select the desired recording quality and other settings (1) and press Record button (2).

4) After the video has been recorded, press Save button and choose where you want to save it.

Friday, October 23, 2015

GoNoodle ~ Brain Breaks

GoNoodle helps kids channel their physical and emotional energy for good.
GoNoodle's short desk-side physical activities help teachers manage their classroom and improve student performance.

Discover GoNoodle breaks by selecting "Categories" at the top of your play screen. Popular categories: Guided DancingStretchingSports and Exercise.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Tab Scissors - Useful Chrome Extension for Multitasking

​​Tab Scissors:  This extension splits a window into two at the selected tab.

This simple tab organization tool divides one window into two.

If you have at least two tabs in the selected Chrome window, it will split that window into two smaller side-by-side windows. All the tabs on the left side of the selected tab will stay in the left window, and the rest will move to the window on the right.

It is especially helpful for those who have lots of tabs opened at a time.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Online Formative Assessment Tools - Which one is best?

Comparing Classroom Response Systems: 

Kahoot, Pear Deck, and Quizizz

Read more on this post from EduBlog

GoFormative – This online, all-student response system provides teachers the opportunity to assign activities to students, receive the results in real time, and then provide immediate feedback to students.


Classcraft ~ Make Your Classes Unforgettable!

Don’t change what you teach, supercharge how you teach it.

Powerful Tools To Drive Engagement

Classcraft is a free online, educational role-playing game that teachers and students play together in the classroom. By using many of the conventions traditionally found in games today, students can level up, work in teams, and earn powers that have real-world consequences. Acting as a gamification layer around any existing curriculum, the game transforms the way a class is experienced throughout the school year.

Classcraft can be summed up as ClassDojo meets World of Warcraft.

Students play in teams and pick from three unique classes (warrior, mage, healer), each of which come with their own health, AP (ability points), and powers.

Classcraft isn’t right for every teacher or every classroom. For those of you who are looking for more adventure type incentives for older students - give it a try! (It's free.)

Classcraft integrates seamlessly into your classroom work flow.
  • Keep assignments and resources organized with interactive forums.
  • Assign points for students directly in the forums when they answer questions correctly and help each other out.
  • Give parents a clear view of how their child is participating in your classes with integrated student analytics.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Tellegami - Quickly create animated video messages

Tellagami, a free *mobile app that lets you create short animated movies called "Gamis."
*(iPhone, iPad, or Android)
After downloading the Tellagami app, you can begin by creating and customizing a character. The free version doesn't offer many options in virtual appearance, but there are just enough options to personalize your character. You can choose a background either from a few provide by the app itself or your camera roll. I uploaded a picture I took of a computer lab.  You could take a picture at the front of the classroom and have your character introduce yourself to the class. It can also be embedded on your class website.

You have options for how your animation comunicates your message.  Your can choose for your character to talk, either by recording your voice or typing in text. If you record your voice, you have 30 seconds. If you choose text to speech, there are male and female voices with a few different accents. 

"Check out this Gami!"

Classroom ideas: 
  • Have your character tell a story.
  • Pick a person in history and have them introduce themselves
  • Use a plant cell as the background and have the character name and discuss the function of each part of the cell.
  • Recite a famous poem or speech
  • Students read a poem they wrote
  • Take a trip or go back in time and describe where the location/time period
  • Speak in Spanish, French, Mandarin or any language

When you are all done, Gamis can be emailed or use the shared link or embed code. You also have options to post on social media.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Voice To Text Dictation - Online

Speech Recognition in the Browser

With Dictation, you can use the magic of speech recognition to write emails, narrate essays and long documents in the browser without touching the keyboard.  This is a great tool for students with special needs or modifications requiring dictate to scribe.

Online Dictation is a free to use web tool that converts your speech into text. All you have to do is visit the site and click on the microphone icon on the homepage, next to the page’s title. Next you speak a sentence into your microphone; the speech is processed, converted to text, and displayed. Any errors can be manually removed by clicking on the text and making it editable. You can also copy the text and use it somewhere else by pasting it.

To get started, just connect the microphone to your computer and click the Start Dictation button.

Dictation uses your browser's local Storage to save all the transcribed text automatically as you speak. That means you can close the browser and it will resume from where you left off.

Chrome App:
Voice Recognition
Type with your voice. Dictation turns your Google Chrome into a speech recognition app.
The app internally uses the built-in speech recognition engine of Google Chrome to transform your voice into digital text.

Speak in your Native Language

You don't have to speak in English as Chrome's engine can recognize quite a few languages including Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Malay, Indonesian and more. Dictation will automatically determine your browser's default launguage and uses it for subsequent transcriptions.


  • A user-friendly web service.
  • Can convert speech to text.
  • Converted text can be edited and copied.
  • Shows instructions on how to use speech-to-text on your website.
  • Similar tools: TalkTyper, Stop Typing and PaperPort.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Gynzy ~ Get the out of your interactive whiteboard!

It lets you use your computer just like a smartboard without the complicated interface and the multitude of complicated options. There are several characteristics about Gynzy:

User friendly interface

First of all, If you like Smart boards/Active boards, but you are looking for a user friendly version of the basic software, then Gynzy is just you. It also works with all brands of interactive whiteboards! So teachers don't have to use the software developed to run on the brand of the board you purchased. This saves so much time and effort, this cannot be stressed enough. Teachers do not have to worry about the Activinspire / Smartboard issues. Gynzy is such a great resource for teachers struggling with time constraints!

Common Core aligned 

Gynzy offers hundreds of ready-made lesson plans for each grade level (K-8th) and common core standard.

Free for 6 months

Instructors first have to create a free account on Gynzy’s website. They then must log into their Gynzy account in order to access lessons and utilize various tools. These lessons can consequently be shared online for students to access everywhere through any data hosting websites

  • For teachers, parents and other individuals - $79 per year / $9.95 per month
  • School: Site license (unlimited teachers per building) - $796 per year
  • District subscription

Easy tab system

Its friendly interface works with a tab system that separate your whiteboard in four different sections: the board section, the tool section, the lesson section and the favorite section. The board section is the whiteboard display section where the class content is displayed during class. The tool section will be explored later and the lesson and favorite sections are the placeholders for your created lessons and your favorite lessons from other teachers.

Free tool section

The tool section hosts all the tools used with the program. Some of those tools are add-ons such as activity creator, timers and quiz maker used to build work and lesson to use in classroom.  For its part, the lesson section is the place where every lesson created is conveniently stocked and classified by alphabetical order or by customized categories. Finally, the favorite section contains ever lesson made other teachers that you liked and that you would like to use during your class. Gynzy is great for teachers, but it is also a plus for students since four convenient options are available quickly and easily for the teacher to use in order to help students understand better.

Chrome App available:

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Personalise Bullet Points & Numbers in Google Docs

Working within a Google Doc create a bulleted list and click on the top bullet-point which selects them all.

  • Google Drive
  • Gmail
  • Google Calendar
  • Google+
  • Maps

Once the series of bullet-points are selected you can then personalise them:

Select alternative styles

  • Right-Click on the bullet-points and a pop-up-menu appears
  • Select More bullets…
  • See the Drop-Down options for Symbols and Arrows
  • Try out some alternative bullet-point symbols

Change Colours
Select another colour from the Text Colour picker in the menus

  • AMS
  • AHS
  • Central
  • East

Working With numbered Lists
You can use a similar technique to work with numbered lists. Again, click on the top-most number in a list to select them all. Then Right-Click to reveal a pop-up-menu with further options.

You can also change the prefix or suffix for a list or individual number in a numbered bullet list.

  1. Dog
  2. Cat
  3. Bird
  4. Fish

Nearpodize this! Another Option for Sharing Presentations to Chromebooks, laptops, or iPads

Nearpod allows teachers to construct or upload presentations using the Nearpod website or the Nearpod Chrome app and deliver instruction to students by pushing content out to multiple devices at once.  Chrome also has a Nearpod Chrome Extension "Nearpodize this!" that will automatically transform any open Google Presentation into a Nearpod Presentation (NPP). The teacher controls the presentation from any internet active device, while students follow along on Chromebooks, computers, iPods or iPads. To actively engage students, teachers can also embed multiple choice questions, polls, videos, quizzes, open-ended questions, and web-links in their presentations. This is an easy and efficient way to share websites without having students navigate to other pages, many times getting lost in the process.

Nearpod also has a drawing feature that students can use to annotate images. For example, a teacher can include an image that students could annotate over - such as a passage, draw/label a map, solve a math problem, balance chemical equation, and more.   This same feature can also be used to create thinking maps or solve math problems. All student responses within Nearpod are submitted to the controlling device (laptop, computer or iPad held by the teacher) and may be pushed out or shared with the class during instruction.  This aspect of Nearpod's design provides a wonderful opportunity for formative assessment and collaboration with just the tap of a button.

Just a few of the key features of Nearpod:
  • Teachers may easily upload existing Powerpoint or Keynote presentations on the Nearpod website. Teachers may also Nearpodize any Google Presentation using the Nearpodize this! Chrome extension.
  • Nearpod can be a helpful student-centered Chromebook tool.  
  • Students may access a Nearpod presentation from any network using a browser and a five letter code.  
  • Students who are absent may also follow your presentation from home or wherever an Internet connection is available.

Teacher Suggestions for Nearpod Presentations:

Use NearPod with multiple interactive questions to present information as well as maintain student attention.  Students enjoy the opportunity to share their ideas during a presentation, even a short one, and it can be eye opening to see how many (or how few) students are actually listening and have understood what you've said just a few minutes before you ask a question.


Students LOVE Nearpod. It allows for them to interact and share their learning. When learning and exploring through Nearpod, there is no need to ask learners to stay on the correct page and or direct them to a certain webpage. Students will be engaged and ready to learn. 

Analyzing Reports

Remember if you want to see the results from your interactive polls and questions, be sure to tap the Nearpod menu at the top (in the center) of the screen and choose to email yourself results before you close the presentation to select another or quit the app. Once you have finished a presentation, the app will send a report to you via email, or you can access the data directly through your Nearpod app account (look for the graphs icon) for Reports.

Give Nearpod a try!  Go to: Sign up, type Promo Code DZ36O4 & create mobile presentations to engage students and assess their performance.

How to set up Nearpod: (download pdf)
  • Download the free teacher and student apps.
  • Sign up for a free teacher account on the Nearpod website. (Note: The free account is limited to 200MB or storage, 10 Nearpod Presentations (NPPs), and 30 students per session.)
  • There is no teacher set-up of student usernames or passwords.
  • When you launch a Nearpod presentation in the classroom, it generates a five letter code that allows students to log into their app or view the presentation on a browser.
  • To preview an example of a Nearpod presentation just click <here>
  • How to Create a Quiz