Tag Archives: 21 century

Free Yet Powerful 21 Century Quiz Application For Any Classroom

Tests and quizzes are one  necessary means of evaluation when teaching in a 21st Century classroom. This week I bring you an automated quiz application program that that can be used by anyone. It allows for differentiation, online testing and reporting, classroom analysis, custom application, and requires no student email address.  Best of all it is free! As always,  feel free to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email, follow me on twitter at (@mjgormans), and also discover some great resources at my 21centuryedtech Wiki!  You will also find my postings at Tech and Learning Magazine. Now lets take a moment to check out an evaluation instrument that truly is 21st Century!

I am a big believer in assessment, after all it does determine if students and educators are meeting necessary goals. In a 21st century classroom assessment must include all avenues such as project based, authentic, peer review, reflection, personal inquiry, observation, and all those others non-traditional techniques. In a world of standardized testing to help determine achievement gained, future vocation, education placement, and post k12 track the well known quiz and test is still an important tool. Thus the reason for this post, an introduction to a tool that really does incorporate the everyday quiz with an important 21st century twist.

Welcome to ThatQuiz, a free online non-commercial resources for teachers and students. At first glance you will enjoy the simple and easy to understand interface designed by Andrew Lyczak,  a software engineer with a real understanding of providing for classroom needs. While there are built in quizzes for math, science, language arts, and social studies, please note they are adjustable in both difficulty and length. The interface has not been limited by the pre-built and allows educators to make their own tests covering any subject and set of questions. You may even note that the interface allows for multiple languages. Some of the pre-made quizzes are included in graphic below:


It isn’t until an educator creates a classroom by creating an account that some real power can be put in to action! It is after the log in that teachers can view all the features including how to see tests, view grades, edit class, and create a new class. A teacher can also customize existing pre-built test or design their own test. Tests can be matching, multiple choice, essay, or designed on a unique set of slides. The slide creation option is not difficult to master and offers more flexibility than the simpler multiple choice and matching methods for test creation. Using the set of available tools, a teacher can draw geometric shapes, plot graphs, and create identification quizzes. Best of all there is an awesome tutorial available on-line. When creating  an original or pre-made test the teacher has the ability to set number of questions, difficulty,  prescribe an order , or randomize order for each individual test. There is even the ability to use tests that other teachers have shared on-line.

The classroom set up allows the teacher to create a separate area in their own administrative site for each class. Students can be named (if using last names check your school policy). A code, first names, or numbers could be used. There is no need for student email, students just enter a test code on the main site given to them by the teacher. Teachers can also notify students of the test by email by clicking on the Notify button. After students have tested, the teacher just clicks on the proper link  to check individual or total class results.

Want to try a non networked off line version. It is available for Windows, iPad, and Android phone.  Perhaps a teacher prefers a paper test. This program allows for printing and even scoring the old fashion way! In order for the program to function properly at least Internet Explorer 6+ or Firefox should be installed. Macintosh users (OS X) will have best results from Firefox, but may also use Safari version 1.3.2 or 2.0. Remember,  ThatQuiz is a free website for educational use allowing for increased productivity in this one style of  student assessment. It is important to incorporate many different styles and techniques.  As you evaluate all assessments, take some time to  envision where ThatQuiz has  that unique opportunity to transform today’s classroom into the 21century classroom.

Thanks for joining me on this this quest in uncov ering a 21st Century teaching resourc geared toward student evaluation. Be on the look out for my Advanced Google Search and my Evaluating a Web Page Series. You can also find a variety of my postings under Blogs at Tech & Learning Magazine.  If you know of other outstanding assessment resources please leave a comment! Take a moment and subscribe to this blog by RSS or email, share with others, and as always follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Until next time… transform, educate, and inspire! – Mike


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A National Treasure Of Free And Engaging Resources For All: Podcasts, Simulations, Lessons!

Welcome to the tenth in a series of summer posts dedicated to bringing you the biggest collections of national and international resources you will find anywhere. This being the ninth post in the series, be ready for my super post that brings all the sites in this series together. Also, be on the lookout for my upcoming Advanced Google Post and an exciting Evaluation Of Web Sites Series!  Not only that, I f have found a few more tools over the summer that I am anxious to share. Please be sure you bookmark, copy, RSS, subscribe by email and visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki! You will want to share this site and its information with others !  I will announce each post on twitter at (mjgormans), so be sure to follow. Now lets learn about a fantastic site that is really to big to blog! – Mike

If you have been to the Smithsonian in Washington DC you may have been overwhelmed by its size! I guarantee you will be equally impressed with its Smithsonian Education website. In this review I will cover the area of the Smithsonian Website geared for educators. When first entering you will note that the Education Page has a rich host of options including Art and Design, Science and Technology, History and Culture, along with Language Arts. Take a moment and look at the unique lessons provided in each of the areas. Such interesting titles as Making Friends with Franklin , Every Picture Has a Story , How Size Shapes Animals, and What the Limits Are , and The Music in Poetry are just four selections in a large collection of lessons and projects. Easy to use data bases allow teachers to access more than 1,500 rich Smithsonian educational resources that align with grade, subject and specific state standards. The Smithsonian’s new student web links has a wide range of activities, web sites, puzzles, hand outs, and engaging facts. The Idea Lab is filled with interactive activities, videos, and simulations involving the massive Smithsonian collection.  In this area students are in engaged in activities such as  Sizing Up The Universe, they may take a Prehistoric Climate Challenge,  or relive an engaging Apollo 11 Mission of Walking On The Moon,  and they might just  race for answer on a web mission while Digging For Answers. Smithsonian in Your Classroom Magazine includes lesson plans based on primary sources you can view. In keeping with the spirit of Heritage Months, the Smithsonian offers these thematically arranged teaching resources from across the Smithsonian. The resources have been selected for their relevance to classroom curriculum and national education standards. They include Black History, Asian Pacific Americans, American Indian Heritage, Woman’s History, and Hispanic Heritage. In fact you might enjoy visiting the Top Ten Lessons of the month such as :

1.  The Music in Poetry
2.  Teaching with Collections
3.  Every Picture has a Story
4.  The Universe: An Introduction
5.  A Shape-Note Singing Lesson
6.  WWII on the Home Front: Civic Responsibility
7.  Introduction to the Nature Journal
8.  Abraham Lincoln: The Face of A War
9.  Tale of a Whale and Why It Can Be Told
10.  Tomorrow’s Forecast: Oceans and Weather

It should be evident that lessons do cross every grade level and subject. You will find amazing material as you search by subject , standard, and grade level.  There are even lessons about making and using podcasts in the classroom along with an amazing collection of unique podcasts. In the spirit of virtual field trips there are live and archived conferences that allows kids to interact, view sessions, watch a multi media event, and even ask a curator.  Here is an archived example titled, Problem Solving with Smithsonian Experts.  You may want to begin your first Smithsonian  lesson as small as a game about the  Cell, or  expand your classroom to the endless boundaries of the Universe. The Smithsonian  is a great resources, its yours, and its free.   It really is time to bring  national treasures, collections, and resources into your classroom, today!

Thus, my focus, to share with you vast resources such as the Smithsonian this summer! Take some time to investigate and possibly implement in the school year,  or tomorrow! Coming soon… my upcoming Advanced Google Post and an exciting Evaluation Of Web Sites Series! Please share with others, visit the 21centuryedtech Wiki,  follow on me twitter (mjgormans), and subscribe to this blog by RSS or email . If you have resources that you feel need to be included please leave a reply!  Enjoy, relax, play, and smile…. also take a moment to transform education toward 21st Century Learning! – Mike

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Free: Visual Ranking Thinking Tool… Powerful Student Collaboration!

Welcome to a series of articles based on Intel Thinking Tools, an amazing set of free tools from Intel. The three tools I will be  highlighting in this and future posts are are just a small set of what Intel offers for free. The tool I include today is called the Visual Ranking Tool , one of Intel’s Online Thinking Tools. The description matches nicely and there are endless possibilities for the classroom. Before starting, remember to sign up via email or RSS and also,  follow me on twitter (mjgormans) to keep learning! I know after this read you will be creating visual ranking lessons that connect to your curriculum in no time! Have a great week! – Mike

Visual Ranking Tool -“The exercise of ordering your favorites…ranking one a level higher than another, and then articulating why you chose the way you did-requires a depth and clarity of consideration and comparison that inspires richer appreciation and enjoyment.” – Michael J. Gelb, from his book; How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci

Let me first introduce you to Visual Ranking, my personal favorite of this three tool set. Intel describes using this tool by stating, “Making a list is usually straightforward and requires little thought. But when it comes to ordering and prioritizing items in that list, higher-level skills of analysis and evaluation are put to use”. The Visual Ranking Tool allows students to focus their thinking behind creating ordered lists. Students practice identifying and refining criteria as they assign order or rank to a list. Collaboration is emphasized as students are given the opportunity to explain their reasoning and can compare their work with each other in a visual diagram. They can even compare their results with the reasoning of other groups, and even a class average. Imagine activities where students practice organizing their ideas, debate individual differences, and reach group consensus. Check out this overview of the tool and the research describing the benefits of this type of high order thinking activity for students.

Watch this video to get a better idea. After watching the video, try this quick demo to give you a better understanding.  Take a moment and explore Intel’s resources of units and plans for this tool. While Intel provides awesome ideas, you are also able to come up with your own ideas for rankings that may just fit into your curricular standards.  There are many lessons on the web that could incorporate this tool. One example is Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure. Note the list that is part of  the lesson. Astrosociety.org has this great lunar activity that could be adapted for use with Visual Ranking. I have used Visual Ranking in teacher professional development, asking educators to rank 21st Century Skills. It has been a great way to enhance the idea of 21st Century Skills while giving teachers an opportunity to learn a new tool. Intel also includes these instructional strategies which covers planning a lesson, implementing a project, and assessing student work.

Best of all, Intel has included a private project area for teachers to set up lessons, class lists, and collaborative groups. Students then log in to the secure teacher area. Collaboration can occur from any computer at school or at home. Teachers have the ability to monitor and asses student work on line, and even leave important feedback. It really is the type of program that many teachers are using the day after a short in-service. Take a moment and explore Visual Ranking, a tool that will apply to any curricular area while enhancing 21st Century Skills.

Thanks for joining me once again on the important journey of transforming education to fit the 21st century. Remember to sign up via email or RSS and also, follow me on twitter (mjgormans). I also have hundreds of resources available for free at my 21centuryedtech Wiki! Enjoy the week as you introduce new tools that encourage your students think! – Mike

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An ISTE Webinar Packed With Free Education Resources… And I’m Your Host!

I would like to invite you to join me as I host an ISTE Technology In Practice Webinar entitled; 21st Century Education and Technology Integration: No Cost and Low Cost Investments with Rich Results for Students on Wednesday, May 12 at 4:00 PM EDT! If the length of the the title is any indication of the resources shared, and it is, you are in for a a landslide of free resources. I am excited about sharing what I believe is over  two hours of resources in the hour time slot! Check out the link to this webinar at ISTE Webinars. By the way, I am available and can provide a staff of educators with their own webinar. I have enjoyed giving live presentations at NMSA, CELL, Alan November BLC09, ICE, and  NICE  to name a few. While I sometimes travel to different schools to provide in-service, I entertain the idea of facilitating a webinar that just might fit your school’s needs and budget. As always please follow me on Twitter@mjgorman) or email me  at (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us).  Now, please give me the opportunity to present a little more about why I am so excited about my up-coming ISTE Webinar

First, it is an honor and a privilege to be invited by the professionals at ISTE (International Society For Technology In Education) to present one of their Technology In Practice Webinars. In fact, it is an honor I take very serious and have spent months trying to get the presentation just right. I feel whether I present in person, or on-line, it is my duty to deliver a presentation with motivational enthusiasm that is not only engaging and entertaining, but allows people to walk a way with new knowledge they can implement tomorrow! After all, isn’t that what is expected in the 21st Century classroom?  Not only that, participants must be able to access resources presented, along with access to myself, after the webinar is over! I plan on making sure that all is accomplished.

The Webinar entitled, 21st Century Education and Technology Integration: No Cost and Low Cost Investments with Rich Results for Students will cover the following areas. First, a quick philosophy of 21st Century Learning and a practical approach to addressing curricular standards while transforming educational delivery to the digital natives of today. This will transition into four different categories of resources available containing thousands of resources. Last, it concludes by applying this transformational thinking and integrating it with important lessons teachers already do. It is a goal that participants discover new and exciting ways to connect with today’s digital learners using free resources.  It is my intent to provide insight into ways of interconnecting local, state, and national standards while relating them with real world issues that are authentic and relevant.  I realize this is quite a bit for an hour, but I guarantee an hour well spent!

Thanks for joining me for another journey in 21st Century Education! I hope you are able to participate in the webinar, if not please continue to visit this blog for cutting edge ideas and information. Remember, I am always willing to assist with a conference, webinar, or in-service. I am honored to have you as a member of my professional learning community and look forward to future networking! Again, follow me on Twitter at @mjgormans), subscribe to this blog by email or RSSl, email me at mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us, and if possible join me at the webinar! Next posting: I have found a secure teacher facilitated blog spot for kids! … read about it  in the next post! Until then… have a wonderful end to your week! – Mike

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Free STEM And PBL Resources From Discovery Education and Siemens

What an appropriate time to  celebrate the NSTA Conference with a tribute to an awesome collection of  STEM resources! For those not familiar with STEM education, imagine the power in combining Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math into a program that brings cross curricular understanding with real world application. Those familiar with Daniel Pink even understand the importance of a fine arts contribution to STEM. Now combine the outstanding and first rate resources of Siemens Corporation and Discovery Education. Welcome to a posting that highlights a great web site based on STEM, PBL, and 21st Century education!  Don’t miss any part of this posting, including the conclusion which includes what may be the best free professional development opportunity for STEM educators this summer! As always feel free to follow me on twitter at (@mjgormans) and I will be sure to follow you back and we can learn from one another! You are also invited to visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki! Please enjoy and share this post with others! Have a great week! – Mike

I have been working with STEM education and Project Based Learning for over ten years! I have presented on this topic at  regional and national conferences along with facilitating in-service at various schools. When I first visited the Siemen’s STEM Academy I was amazed at the resources already collected in the short time this website has been online.  It is evident, as stated in the website, “Siemens is committed to supporting the next generation of scientists, engineers, and business leaders through multiple educational initiatives.” Additionally, Discovery Education has a reputation of delivering not only a diverse and highly engaging streaming service, but also a commitment to programs that are transforming classroom instruction across the nation.

The first thing you may notice are links to some STEM activities that have been well known for their past success. This includes the  Siemens Competition which allows high school students to gain national recognition as they explore Math, Science & Technology with challenging research. Visit Siemens Science Day where elementary students can make slime, create creatures, or forecast a funnel cloud. The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge empowers students in all grades to participate in the only national challenge to develop and share environmental ideas that just might just change the world. The Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement encourages advanced placement students today to advance innovation for tomorrow.

Perhaps you want to check out the Professional Development Webinar Page featuring upcoming webinars such as;  Getting Started with Project Based Learning with Jennifer Dorman on April 8,  7 PM ET and Layers of Learning with Google Earth with Brad Fountain May 4, 7 PM ET. Take a look at the outstanding archive of ready to watch webinars including;  How Math Can Solve Everyday Problems, Using Technology To Create New KnowledgeTop Ten STEM ResourcesSTEM Connect with Michio Kaku, Live Green Webinar #1Live with Mr. Wizard!Summer School – Science Week, The Science of Hurricanes and Go Wild: Animal Planet’s Jeff Corwin Talks About Environmental Education in the Age of Technology. There are more webinars planned for the future!

Another important area to visit is the Resource Page.  It contains quality information and lessons that will assist teachers in the implementation of STEM lessons and 21st century learning.  Teachers can share their favorite lesson plans, tips, tricks, ideas, presentations, websites, videos and other STEM related resources that may prove useful for others who want to expand their classroom materials.   Subjects include Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics,  and Integration. Once again, this site is relatively new and while there is over one hundred resources available already, it is bound to grow! One example, check out this entertaining video that teaches students major concepts about rocks? (You may need to sign up to view)  Be sure to visit the STEM Blog packed with current and cutting edge  STEM ideas and news information. Blog content is contributed by Discovery Education’s Patti Duncan and Lance Rougeux.  At the Blog you can learn about National Lab Day and take time to view this video including a message from the President. The Blog links to some great STEM related resources such as this ESchool News Article on STEM education resources. This Blog will prove to be a valuable resource as you look for information to use and share with others while investigating the growing STEM movement.

Are you looking for what may be one of the best free professional development opportunities for educators interested in STEM this summer? If  you are looking to bolster STEM learning in your classroom, want access to top STEM scientists, thought-leaders, and innovators, and want to network with like minds across the country, then apply today to attend the Siemens STEM Institute The application deadline is April 16, 2010. The Siemens STEM Institute is described as ” a one-of-a-kind immersion program that promotes hands-on, real-world integration of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in the classroom.” You, or a colleague you pass this on to, could be one of fifty teachers selected as a STEM Fellows to attend this all expenses-paid, week-long (Aug. 1-6) professional development experience. The event will be hosted at the world headquarters of Discovery Communications, located just outside of the nation’s capitol, in Washington D.C. The week will be filled with guest speakers at the forefront of STEM, field trips to leading institutions where Fellows will observe real-world applications of STEM subject matter, and opportunities for networking and collaborating with peers from across the nation. In addition to broad-based STEM applications, each Fellow will be assigned to a thematic working group that will provide additional deep-dive exposure. Take a look at an agenda that any serious STEM educator would want to be a part of!

It is time you take a moment and discover what Discovery Education and Siemens have created to facilitate our student’s success in the Twenty-first Century! As more educators understand the value of STEM education, Discovery Education and Siemens will join that necessary and important partner, which is you and your students!  Take a moment to register for free and explore the world of STEM education and real Inquiry – Project Based Learning!

Thanks for joining me on another journey dedicated to learning in the Twenty-first Century! Please share resources you find that promote STEM education! It truly is an exciting time to be an educator!  As always feel free to follow me on twitter at (@mjgormans) and I will be sure to follow you back and we can learn from one another! You are also invited to visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki!  Please enjoy and share this post with others!  Have a great week! – Mike

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Free Math Video Game & Curriculum From MIT: Engages Students And Facilitates 21st Century Learning!

A great MIT math game for middle school students incorporating problem solving, higher order thinking skills, national standards, and 21st century skills is available for free!  Includes lesson plans, graphic organizers, a library of material, evaluation strategies, and a  teacher administrative tool set. You have just entered the world of Lure of the Labyrinth, one of my web catches of the week!  While it has been around for a few years, it deserves mention every so often. For more great resources visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki – Mike  email (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us) Twitter @mjgormans

MIT has created another great learning experience, this time for middle school pre-algebra and algebra students. This is not the typical game that involves solving math problems with the reward of playing a game as a reward in the end.  Lure of the Labyrinth isn’t that kind of game. In fact, teachers and students report that math is one of the most fun parts of this game that incorporates a style found in popular graphic novels. It is embedded in a strong story line that engages students in a far off world where they must stop the  monsters from dominating the world.  This is accomplished by solving puzzles through the use of logic and the understanding of  number relationships. The mathematics embedded in Lure of the Labyrinth is the central part of any pre-algebra curriculum, and is based on key standards that guide national and state mathematics curriculum. Lure of the Labyrinth’s exploration of number relationships is complex, intriguing, and it is accessible to all mathematical thinkers. Take a moment to read more about all of the math, scientific method, problem solving,  and hypothesizing found in this unique game.
There are two basic ways that teachers can use Lure of the Labyrinth. Students can play it as a full-fledged game or they can  play its puzzles as separate, standalone activities that compliment specific math lessons. There is a large resource area available for teachers that cover standardssixteen different lesson plans, and graphic organizers that can be used with each lesson.  The game also allows for student cooperation and collaboration while giving teachers an administrative tool to monitor online activity and student progress. The graphics are fun and the story line is interesting! Take a moment to view various video segments produced for professional development of Maryland teachers  involving  game play, testimonials, and planning! Be sure to read this complete page written for educators and be sure to listen to the audio by Scott Osterweil  who is Creative Director at the Education Arcade at MIT . In fact, the MIT link will bring you several other games for education that I will include in future write ups. More research is supporting the use of games to faciltate  this generation of digital natives in their aquisition of  those all important 21st century skills!

Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to send on any comments or replies and catch all updates on both sites at twitter – Mike

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Free Software To Make That Flip Video Experience Even Better!

Ever had trouble getting those flip video files into Windows Movie Maker or your preferred video editor? This midweek post of 21centuryedtech focuses on a free piece of software that really does make integrating the Flip Video camera with Windows Movie Maker easy. Outside of that, it is truly a great video and audio transfer program that has a multitude of uses in student and teacher productions of movies and podcasts! Try this and other great ideas and resources found at the 21centuryedtech Wiki! As always follow me at www.twitter.com/mjgormans – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

It really is time to do a double flip for your Flip video camera as you find ways to integrate with free Windows Movie Maker. I recently purchased 30 Flip Video Camera for student use!  They have been a hit as have the movies that students have produced. While others may not, I did experience problems with the Flip Software (too simplistic) and using the video files on various computers and networks. I did a triple flip when I found the free product Any Video Converter.  This powerful yet free video converter application makes video and audio conversion quick and easy. The application can clip any segments and optionally merge and sort them to make a creative movie. Even more, Any Video Converter Freeware can crop frame size to remove any unwanted area in the frame ,just like a pair of smart scissors. It can convert almost any video format:  including DivX, XviD, MOV, rm, rmvb, MPEG, VOB, DVD, WMV, AVI, MPEG-I, DVD NTSC , DVD PAL, Flash for Video (FLV), AVI Video and Customized WMV movie formats. It also supports any user defined video file format as the output including avi, mp4, wmv, swf, flv, mkv, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2, mpg (PAL or NTSC), mp3, wma, ogg, aac, wave, m4a. This means that youtube, iPod, Zune, PSP, iPhone, 3GP Phone, and MP4 player are all covered. And if that’s not enough, it is also lightning  fast, even over a network.

Now about that Flip camera integration! It really is as simple as using the Flip Video Camera as a portable drive!  Just plug the Flip Camera into the computer’s USB port. Then open up Any Video Converter. Next select Add Video. It is then simple to use the easy interface to find the drive of the Flip Video Camera . Now , open the drive and select the desired videos.

 

Once the videos are selected a selection must be made from a pulldown on the right regarding the correct output format. For Windows Movie Maker the choice is customized WMV movie. Note that there are many other formats to pick from including ones that will work on the Mac, Mobile phones (including the iPhone), Flash, and portable video players.

There is even an Output folder on the bottom of the menu with various choices. The built in default is to have the program build an Any Video Folder in the user’s My Documents Folder. This can be great for network use that automatically sends user files to the user  network folder. Since Any Video Converter  can convert multiple files quickly and easily, you and your students will be editing using Windows Movie Maker or your preferred video editing software in no time. Take a moment to explore and learn about  and the download this free and useful program. While I have described its integration with Flip Video, you will find its power something you will find other reasons to do summersalts over!

Have fun and keep coming back ,and as always visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki! – Mike  (http://www.twitter.com/mjgormans)

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EtherPad – A Free And Easy Collaboration Tool : No Sign Up – No Log In

Welcome to another mid week posting highlighting a Great Web Catch. Collaboration is one of those important 21st Century Skills for students and a needed process for teacher planning. Recently EtherPad, a plain and simple collaboration tool, was purchased by Google to be incorporated in the Google Wave product. This review covers the strengths of EtherPad and how it will continue to live in the open sources world and as a foundation for Google Wave. As always visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki for even more resources to transform today’s education for tomorrow’s needs! – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

EtherPad has been known as a valuable tool, allowing instant  and  easy collaboration for students and teachers.  As the site proclaims, “Etherpad is simply the most frictionless way to get people on the same page.” The real attraction to EtherPad is the lack of requirement for a user account, sign in, or email. As you are aware, this is a definite plus in the educational setting.  The collaboration is easy!  All that is needed is a visit to http://etherpad.com and  a press of a button called Create Public Pad. After this quick process, a new public pad is created for the user in Etherpad . The user then shares the URL  for the pad with up to sixteen others. What ever is typed from where ever, is displayed on the page in real time. There is even a chat window!  This is a great tool for those that need to bring up a quick collaboration tool on the fly. It is useful in the classroom for students to communicate point of need help in Project Based Learning, collaborate as a group, keep teacher aware of group progress, communicate beyond walls, and interview authors and experts. It allows teachers to collaborate on text documents, keep meeting notes, and draft plans. EtherPad allows each line entered by a collaborator  to have a different number for easy reference. Authors are also given color codes and can even be given a label or name. Best of all, work can be saved and exported as an HTML, plain text, bookmarked file, Microsoft Word, PDF, or Open document. Different revisons can be documented and a time slider is provided to show when revisions are made.  Users must be aware that the only way  to keep open pads private is to safeguard the URL. For this reason private information should not be shared. Take a look at this list of frequently asked questions and view a tour of the product. Recently, EtherPad’s creator AppJet was purchased by Google for the new Google Wave product.  It is currently going through a restructuring to an open source format. It is also being used as a foundation for Google’s soon to be publicly released Google Wave  product.  While it is a goal, Google Wave doesn’t yet have all the functionality of Etherpad. The people at both Google and Appjet are confident that in the long term users will be pleased with the transition to Google Wave . In the mean time, Etherpad is a great way to introduce plain and simple collaboration and may allow you to soon catch the Google Wave! – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

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It’s Free – Intel Provides An Amazing Tool To Assess 21st Century Skills

 

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler an American futurist.

This quote found on the front page of the Intel’s Assessing Project Tool web site gives a foundation  and premise for Intel’s  free educational resource . For those trying to assess 21century skills, this site provides some practical tools and resources to answer this question. Not only does Intel provide a unique interface to construct a rubric, it includes theory, rational, best practices, and outstanding examples. It is more then an assessment tool, if used correctly it allows teacher’s to truely transform their practice using a planning process that starts with the end and involves on-going assessment. Please take a moment to read over my review and explore the links that will highlight some of the outstanding attitibutes of this site. As always, take a moment to visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki .  If you have 21century skill assessment practices to share please post a reply or send an email. I enjoy reading and make it a practice to answer each and every e-mail. – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

The biggest question I get from teachers when conducting workshops on technology integration and 21st century skills remains, “How do you assess the 21st century skills?”  While it is important to make sure content standards are integrated and assessed in student projects, many times the 21st century skills are loosely incorporated and assessed . This leaves students often confused with the attempted integration of  21st century skill, resulting in a goal never achieved. Once again, as most research suggests, it is important that all projects are designed with the end in mind. The conclusion includes both content standards, and the 21st century skills that are to be acheived by students. This end, is a part of the planning process that is communicated to students in the form of a rubric. The rubric must act as a guide while students engage with the project’s on-going process.

This preparation can be time consuming for the educator, which is why I invite you to explore Intel Education’s Assessing Projects Tool. I am a long time fan of the Intel Thinking  Tools. I am just as impressed with the Assessing  Projects Tool.  Intel states, “When assessment drives instruction, students learn more and become more confident, self-directed learners. Assessing Projects helps teachers create assessments that address 21st century skills and provides strategies to make assessment an integral part of their teaching and help students understand content more deeply, think at higher levels, and become self-directed learners”.

The site overview page  gives the benefits of assessing projects, numerous references and authoritive writings,  and some outstanding assessment based websites  based on 21st century education. Learn more about the purpose of assessment, various assessments that go beyond tests, papers, and oral presentations, and how formative assessment which is continuous and ongoing promotes real achievement. Additionally, while higher-order thinking such as critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, and metacognition, can be a challenge. this tool explores methods for assessing thinking. Last, this tool explores what components are necessary for successful assessment in a school.

Intel gives you the opportunity to Try It.  Here you can try a Demo to explore the Assessment Library and examine checklists, rubrics, and scoring guides on thinking skills, processes, products, and performances. There is also a video tutorial that allows you to see how features of the Assessing Projects application work in the classroom. You can also view a great animation of the process which helps simplify the process. Explore some example project assessment forms for both the elementary and secondary level. Intel states that assessment strategies can be broken into five main categories. While not all methods within a category are needed, all categories should be included in an assessment plan. The categories included are Strategies for Gauging Student Needs ,  Strategies for Encouraging Self-Direction and Collaboration,  Strategies for Monitoring ProgressStrategies for Checking for Understanding and Encouraging Metacognition,  and Strategies for Demonstrating Understanding and Skill. There is also an area that describes the planning of assessment, the changing of assessment strategies, and some sample lesson plans complete with timeline of project, venn diagram, table, and assessment timeline. I find it useful to use the large selection of pre-made rubics and modify and save them to my Intel Work Space. From here they can be exported as a Word or Excel file.

In conclusion, Intel offers a top of the line tool that is free to educators. There are other tools which I will explore in future posts but I do suggest that anyone exploring assessment of 21st century skills take a look at the Intel Assessing Projects Tool for its ease of use, vast resources of information,  on-line productivity, and theory behind practice. While it acts as a rubric machine, it goes much farther by transtorming educational practice. Please feel free to email or post. I am interested in learning about other tools available for 21st century assessment.  While taking your journey in 21st century education, please visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki. Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing from you – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

 

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