I have been blessed with being in a school system that supports and implements cloud- based learning. Our cloud-based learning system is Canvas. There is a component called Quizzes inside Canvas. The quizzes can be either a minor grade, major grade, or the final exam. You and your department set the percentages. Because the score goes directly into the students’ averages, I use Canvas Quizzes often for formative assessments. I can upload images, videos, graphs, charts in my multiple choices, True-False, matching, one- word answer, or whole sentence answers. The scores go directly into my students’ averages. However, there is not much diversification (no games, no crossword puzzles, etc.) in the Canvas assignments/assessments, and it can be a bit dry and boring to the students of 2019. Since 2008, Web 2.0 learning sites have exploded onto the scene, and they can help in assessing students’ performances tremendously. Davis (2015) lists and summarizes over a dozen sites that help with formative assessment. She had used digital, formative assessments instead of worksheets and standing at the marker board pounding out problems to solve. Out of Davis’ list, I have used with gusto,
Quizlet, Kahoot, and NearPod. However, after Module 2, I have decided to go forward with Edpuzzle. I am also anticipating using Let’s Recap and Explain Everything for my students to create videos to document their learning.
No one website is perfect for assessments, but Quizlet ( http://www.quizlet.com ) is my favorite. The sections of Quizlet are Flashcards, Learn, Write, Spell, Test, Match, and Gravity. My most vivid and enjoyable memory of Gravity is playing the game so as to model for my students. The premise of the game is to save the earth from an asteroid that is hurling towards us. For whatever you are typing to answer, if must be 1) the correct answer but also 2) spelled correctly with proper syntax and punctuation. I was playing for everyone on our overhead projector, and I did not type something correctly, and the asteroid hit the earth. With a serious, woeful tone I said, “Well, crap y’all I killed us. I’m sorry.” My high school students roared with laughter. Needless to say, it was a positive, enjoyable introduction that took us through our 30 minute study session with Quizlet.
The Test part of Quizlet has an evaluation component at the bottom of the Flashcard page. If you scroll down, you will see a list of percentages (%) . These percentages explain what the students are missing. If students are getting an item (yes, it tells you exactly which item it is) 90% of the time, why would a teacher need to review that item? However, it also shows items that are frequently missed. Those items definitely need to be either reviewed or retaught. If you know exactly who the people are who are missing these items, you could also take this formative study in Quizlet so as to spend half a class period or an entire class period that is based on diversification: Who needs the remediation or enrichment. For me, if students are learning preterite, Spanish verbs, I might remediate with the lowest group completing some 2x3 conjugation charts of past preterite verbs, the middle group creating some Spanish preterite sentences with the verbs, and perhaps the groups with the highest level of mastery creating a brief story (perhaps a group story) in the past preterite.
I have become infatuated with Edpuzzle ( www.Edpuzzle.com ). I have found that most Web 2.0 sites for learning have, indeed, free subscriptions. Edpuzzle has both free and upgrade options. In the past week, I have begun my Edpuzzle site. After Dalton High’s Access Test ( testing to see the Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening skills of students whose 1st language is not English) is over the second week of February, I will be implanting Edpuzzle at some level as a formative assessment. After doing so and evaluating its effectiveness, I will see if I want to pay for an upgrade. As I write at least once in every class the time factor of planning these technology activities can be overwhelming. I will be using Edpuzzle, but as I frequently do, I research what others think about a teaching tool before I use it. David Wong (2018) shares in a study that Edpuzzle is a convenient tool but there is so much time and effort built into creating the lessons especially while diversifying for our learners; however, these resources can be reused or adapted for future use. Before I continue with my enlightening experience with screening casting, I want to write briefly about the website, Formative. It looks awesome, but I have to teach myself how to use it. Like, at this moment, it is not guiding me on how to create my own, formative assessment. I have borrowed an engaging, Spanish coloring assignment, but it isn’t my own. I can guarantee that I will study more of the site, Formative, but researching and implementing Screencastify is more important at this moment since it is a mandatory part of this module (Formative, I promise I will not forget you!!) We, as educators, need extra planning and implementation time. Classmate-educators, do any of your administrators give you all “extra time” to plan and implement
Screencasting and Flipping the Class
I downloaded both the Screencast-O-Matic and Screencastify. I began with the Screencast-O-Matic. I thought it was interesting, but I wasn’t “sold” on how it functioned. Except for when 140 students have to accept Google invitations with their emails and passwords, I haven’t been disappointed with utilizing Google online apps. I decided that I would try Screencastify. I spent about an hour on one day with Screencastify then returned to it another day for another hour to evaluate if I could use it effectively. I had learned well the first time, and I tried a screencast for Module 2. I enjoyed it! After our Module 2 study, I feel like Snyder, Besozzi, Lawrence, and Oppenlander (2016) who share that screencasting helps when students need an instructional reinforcement from the instructor: Students can return to a screencast, watch the cast, and hopefully self-guide themselves into correct work. While the students are doing this, the instructor can engage in one-on-one interactions or diversity resources to guide a particular student. As I was using Screencastify, the program kicked me out twice, and I had to restart my computer. I was not happy, but it also makes me empathetic to the needs and frustrations of my students. Most wrinkles can be ironed out, but when we cannot iron out the problems, we must continue on with a backup plan. Allow me to elaborate. I Flipped my Flip. My students were preparing a brief dialogue which they had prepared after watching my Power Point slides in a Flipped format: I taught Spanish direct object pronouns through video and guided the viewings as I walked around. In pairs, they were to create a video submission on our cloud based learning program, Canvas, in a dialogue format using what they had studied. Zero of their microphones worked on their computers! I simply said, “Well, be prepared to go ‘old school’ and give your dialogues live.” : Problem solved. I am hoping that Screencastify can replace the unpredictable Office Mix. In July of 2018, I read about Flipping the Classroom. For the most part, I was about 90% committed, but my administrators were very negative about the idea. I placed the idea “on the shelf” and concentrated on a departmental goal of using more comprehensible input in the Spanish classroom. After completing the majority of the work for our Module 1 about two weeks ago, I proceeded forward with a rigorous skimming of Module 2. As soon as I saw and read the module’s suggestion of Flipping the Flip, I knew I would do it, and I did almost immediately. I created my instructional videos with my Lenovo, school-issued computer, and they looked great. I created a Power Point, then I converted the Power Point to an MP4 Office Mix. The Office Mix totally let me down. The video was upside down, and the words read right to left backwards. Screencastify, indeed, helped me with this Module 2 assignment. While finishing up this Module 2 blog, I just had a visualization of using Screencastify to give individual feedback to students. From File Uploads of Canvas, I can take each file upload and screencast the submission while making corrections and suggestion remediation tools. If there are no errors, I can praise, praise, praise, and perhaps assign some enrichment projects.
Before I conclude, I would like to ask my fellow colleagues if you all have spent time with your students creating their own videos to demonstrate learning. Davis (2015), finds students making their own videos the most exciting formative assessments. My students have made their own Kahoot and Jeopardy boards, but have your students used Let’s Recap or Explain Everything to demonstrate their learning?
Davis, V. (2015). Fantastic, Fast Formative assessment tools. Edutopia. https://www.edutopia.org/blog/5-fast-formative-assessment-tools-vicki-davis
Snyder, C. , Besozzi, D. , Lawrence, P. , & Oppenlander, J. , (2016). Is flipping worth the fuss: A mixed methods case study of screencasting in the social studies classroom. American Secondary Education, 45(1), 28-45. Wong, D. (2018). Flipped writing classes using Edpuzzle: Lesson learned. Modern English Teachers, 27(4), 77-79.