Tech Tip Tuesday

November 4, 2014 - Issue # 5

In this issue: Online Grading in SkyWard, GoSoapBox - Web Based Clickers, URL Shortener, Guest Teacher, and Tech Table Talks!

Online/Instantly Graded Assignments in SkyWard

Using Skyward, teachers are able to make online assignments which are auto-scored and entered into their gradebook. This is one of the neatest tools, which makes the grading process much less time consuming for teachers. Using this feature allows teachers to:

-Auto grade and enter scores into a gradebook

-Randomize questions

-Produce multiple choice, true/false, and matching questions

-Provide students with the correct answers

-Create a set time that the assessment opens and closes


The one drawback with this feature is that students will have to log into their Skyward account, which means they will need to know their username and password. This may seem like a tedious process for them, but it is a secure way to give online assessments.


View this video for a short tutorial.

Creating an Online Assignment in Skyward

GoSoapBox - Formative Assessment Tool

Here is another great free tool used to collect student knowledge on a wide variety of areas. GoSoapBox can be used to create quizzes, polls, discussions, and social Q&As. Teachers will create a free account and students can access this account with a code on any device. They will use this device to interact with others in the classroom, making their device an advanced web-based clicker. All information shared on this will happen in real time, so you can ask your class a question, and responses will show up instantly. Quizzes, polls, discussions, and Q&As can be created on the fly or made in advance. All of these assessment types can be locked and unlocked at any time for students to access. A confusion barometer is also always displayed so students can show that they are confused without getting embarrassed. Here are some highlights of each category.


  • Quizzes - Students will instantly be notified of their score once they submit their quiz, and teachers are able to download an excel file of the results.
  • Polls - Create questions and have the students respond to them quickly to adjust your instruction. All responses will be displayed in a graph for simple viewing. There is also an instant polling option which does not have to include premade questions. This feature is nice for asking the class something on the fly without any prep time.
  • Discussions - Post a question and have your students respond to it. This can be customized so students can/cannot see who posted each reply.
  • Social Q&As - This allows for students to post questions or reply to a question posted by the teacher. Students are then able to see a list of all the questions and "Like" their favorites. This allows the teacher to see which questions are of most importance.
  • Confusion Barometer - This is a button that the students can click on at any time they are confused. They may change their status to confused or not confused, and the teacher can see this real time. Neat tool for classrooms and students who do not voice their needs.

Start your own account today at http://www.gosoapbox.com/

URL Shortener - Every Teachers "Must Have" Tool

Long URL addresses can be a huge problem for teachers trying to get their students to access a certain webpage. Without the use of a webpage or bookmarks with the sites already linked for the students, the best way for students to access a site is by shortening the URL. There are many sites that do this for you, but my new favorite is is.gd. This site allows you to customize your own ending of the URL to make it easier for your students to get to.


Steps to Shorten a URL.

1- Copy the long link that you are trying to get your students to access. Here is a long link to the IXL Math and English App. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ixl-math-practice/id693689912. Students would never be able to type that in one character at a time. Believe me, I have tried that back in the day..........


2. Go to is.gd and paste the link in the empty bar.


3. You may click on "Shorten" or you can click on the "Further options/custom URL." In the "Further options," you can type in your own ending to the URL which has to be at least five characters long. Or, you may choose from "Standard," "Lower case," and "Lower case pronounceable" and it will make a URL for you.


4. All URLs shortened will start with is.gd and will end with your custom/auto created link.


To have students access this site put the short URL on the board and students will be there in seconds. My shortened URL is now is.gd/simpleurl.


Lastly, once your link is shortened, there will an option to automatically make a QR code!

Guest Teacher - Stephanie Segroves - Laker Schools

My name is Stephanie Segroves and I am the Spanish and JH “Technology Literacy and Ethics” teacher at EPBP Lakers. I have the privilege of working with an administration that is very current with best practices, technology, and willing to try new things even if they do not always work out perfectly the first time. This is a great way, as educators, to approach any aspect of our job, not being afraid to try new things and simply improve as you go. This should apply to everything from formative assessment to using technology in the classroom.


Lakers has the iPad 1:1 program and I have the opportunity to use technology in my classroom everyday! As a Spanish teacher, I consistently use the following apps: iTunes U, iBooks, Edmodo, Quizlet, YouTube, and sometimes, Spanish Smash. This does not even cover the websites that are useful for a Spanish classroom. What I really love about using technology in the classroom is that it really opens up the world for students. Instead of describing the running of the bulls in Spain, I can look up a YouTube video and show them! I can connect them to native Spanish speakers around the world to help them improve their level of Spanish.


As I am teaching my students Spanish, and opening the world to them, I feel like I am also preparing them to use technology in a responsible way to prepare them for life after high school. Technology has widened both my and my students' horizons and I wouldn’t go back for anything!

Tech Table Talks

As many educators have requested, I am going to start monthly Tech Table Talks (T3s). These will be similar to round table discussions that are very informal. I will be able to present some instructional technology ideas, and attenders are able to explain ideas or thoughts as well. These meetings will be a great time for collaboration, networking, and allow participants to see what schools are doing from district to district. I would love it if our T3 meetings would include a representative from each district. Our first meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 18, from 4 - 5 p.m.. SCHECHs will not be available for this first meeting but will be available for future meetings.


If you plan on attending, please fill out this short Google Form below. Thanks!