Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Socrative and Mobile Devices

Ms. Cameron's 6th Grade ELA classes recently read Iqbal by Francesco D'Adamo, and she wanted to provide an interactive review for students before she gave her test on the book.  Ms. Cameron set up a series of multiple choice and short answer quizzes in a free Web 2.0 tool called Socrative.  Students can either enter her classroom by downloading the free app on their hand held device or by using a laptop.  During the first part of class, while students were learning how to work with the program, students had to join the class and were asked a series of questions.  A graph shows up with the responses that the students are giving in real time.  Ms. Cameron then discussed each question with the class and the students talked about why the correct answer was the best choice.  After the students were familiar with the program, she started  a "space race" to challenge them further.  The users were automatically assigned a team color and had to answer questions correctly as fast as they could.  The more correct answers their team members made, the faster their rocket ship moved across the screen.  Students were so excited about the immediate feedback that some students were begging to use the program on a daily basis.  Ms. Cameron commented the next day that her students performed exceptionally better on the Iqbal test than other tests she had given this semester.  

Instant feedback for students

Space race game.

  Socrative from the Teacher
Side Using a Mobile Device

Socrative from the Student perspective
using a mobile device

QR Code Review

Ms. Pazos, World Cultures teacher, has always made her reviews optional.  Students who did the review would always get a 100 for completing the assignment.  Before her most recent test, she decided to put the review up in the form of a QR code.  QR codes were placed throughout the hallways and students could scan the code with their phones.  Students who didn't have phones, worked with other students who did.  When just doing a regular review, Ms. Pazos said that about 20% of students complete the assignment before a test, having the review placed on a QR code, Ms. Pazos increased her participation in completing the review to 80%.  When I asked Ms. Pazos if she thought her students did better on the test because of the QR code review, this was her response, "I have only had 1 class test today but their test scores were higher than usual. I asked a few kids why they think they did better on the test than they usually do and they both said it was because they did the review. I believe that they did the review because they were interested in it with the QR Codes."
What an amazing testament to how technology can improve the learning environment!

Friday, April 13, 2012

QR Codes invade World Cultures

Ms. Pazos recently created a review using QR codes, and her students were so excited and engaged, that she adapted their next poster project to allow the students to create their own QR codes.  The original project had students take a place in the world and write two facts about various topics on their world map location.  Ms. Pazos' students had to write the facts, but also create a QR code with even more information about their location.  Students were very excited to learn how to create these codes that they have been seeing around the school!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Photo Manipulation Assignment

Ms. Simonds' Newspaper classes were given an assignment to take original photographs and digitally alter the photos however they wanted.  Students created completely original pieces of art with their photo manipulations.  The best part about this project is that students were given a variety of tools to choose from.  Students used Picnik (which we are sad to say will be integrated into the Google+ system and students will no longer be able to use without a Google account), Pixlr, Aviary, Photoshop, and many students used their phones to take their photo and then utilized photo manipulation applications on their smartphone.   Several students used more than one editing platform to get the photo to look exactly the way they wanted.  They learned that  Pixlr  is great for getting an overall manipulation on the entire photograph, while Photoshop helped them edit specific pieces of their photograph.  Students also had to turn in a specification sheet indicating what software they used and what manipulation tools they used to manipulate their photos.  Student products ranged from power points and Animotos to Prezi's and Movie Maker Files.  Below is an animoto with a combination of several students' work.  Deerpark has some amazing artists.  

Students using cell phones to manipulate photos