Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Choose Your Own Adventure Writing with gSlides

Are your students getting ... distracted... this time of year? Do you need something different to spice up delivery of your stellar course content? Marzano points to student choice as one way to increase engagement in the classroom in his book The Highly Engaged Classroom.1 He goes on to further say creating choices that give students impact on their learning gives you the most bang for your buck. He recommends that choice can be offered in the learning tasks, options for demonstrating learning mastery, and determining goals or behaviors (pp. 14, 101).

One way to practice choice is to leverage the tools in a simple Google Slide to build activities that offer choices through hyperlinks on slides. Generally, slides are linear, one slide after another in a presentation format. Utilizing links to other slides creates a non-linear presentation that gives students practice with choice.

Think of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books... if you want Timmy to explore the cave, go to page 23, if you want him to return home, go to page 47... You can build Choose-Your-Own-Adventure stories in Google Slides. Students could utilize a story written earlier in the year and collaborate with partners to embed adventure choices in their own stories. Or, you can give students choice on which concepts to explore first; allowing them to more independently navigate the material.

Students could build their own Slide Presentations with hyperlinks to write alternative endings or change a pivotal event in history. See the How-To Guide for steps to create your own non-linear slide presentation. 

What other ways could you use non-linear slides to give students choice in their work?

1. Marzano, Robert J., Debra Pickering, and Tammy Heflebower. The Highly Engaged Classroom. Bloomington, IN: Marzano Research, 2011. Print.

How To Guide: http://www.controlaltachieve.com/2016/01/interactive-slideshow-story.html

Friday, April 7, 2017

Improve Learning with Feedback and Digital Assessments

At a recent conference I attended, Wes Kieschnick, an energetic teacher and motivational speaker said, “Technology is awesome! But, teachers are better.” Whoa! That is so true! Good teachers can become better, more engaging, and more efficient with the right types of technology support.

We know that feedback is important for students. When used correctly, feedback has an effect size of 0.73. That means making more than one year’s progress in a school year. Wow!

One of the most effective forms of feedback is a feedback cue. A teacher can get feedback on student learning and give students immediate feedback is to use technology for formative assessments.

Simply using a digitized formative assessment in and of itself is not going to produce the effect size Hattie explains in his meta-analysis research. But what can get you those results is using a digitized formative assessment that cues the students to their misconceptions and successes immediately by exploring the visual representation of the data the form creates.

Google Forms will automatically create graphs from the questions that you create. Google Forms Quizzes will automatically score the quiz and project the correct answers. What discussions can you have with your students around a graph like the one shown to the left?

There are many products that digitize assessments quickly and easily for teachers. Some are game-based, like Kahoot! and others, like Plickers, only require one web-enabled device which is utilized by the teacher to ‘read’ the unique answer cards students hold up to present their answer.

The quick, on-the-spot feedback on performance, along with the deeper thinking and discussion that can be spurred by digital assessment is not the only benefit. Many of these products also have data available for PLC discussions and teachers to utilize later to inform instruction and prepare students for a unit summative assessment.

For a more in-depth tutorial and information about digitzing feedback, see the LTL 21 Challenge: Digital Assessments. Log in with your district username and password.

For further reading about feedback:

What other resources do you use for feedback? Comment below!