Thursday, July 11, 2013

CUE Rockstar Tahoe: What I Learned on Day 3

Today I got to experience CUE Rockstar from a different perspective.  Kevin Brookhouser invited me to present with him in his Class Polling without Clickers session.  I have been using Socrative this school year in both my biology and AVID classes for quizzes, reviews, and for quick checks for understanding.  I also shared another tool, Infuse Learning, which is similar to Socrative, but allows the students to write/draw answers.  In the two sessions, I got to share what I had learned and done, but I also learned quite a bit from Kevin and the other participants as we discussed ways we would use the tools with our students.

To start the session, Kevin told a story which demonstrated how people can have biases about information and what they know when others share or provide information.  In the classroom, this happens all the time when students are asked questions.  Many times one student raises their hand, and that student provides the correct answer.  Everyone else thinks, "oh, yeah, that's what I thought", when they didn't really know the answer.  Maybe they would have gotten to that answer, but didn't get a chance to process it or really decide on the answer themselves.  

That is where clickers come in.  Clickers allow all students to have their own voice.  But clickers are expensive, and really can only allow students to answer multiple choice or true false answers.  As technology is advancing, and smart phones are getting more affordable, many students now bring smart phones or other mobile devices, like iPods, to class.  These devices can be used as clickers, with the right website or apps.

Poll Everywhere
Kevin shared how he uses Poll Everywhere and Google Forms to poll his students.  Poll Everywhere allows teachers to ask one question at a time.  They can be multiple choice or short answers.  The answers can be shown on the board in real time, and the multiple choice answers are shown in a bar graph.  Students can text or tweet in answers, or they can use an internet browser to respond.  Kevin gave examples of using Poll Everywhere to answer questions as he went over a poem and the concept of paradox.  He also shared how he had used it for students to write sentences using vocabulary words.  All the sentences show up on the screen and students can discuss if they are correct or why they wrote them in that way.  I definitely will use this ideas as my AVID students study their SAT vocabulary or when my biology students practice writing arguments and claims from their readings.  

Google Forms
Next, Kevin showed us a great example of using google forms.  He created a peer grading rubric where students fill out the form for each presenter as they practice their presentations. They provide feedback so their peers can make improvements before their final speech.  I have used a similar form for grading a class project, but I love having the students help their peers by giving suggestions on how they can improve their presentation.  Something that I shared is how I took the info that the students entered in the form, which is really hard to read in the spreadsheet, and I organized it by mail merging the data into a document.  I made a google doc that looked like a written out grading rubric, and then used the Autocrat script take the spreadsheet data and put it in the right spots on the document.  Autocrat then emails out the doc to the students so they get that feedback.

Next, I shared Socrative and Infuse Learning.  I have been using Socrative with my class for quick reviews and small quizzes on and off last school year.  I have written a post about it where you can learn how to use it.  Today, when sharing the site/app, I learned something new that I am very excited about. 

When giving students a Short Answer - Single Question Activity, a teacher will ask students some sort of question.  It could be a comparison of mitosis and meiosis, a thesis statement for an essay prompt, or some other higher level question.  Students answers will show up anonymously on the teacher's screen.  This can be projected out to the class.  

After all of the answers are up, the teacher can have the students discuss why they chose their answer and try to persuade the others that their answer is correct.  This would be a great way for students to teach each other the content.   

Then you can choose to have the students vote on the answer again to show what they now believe is the correct answer.  Hopefully you will see more correct answers.  This is what it looks like after they vote.

I think that this will be a great way to have students discuss what they know and it will provide them a way to have a structured academic conversation where higher level thinking will take place.

Infuse Learning
Next, I shared Infuse Learning.  I hadn't used this in class with my students yet - I didn't want to try out too many tech tools at once, and Socrative was working for us.  The big different with Infuse Learning is that students can draw answers.  This would be awesome for math problems, science drawings, imagery in English classes, etc.  We learned that it was tough to draw using a laptop, but those on tablets had an easier time.  

Some comparisons of Socrative and Infuse Learning, is Infuse Learning does not have an app, it is internet based.  On a mobile device, it seemed to work best using the Chrome Browser.  Also, in Socrative, teachers can name their room number, I named my "Hero".  In Infuse Learning, you can't name the room number, and it changes each time you use the website.  That might be confusing for the students.  

On the right are some sample drawings that the participants drew using Infuse Learning.  I think that this will be a great tool in my iPad classroom.

Shared Resources
After we demoed the resources the participants had time to play with the different polling systems.  They were tasked with creating a lesson that used one of the polls.  Then there was a lesson sharing time at the end of the session.  All the teachers had great and creative ideas on how they would use these tools.

During the sessions, we had a lot of great conversations and I learned about some other resources and tools.  

One was Tag Crowd.  Tag crowd creates a wordle type image - but the words are all in straight lines instead of bunched up together.  I think this would be much easier for English Learners or students with reading difficulties to look at.  

I also learned about Canned Response - a Gmail lab where you can create canned response emails.  The example shared was an email to send to students in response to an email they sent you telling you that they are sick. I think that will really help save some time.  

We also talked about Google Voice and how French students recorded conversations that were sent to the teacher's voicemail to listen to later.  This will make the process of recording themselves much easier, because it automatically gets sent.  If using other apps, students must save it, then cut/paste and email the link to the teacher. 

Thank You
The last three days have been a gold mine of resources, tools, and conversations with great educators to add to my PLN.  I have learned so much and have made many good connections with people who are so willing to share and support other educators.  

All of the presenters went above and beyond.  During the morning breakfast time and lunch they always shared what they knew.  They had mini sessions at lunch to get educators on twitter, shared how to take good mobile device photos, how to create google forms, or gave a minecraft introduction.  And they had spent the time to prep and prepare for amazing sessions.  Thank you so much for a great three days.  I will definitely be back next year and hope to convince others at my school site to attend with me.  (I tried unsuccessfully this year.)

And thank you so much Kevin for inviting me to present with you.  It was a great experience and I learned a lot today from you and the participants in the two sessions.

I am sad CUE Rockstar is over, but I have something to look forward to for next summer! If you are reading this, make sure you sign up for CUE Rockstar Tahoe next year.  :)

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