TEACHnology Today

Technology Integration Newsletter- December 3, 2015

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If you’d like to try a new and effective technology tool but don’t have much time to dedicate to it, then Nearpod is your new best friend. You can take an existing slideshow from PowerPoint, Google Slides or even a PDF and drop it into Nearpod. For SMART notebook users, you can save your deck as a PDF and utilize that content as well.


Nearpod will then allow you to insert a poll, question or even drawing to gauge student understanding of a topic. You can intersperse these questions among your existing content, and ramp up the engagement of students while also combating digital distraction--each student will have your slideshow on their device and you control the speed. You will then easily be able to see if they are following along and engaged or if they are distracted which keeps you in control of your classroom.


I’d recommend inserting a new engagement slide every 2-3 slides. That way your students remain engaged and you get phenomenal data from every lecture session!

Formative Assessment or Formative Learning?

When you think of formative assessment? In the most general terms, formative assessment is typically seen as a way to check for student understanding of the learning objectives we strive to teach each day. Typically, formative assessment is a precursor of some form of summative assessment. It is a way for teachers to monitor and assess their learners informally and make adjustments to encourage a deeper understanding of the material before a more formal assessment.


Formative assessment is often given in the form of short quizzes, bell ringers at the beginning of class to serve as a pre-assessment or introduction of the topic, or exit tickets at the end of class where students can show you how well they understood the day’s lesson.


In this blog post, Micheal Gorman reflects on how the phrase “formative assessment” can be somewhat limiting. He encourages us instead to use the phrase “formative learning,” which helps us to really address the way that students learn in the classroom.


We can look at formative learning as the continuous checking for student understanding of stated learning objectives in order to guide instruction and ensure that the individual needs of students are addressed by appropriate learning opportunities. This definition of formative learning allows us to focus on what is truly important--our students. Think about how you can tell by looking at a student if they understand what you are teaching them. There is nothing quite as satisfying as witnessing that light bulb moment when a student finally understands a concept and is genuinely excited by it. On the other side of the coin, there is nothing quite as frustrating as seeing a student shut down because they can’t complete a task or answer a question. The best thing we can do to encourage our students to buy in to a lesson is to witness those cues and allow for them to shape your instruction.


Delivering formative assessment through technology by itself will not produce the results that you may be looking for. The relationships with students and your awareness of nonverbal cues during the learning process, which are the things that good teachers automatically do, will always be your most important and telling versions of formative assessment. Technology can provide you with the data you may need to make further adjustments and to become even more responsive to the needs of your students.


When you are looking for a technology tool to facilitate formative assessment, ask yourself these questions:

  1. How can this tool allow me to make student learning and growth better?

  2. How can this tool make learning and growth possible?

Technology Tools for Formative Learning

  • Video Tools
    • Educanon – Creating a classroom movie is always fun. This tool allows the placement of videos in a formative loop allowing the teacher to check for student understanding as videos are watched.

    • Zaption – Link videos to this wonderful tool designed to place formative learning with in a video activity. Collect information on student progress as they access from home or school.

    • Edpuzzle – Explore this formative video tool that allows the teacher to track and view student understanding. Use a video from just about any source on just about any device. Allows for important student metacognition during the course of the activity.

    • Blubbr.tv – Now teachers and students can create their own video based trivia games. Allowing the trivia to be based on content standards can bring a whole new form to learning.


  • Quiz-Based Tools

    • Quia -- This amazing little tool helps you to create interactive game-based learning experiences for your students just by entering in your own review questions. Quia converts your questions into a multitude of fun games in the style of Battleship, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and others. You can also utilize those same questions to create short quizzes or longer assessments that are self-grading.

    • Kahoot – Make learning and assessment into a class wide game complete with points and leaderboards. Collect data from the group and individuals. This wonderful tool allows teachers to get a quick read on student knowledge and understanding.

    • Socrative – This amazing formative tool allows the teacher to post questions, polls, and quizzes on the fly with minimal preparation. Collect data on student understanding and even create a video game that allows kid to race to learn.

    • Quizlet – Create or choose from thousands of ready-made quizzes covering multiple subjects. You can embed quizzes in a website or send students to a link. Collect formative data as students test their knowledge using any device.

    • Quiziz – One of the newest in game based quiz programs. Bring the whole class into a competitive learning situation. Allow students to reflect on how they answered question while collecting important data that will help decide future instruction.


*These tools are summarized from an extended blog post on Formative Assessment by Micheal Gorman.

Google and Data Privacy

On Tuesday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) published a complaint regarding Google Apps for Education (GAFE) and Chrome Sync. Jonathan Rochelle, Google's Director of Google Apps for Education responded in the blog post linked below.

Classroom Management in a BYOD Environment

When all students have devices, combating digital distraction can be a daunting task for any educator. The blog post linked below has some AMAZING suggestions for fighting against distraction. Check it out!


Also, I created a printable sign for classrooms that utilize devices that you can feel free to use in your room. This should allow you to easily display your expectations for student device use at a glance. If you would like the printable PDF version, click here.

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BYOD Classroom Management Video
Request a Technology Integration Session Here!

Interested in integrating technology but are unsure of what to tackle first? I'd love to come and chat! We can go over your objectives for the lesson or goals for students, and I can help make a technology recommendation.

Google Migration Training Site

This training site contains several smaller 10-minute trainings on Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Chrome and other apps like Slides, Sheets and Forms. Use the self-paced trainings to become proficient, or plan to attend trainings in person.

Not sure of where to start in learning about Google?

Past Editions of TEACHnology Today:

September 24, 2015: Google Calendar Added to Google Classroom—How to Share Yours, Google Chrome Extensions Explained, 4 Great Chrome Extensions—Share to Classroom, Synergyse, Read&Write, and Fluency Tutor

September 30, 2015: Failing Forward and "First Attempt In Learning," Getting Started with Technology Integration by using the TPaCK Model, "In the Classroom" highlight featuring Gloriann Heikes' 21st Century room redesign and a Twitter handle collection form so that we can build an ISD 423 Professional Learning Network!

October 19, 2015: Intro to Quia for Assessment and Review Games, Digital Citizenship Week Educator Guide, Gmail Migration Training Materials, Google Apps for Education for Elementary Students, and This Week in the Classroom with Nesha Withers and Rochelle Drahos

November 1, 2015: Getting Started with Google, Working With Google and Outlook Calendars, Using Newsela for Current Events and Literacy, and This Week in the Classroom with Krista Picha

November 18, 2015: Thankful Turkeys with ImageChef.com, 3 Digital Learning Goals for 2015-16, A Google Classroom Webinar, and This Week in the Classroom with Troy Higgins and Ross Wendling

December 3, 2015: Cool Tool: Nearpod, Formative Assessment or Formative Learning?, Tech Tools for Formative Learning, Google and Data Privacy, and Classroom Management in a BYOD Environment