Using new technologies in Geography

Back in January I ran part of a training session for a local network of Geography teachers. The main session was taken by Jason Swale from ESRI UK looking at the fantastic ArcGIS and the ways in which it can be used to successfully integrate GIS into the curriculum, particularly in light of the new GCSE and A’level specifications. Prior to this I did a short 30 minute session exploring some of the ways in which new technologies can be utilised in the teaching and learning of Geography, drawing particularly on some of our experiences in the ways we use it in my department at St Ivo School. Here is the presentation summarising the key ideas discussed during the session.

In case it is useful you can download the handout of links I gave out on the evening here to help explore some of the ideas covered in more detail.

Imvoto – student response system – using mobile devices to assess learning

ImvotoImvoto is another very useful system enabling immediate assessment of learning to enable teachers to quickly intervene where required to help students progress, tackle misconceptions and move learning on.

This is definitely one to have a look at – you can easily write your own questions to assess your class and students can use a variety of devices to take the assessments, mobiles, tablets or desktops. Questions can also be differentiated depending on student responses.  A particularly useful aspect of this tool is that as well as writing your own questions you can share your questions and also discover and use other teachers questions. Another benefit is the ability to include a range of media in your questions, including audio, video, images or LaTex.

Here is a quick introduction video:

There is also an excellent dedicated Imvoto Youtube channel with an excellent collection of videos providing a guide to creating assessments, interrogating data etc.

PingPong – free app for Question and Answer – great for AFL

PingPongI’ve just come across PingPong, a great little free app which looks like it has lots of potential! I haven’t had chance to try this yet but I think with the revision season to begin in full flow on our return to school this could be really useful. Questions can be created on the spot and students access the ‘ROOM’ through use of a simple room code. Questions are set and realtime responses given. Questions can be multiple choice, true or false or up to 40 character responses or annotated diagrams can be sent by students. The app can be linked to Evernote to export responses. It has a very simple interface and seems to do ‘as it says on the tin’ rather than having lots of extras but the beauty of the app is likely to be the simplicity of use. For schools with 1:1 ipads or where all students have access to some form of electronic device this looks like it could be a useful additional app for the response system toolkit!

There is quick introduction video which gives an overview here:

QUICK FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT – The Quick Key App

USING NEW TECHNOLOGIES TO UNDERTAKE QUICK FORMATIVE ASSESSEMENT

QuickKeyContinued formative assessment is an integral part of the work in our classroom and with the continuous development of new technologies there are various excellent apps and sites which can support staff with different types of assessment. One of my favourite tools is the Quick Key app.

Assessment of pupil progress in Quick Key enables quick assessment by using your mobile or tablet as a scanner which instantly marks students answers saving you time grading the papers which can be used instead to provide feedback and support student progress by identifying and tackling areas of weakness in knowledge and understanding. This allows you to focus your time on the students and doesn’t require students to have access to technology as the answers are completed on paper!

The short video below demonstrates Quick Key in action:

So how does Quick Key work?

You simply need to sign up on the website for a free account. Once your account is set up you can start adding students. This can be done manually or by importing student lists, for example as a .csv file. Once you have imported students you can then create classes and allocate students to the relevant classes.

You are then ready to create a Quiz – this can be up to 30 questions. You can insert your question and make it clear on your quiz, which of the answers is the correct one (i.e. multiple choice).  In terms of running the quiz you can read the questions out to the students and the options or have them on powerpoint slides.

In our department I have opted to create a quiz format sheet which has the questions by the side and the possible answers by the questions (where I am not using all the possible multiple choice options boxes are blanked out). 

Quick Key ticketStudents simply fill the answers in on the ‘exit ticket’ which can be downloaded from the site. I have incorporated this into the base of our quiz sheets.

Each student is allocated an ID number which they must add to their exit ticket. Once students have completed their tests, you can use the QK app on your phone or tablet to quickly scan each paper and the marks will be allocated to the relevant student. I have marked a set of 30 students in less than 2 minutes before!

I am particularly using this at the moment for frequent assessment of Year 10 and 11 students. The answers are marked within seconds so I can give students feedback within minutes which makes the whole process more useful. I then either go through the questions with the students and their papers and the just highlight the answer to the questions they got wrong or if at the end of the lesson I do this for them as my ‘marking’.

Results are saved for each students for each task so you can easily build up a continuous record of assessment – useful for a quick snapshot of student progress in between more extended end of unit tests.

Quick Key Export ShotThere are various options for exporting your results and you can also analyse your results e.g. by sorting according to mark (highest to lowest etc.)

Quick Key Screen Shots 1

 

Once you have created your classes and quizzes they are located easily on the Quick Key dashboard. You can easily re-use and assign quizzes to different classes and in our department we are working together to build a bank of department Quick Key assessments.

A more detailed account of the stages can be found on the excellent Sandagogy site here

Support Screen Shot

 

One of the things I have been really impressed with this tool is the level of support and commitment from the developers who will help whenever they can and are consistently looking to maximise and develop the app further. One of the founders, Walter Duncan (@4_teachers), an ex-teacher (who has only recently left the classroom after 15 years, to concentrate on the app) is full of enthusiasm and with a background in teaching he knows exactly what teachers need and how we can best help our students. The website has a support centre to request support including FAQ and a new Help Centre. The founders are however also keen to build up a community of users and there is a growing Quick Key Forum. There are many educationalists on twitter who are also sharing resources and ideas on the use of Quick Key in the classroom context. Likewise there is also a dedicated Quick Key Support twitter feed 

 

A few of us in the Geography community have been sharing quizzes through Anthony Bennett’s “Internet Geography” site and the examples of these quizzes can be found here, including a copy of the template I designed for our department. http://www.geography.learnontheinternet.co.uk/quickkey.htmlExample QuickKey

A guide on how to create an assessment using Quick Key guide can be found here
http://www.geography.learnontheinternet.co.uk/QKresources/quikkeyguide.pdf

Simon Renshaw has also done some very interesting work looking at the use of hinge questions and the QuickKey app and his findings are here http://srenshaw.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/evaluating-the-use-of-hinge-questions-and-the-quick-key-app/      

There is a Quick key facebook page so you can share with other colleagues  you think might be interested and remember, you can download the quickkey app from the itunes app store – full details available here.  

Use of Random Generators – thoughts..

My last blog post was looking at the use of random name generators as a way of helping to engage students and elicit responses from all students rather than the simple use of hands-up. Having just participated in some discussion with colleagues, whilst it is recognised that random name generators can be very useful in many situations, one issue raised is that they don’t allow for differentiation if you ask a question first and then use the random generator to select a student. Just as using a random generator wont be appropriate in all situations anyway, the way you use the generator is important, depending on the desired outcome. Randomly generating the name and then ‘tailoring’ the question to differentiate as necessary is one way (in this instance one of the more discrete generators such as the “No Hands” student selector might be appropriate). You could also put key terms into a generator rather than names so the generator will randomly select a key term and you then ‘differentiate’ by who you might select in the class to define the key term (or answer a question related to it). This would still maintain engagement as all students would be more likely to consider the meaning of the term whilst waiting for you to select a student to answer the question.

Random Key Term

Showbie – an app for collecting, reviewing and annotating student work.

Showbie is an app which lets you distribute assignments to your students (with associated instructions and resources) through the creation of classes which your students can join and log into. Students can then submit their work through showbie which keeps everything organised together. It is possible then to add annotations, voice notes and text feedback directly onto students work for them to pick up. A colleague is currently using this successfully with their Year 13 class and I am looking forward to giving this a go and exploring its potential!

The video below provides a summary of how Showbie works.

 

There are a number of options for Showbie – from a free teacher account and a free school account through to Showbie Pro (a paid option for schools) and more details can be found here.

Stick Pick – App for supporting questioning in the classroom

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This is an app that I am just start to play around with for my GCSE and VI form groups to help me look more at questioning. You can set up a class and each student has a named ‘virtual’ lollipop stick. When you create the students stick you can allocate this stick a question stem mode (Bloom’s, Bloom’s Revised or ELS) and level of difficulty (e.g. knowledge / comprehension/ analysis etc.). There is also an option to just create the stick with no question specifically attached if you just want to use it as a random way of selecting students. It is possible once a student has been selected once to set their stick as used so it wont be added back in the can and they wont be picked again that session.

If you have set the stick to have a question stem mode, each time the student’s stick is drawn you will be given over a dozen questions (e.g. related to Bloom’s Taxonomy) these will be tied to the learner’s individual ability level which you will have set when you allocated each student a stick.

This video gives a quick overview of some of the functionality.

As you can see on the video the app gives you the options to use Blooms or ESL (English as a second language), therefore Questions can be linked to cognitive / linguistic needs.  You can set up multiple cans (classes) filled with sticks (students).

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If you want to take it further you can track formative assessment for each question. On asking a question, by clicking ‘assess’ by the students name, you can then select a corresponding correct, incorrect, or opinion button based on the student’s answer. On the basis of your selection you then also have option to rate the answer.

There are aspects of this you wouldn’t necessarily want to be showing on the board at all times – for example the assessment you make for a student wouldn’t necessarily be suitable to share with all students – but you don’t have to use the assessment part at all – indeed I think I am going to be able to make good use of just the ‘random’ selection tool and the question stems.ng a question by clicking ‘assess’ by the students name, you can then select a corresponding correct, incorrect, or opinion button based on the student’s answer. On the basis of your selection you then also have option to rate the answer.

There is another video here with a teacher review of the app.