Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Formative Assessment and Google Forms

Formative assessment informs educators about student learning, and when done correctly, it also informs the students how to improve and move forward with their next goal. Teachers must know how to use the data to drive their instruction.


Formative Data by Tracy Watanabe - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Gleaning results from the data and providing specific feedback must be timely, which is why I like using Google Forms (along with other tools).

Why Google Forms

While there's a plethora of tools that can be used to collect formative data, I am going to focus on Google Forms.

Google Forms is an awesome time saver for collecting data in surveys, assignments, mindsets, exit tickets, etc. It aggregates the data collected into a Google Spreadsheet, and gives me a summary of the data in nice graphs as well.

For example, below is a Google Form used by a high school teacher. He told me that this tool is a time saver because he can quickly see which questions his classes have mastered and which questions need more attention. Question #6 below is an example of a question that merits more time.


Examples

Below are a plethora of examples of formatives through Google Forms. You can choose which content area you'd like to look at. There is also an area that isn't content specific.


Click here to view the examples.

Differentiated Google Forms Tutorial

Below is a tutorial for creating Google Forms. It is differentiated for your experience and comfort level.


Click here to view the tutorial.

Final thoughts

It took me a little time to learn how to use Google Forms because change takes time. However, it was well worth it because it helps me easily and quickly collect data.

After data is collected and organized, I can decide what the next appropriate steps are. It might mean I change my lesson plans and add more pre-teaching and reteaching opportunities along with enriching because that's what the data reveals. It helps me to quickly address students' needs and provide them with specific feedback.
  • What data do you collect? Why do you collect that data? How does it drive instruction?
  • What are some new ideas you gained from this post?
  • What ideas would you add or challenge?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Introduction to iPads iOS 7: Part 1--Hardware

How does a teacher start to use iPads in the classroom? This post will include the basics for getting started. Part 1 focuses on the hardware fundamentals with iOS 7, while Part 2 focuses on iPad integration in the classroom.

Hardware basics
  • Turning on / off the iPad: Hold the sleep button for five seconds until you see the apple appear on the screen to turn it on. To power down, hold the sleep button for five seconds, then  "slide to power off."

  • Putting the iPad to sleep: Press the sleep button. To wake it up, press either the sleep button or the home button. Use this feature to save the battery or to have students' full attention.
  • Open an app: Tap once on the app you would like to open. If it is not on the first page, you can swipe through the pages with your finger to look for it. If you have many apps/pages, then you can find it with the Spotlight search. Just go to your Home screen by pressing the home button, and swipe down from the middle of the screen, then the search field will appear.
  • Typing: The onscreen keyboard appears when a blinking cursor is observable. Place your finger where you want to type to move the cursor to that spot. Double-tap the spacebar to insert a period (including the space and the shift for the capital letter of the next sentence). To insert numbers, go to the number and symbol keyboard by pressing the number and symbol keyboard key.

  • Scrolling: To scroll up or down a page, drag two fingers up or down the iPad.
  • Zooming and shrinking: To zoom in, place two fingers on the iPad and stretch them apart. To shrink what is on the iPad, place two fingers on it, then pinch or pull them together.
  • Cut, copy, or paste: To cut or copy text, highlight the word or words first. To highlight, double-tap a word, then use the blue circle bracket to pull to the beginning of the desired text to highlight, and the ending circle bracket to the end of the text. Then tap copy or cut. Tap finger at desired placement to paste text. Hold finger in place to see text under a magnifying glass. In case of mistake, simply shake iPad to undo.
  • Screenshot: To create a screenshot, press the sleep button and the home button simultaneously. It will save in the Camera Roll album (see icon below).
Camera Roll icon
  • Saving images: To save an image, hold finger on image until "Save Image" or "Copy" choices appear. Then select "Save Image" to store it in the Camera Roll album.
  • Exiting apps: To minimize an app, tap the home button. To completely exit the app, double-tap the home button to view opened apps. Flick the app up to close it. Scroll through the list of running apps by swiping to the next page.
  • Basic care for iPad: Use dry microfiber cloth to clean the iPad. Don't use cleaning products or compressed air. See Tip #9 for more information. Keep iPad (especially the charging doc) dry. 
  • Troubleshooting tips: If the iPad does not respond correctly, 1) check battery to see if it needs to be charged; 2) close apps that are minimized and running in the background (see "exiting apps" above); 3) shut down iPad normally, then restart it; 4) check how much available storage is left and if it's getting close to running out, take off some apps, pictures, video, or songs; or 5) if all else fails, try a hard reboot by holding the sleep button and the home button simultaneously for approximately ten seconds, let go once the Apple logo appears.

Final thoughts

There are more tips for using the hardware, but the above includes the basics for getting started. For more details, click here to download a PDF of the iPad iOS 7 User Guide, or see Tips for iPads in Classroom.

In my experience, learning how to use an iPad is easier than other devices I've introduced to teachers and students. I'd like to hear about your experiences with it.
  • How easy/difficult was it for you or your students to learn how to use an iPad?
  • What would you add to this list? 
  • What questions do you still have?
Note: This post was originally published in January of 2013, and has been updated with iOS 7 information.