EEND 675 Artifact 2 – Digital Tool Assessment

I’ve chosen to include the digital tool assessment project for my second artifact in this class.  I chose this project because it is something I’m am very interested in using in my class.  Benjamin Herold says that digital assessment tools have the ability to provide “real-time feedback on what children know, combined with fingertip access to a dizzying array of tailored instructional materials, resulting in more customized instruction from teachers and a more personalized learning experience for each student” (Herold, 2018).  This is why I am very interested in trying out new tools for creating assessments and why I have decided to include this project.  This project fits most closely with ISTE educator standard 7: analyst; where educators understand and use data to drive their instruction and support students in achieving their learning goals. (ISTE, n.d.).

I currently use the digital assessments that are provided through my school’s PowerSchool Learning LMS.  While I am am happy with these assessments for the most part, I’m always looking for new and better ways of doing things.  During this project I created a new assessment using Google Forms.  I am somewhat familiar with using Google Forms, but mostly for completing forms given to me by others.  I had never created my own form to be filled out by my students. I really enjoyed learning a new tool, especially this one, because it was so incredibly easy to use.  I will enjoy finding ways to use it more often in my class now that I have a better understanding of how it works and what I can do with it.

The most challenging part of a project like this is finding something that works well for different assessments.  While I have learned that Google Forms is great for informal assessments like student polling, collecting class data, and gaging background knowledge; it may not be so great for more formal assessments like chapter tests or unit quizzes.  I’ve come to learn as I’ve been exposed to more tools in this class, that you have to pick the right tool for the job. I will probably stick with using my PowerSchool assessments for more formal questioning, but I will now use Google Forms more often for informal questioning.

Having had a really great experience trying this new assessment tool makes me want to try others as well.  I think that if I give a fews others a try I can find something that really works well in my classroom. I may end up with several that I can use in combination for different types of assessments.  I can use Google Forms for polling students at the beginning of my astronomy unit to see what they already know, and what they might like to learn about. I can use another tool like EdPuzzle, to gage student understand while watching astronomy videos.  For my unit quizzes and tests I can stick with my current tool, PowerSchool.

The potential of technology for assessment in the classroom is truly unlimited.  Its the job of the teacher to discover what works best in their own classrooms, but trying new tools and experimenting is key.  You have to be willing to move out of your comfort zone, and not become too set in your ways. I think I’ve gotten off to a good start so far and hope to continue to find new and interesting tools that help my students in the classroom.

References:

Edpuzzle. (n.d.). Retrieved April 08, 2018, from https://edpuzzle.com/

Google Forms – create and analyze surveys, for free. (n.d.). Retrieved April 08, 2018, from https://www.google.com/forms/about/

Herold, B. (2018, March 01). Testing Digital Tools to Improve Formative Assessments. Retrieved April 08, 2018, from https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/03/13/25personalized.h33.html

ISTE Standards FOR EDUCATORS. (n.d.). Retrieved April 07, 2018, from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-educators

PowerSchool Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved April 08, 2018, from https://www.powerschool.com/

EEND 675 Artifact 1 – Digital Lesson

For my first artifact in the 675 class I chose my digital lesson project.  I chose this project because I was very please with how it turned out and I think it will be something I can use in my Earth Science class.  This project fits most closely with ISTE educator standard 5: designer; where educators design authentic, learner-driven activities and environments that recognize and accommodate learner variability (ISTE, n.d.).  This project was created using Blendspace, a free online program that can be used to create interactive lessons, projects, presentations, and more (Create & Find, n.d.).  This was something I had not tried before, and to be honest, was not something I had even thought about before. It was something that was completely new to me and I’m pleased that I was able to move out of my comfort zone and try something new.

One reason I enjoyed creating this project, is because it was very new to me.  I like learning about new tools and seeing what they can do. I like to find new ways to teach topics in my classes, rather than using the same old ideas and methods every year.  I also really liked that this lesson was all created in one place. Normally, the students have to visit 3 or 4 different websites to get all the information I want them to have. With the digital lesson on Blendspace, everything was in one place.  They only had to worry about one website, one login screen. I also really liked the way all the information flows together and makes it very easy for the students to follow along and complete the assignment. Probably my favorite part of this project though, was that it is something that can easily be differentiated.  I can add or remove certain pieces of information and make it unique to different students in my classes. According to the institutes on academic diversity, “learning activities may be differentiated on the basis of students’ readiness for learning the specific content or skill, their interests or their preferred ways of learning” (Differentiated Instruction, 2016).  With digital lessons, I can create many different versions of the same lesson for all the various needs of my students.

One challenge creating the project, was that I sometimes had a hard time getting certain pieces of information into the program.  There is a menu that lets you select options of how to incorporate your information, but it was a little tricky to use and not everything could be added easily.  It took me much longer than I would have liked to get some items added to the project. That is time I don’t always have to waste, but I think that with some more practice using Blendspace, I can probably make the process go much smoother and faster.

This particular lesson I created covered plate tectonics, a lesson I spend quite a bit of time on in my Earth Science classes.  I can very easily add this lesson into my curriculum and make the topic much more interesting for my students. I would post the link for the project onto my class website, and the students could access it from there.   Because Blendspace allows students to log in with their google information, my students don’t have to remember any separate user names or passwords. I also created two separate lessons, one for students who are on target and one for students who are struggling.  This will allow me to determine which students should complete which lesson. It allows me to differentiate the lesson much more efficiently this way, and the students should get more out of the lesson.

As I mentioned above, I am very pleased with how this project turned out.  It forced me as an educator to learn a new tool and to create something completely different than anything I have used before.  I’m looking forward to trying it out with my students and really putting it to the test.

References:

Create & Find Free Multimedia Lessons. (n.d.). Retrieved April 07, 2018, from https://www.tes.com/lessons

ISTE Standards FOR EDUCATORS. (n.d.). Retrieved April 07, 2018, from https://www.iste.org/standards/for-educators

What is Differentiated Instruction? (2016, October 07). Retrieved April 07, 2018, from http://differentiationcentral.com/what-is-differentiated-instruction/

 

Introduction

Hi, my name is Adam Wason.  I work in District 205 at Lockport East High School.  I just finished my 12th year teaching, all of them spent at Lockport.  I also graduated from Lockport, so all together I’ve been at the school for 16 years.  I am currently teaching sophomore level Physical Science and junior/senior level Earth Science.  I’ve taught Physical Science for all of my 12 years, and I’ve taught Earth Science for the last 9 years.

I really do like using technology in the classroom.  I think it’s something that all students today should be exposed to as often as possible.  We currently are 1:1 here at Lockport with the students all having chromebooks that they use every day.  I would say that I’m probably one of the teachers here that uses the chromebooks most often.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve printed off a single piece of paper in the last 2 months.  Almost everything the kids work on in my class is set up through our school’s PowerSchool Learning LMS.  They have their notes there, videos, practice problems, quizzes, tests, pretty much everything.

Some of my favorite tech tools I use are things like Kahoot and Quizlet.  Those are two that I use all the time in my class for review games to make it fun for the kids.  EdPuzzle and PearDeck are others I like to use for certain topics.  They also do a great job keeping the kids involved in the lessons.

As great as all this is, I do run into trouble using technology in class the way I do.  I have many students who don’t like online tests, don’t like taking notes on google docs, don’t like digital flashcards, etc.  As great as I think these technologies are, I still have to keep in mind that sometimes these may not be so great for all my students.

Overall though, it has been fun trying to come up with new and innovative ways to incorporate more technology into my classroom.  It has been really nice teaching in a district that seems to be ahead of the curve for many of these technologies and has a lot of support for the teaching staff.  With this class, I hope to learn more about the hardware aspects of Technology Education.  I would say that this would probably be my weakest area, because I have the least experience with it.  I really am looking forward to learning more about this throughout the program here at St. Francis and to round out my learning.