There have been various opportunities at MSS this year for technology growth. 

Inservice opportunties were available on “PowerPoint,” “Website Creation,” “WebQuests,” and “Social Bookmarking.”  A three-day inservice given by a leader from Carroll County Public Schools was given with an emphasis in technology integration in math and science.  Teachers from our school were represented at the Technology Showcase for the Archdiocese on March 3, 2008.  Most recently a group of teachers and Principal JoAnne Goecke have participated in a MSDE course hosted at our school through Title II funds. 

Some highlights are as follows:

Congratulations to those who have created a ClassJump site for your classroom website!  This allows each teacher to update the site at anytime without having to wait for the busy website administrator to upload.  Thanks to Sophie for doing an inservice on website creation.

Kudos to the members of the MSDE course.  Many have noted the benefits of the Microsoft Excel sources and Sharepoint.   

 

Maryland Teacher Technology Standards are standards that all Maryland Teachers are to be accountable for when teaching.  They are listed as follows:

1.  Information Access, Evaluation, Processing, and Application

2.  Communication

3.  Legal, Social, and Ethical Issues

4.  Assessment for Administration and Instruction

5.  Integrating Technology into the Curriculum and Instruction

6.  Assistive Technologies

7.  Professional Growth

All entries in this blog have tags to the standards which can be found in the tag cloud on the left tool bar.  For example, if looking for assistive technologies go to MTTS 6.  If searching for ideas to integrate into instruction go to MTTS 5.  To be aware of legal issues such as copyright, go to MTTS 3. 

For more detailed information, click the link above to the Maryland Teacher Technology Standards.  The site lists indicators and videos of sample projects that demonstrate each standard. 

There are many assistive technology tools that will help convert text to speech.  The following ones have many capabilities that would be beneficial to students who need auditory help when reading.  Often literature selections from the basal readers have CDs that are used to assist students, but there are not the same tools available when reading other text.  Now it is possible to take written directions to tests or quizzes, picture books, novels, student writing, website, PDF, or any text and convert it to speech with these helpful technology tools. 

Read Please is a free text-to-speech download.  If there is a PDF, this site can help convert it to speechOpen source software is software that can be used for free.  Just go to the “search for software.”

For more assistive technology, visit the del.icio.us account by clicking on the link on the left toolbar. 

Blabberize is a Web 2.0 tool that can help take any photo and make it talk!  After creating a free account, use your voice or your students’ voices and a picture of your choice.  Just follow the easy instructions on the Blabberize site to line up the talking points on the photo. 

Tools needed are:  a microphone, possibly a digital camera, or saved photos.  If you have access to a flickr account, use those from creative commons or from other copyright safe photo galleries.  Click on the top del.icio.us link on the left toolbar for more photo or clipart sites that are copyright safe.  Make sure to have parental permission before using students’ voices or photos!

Ideas of using it in the classroom:  Math–problem of the day, Language Arts–book talk, Social Studies–famous talking head, Science–explain a science experiment, Religion–prayer recitation.  The possibilities are only limited by your imagination! 

Other helpful hints:  use photos that are large enough to add a mouth that talks, use photos that have an image that is facing forward (profile shots do not work well), and use a loud voice with no background noise when recording. 

Check out the Blabberize example done by a lively MSS student.  Who is the prairie dog doing math?

Free Rice  is a site that has been featured in People magazine.  The site will donate rice to the UN World Food Program for answers students get correct to vocabulary questions.  It works well on the interactive whiteboard for whole class use.  Students get addicted to it because they are not just doing school work but helping others. 

 

The vocabulary levels get progressively harder as the student gets more answers correct.  The vocabulary words probably best suit grades 4-8.  However, there are multiple choice selections and it has sound clips that pronounce each word which is great for auditory learners or students with special needs. 

 

The more obvious subjects that this works well with are Language Arts (Vocabulary Development) and Religion (Corporal Works of Mercy).  However, Mathematics can also be stressed as each correct answer is 20 grains of rice.  Students can keep a tally of rice donated.

 

What a great concept!  Help the students’ vocabulary and help the world at the same time! 

 

Online survey generators and quiz makers can be used as assessment tools.  All of the ones listed below have “free” options. 

These are some online quiz generators:  QuizletQuizstar Easy Test Maker, and Quizcenter

Quizlet is a free online vocabulary assessment tool.  Each student must make a free account which requires a valid email address.  Once signed up, teachers create vocabulary word lists that students can study online in a variety of formats including games.  Advantages are Quizlet can create randomly generated tests for each student.  Therefore, this is a benefit to students sitting next to each other in a computer lab situation.  Just have the students print out their results by “checking answers” as it does not have the option of showing all data of each student to the teacher online.  However, Quizlet does tell you with which word the most students are having difficulty.  Disadvantages include the instant messenger feature which does not easily disable.  Quizlet does not make bar graphs or show results in a statistical format. 

Quiz Star is free for only a 60 day trial period.  After that, subscriptions start at $2.50 a month.  You can create randomized quizzes for multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions.   Quizzes can have a time limit and teachers can be notified by email when a student completes a quiz.  After the students take the online quiz, they are graded automatically.  Students can receive teacher feedback.  The results can be viewed by class (if you have multiple classes), by student, or by question.  You can take the results and save in an Excel file or print out.

EasyTestMaker is a free online test generator.  You can upgrade to a “Plus” edition which has more options by subscribing.  However, the basic quizzes of multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, matching, short answer, and true/false are all available on the same free assessment.  You can add instructions and divide the test into multiple sections.  There is no limit to how many quizzes/tests you make and print out.  Disadvantages include no results are given in statistical format and students do not take the assessment online. 

           Quiz Center is from Discovery online.  Teachers can create a variety of quizzes with the following formats:  short answer, true/false, essay, multiple choice, or a combination of these formats.  A benefit of this service is that graphics can be uploaded into the quiz for questions needing visuals.  The quiz is automatically graded and the results that are logged for each student include the time the student begins, the time the student finishes the quiz, and the final score.  Beyond that, there is no statistical representation of results.

 

These are some survey generator websites:  www.surveymonkey.com, www.zoomerang.com, and www.polldaddy.com.

SurveyMonkey is a free service when you create ten questions or less.  In order to have more questions, you have to pay for the service.  However, you can create as many surveys as you would like.  (So, the bottom line is if you wanted to do more questions, you would just have to send the students more than one survey).  There are more than a dozen question types from multiple choice, drop-down ratings, fill-in-the-blank text boxes, essay, and more.  You can distribute the survey to as many students as you want through email or by the link provided to your survey.  It is very colorful which will grab student attention and it is easy for teachers to create surveys.  Results are given in percentages and graph format. 

Zoomerang is a free service limited to 100 responses per survey and a maximum 30 questions per survey.  Surveys may be created from template or from scratch.  The survey response can be viewed for up to ten days.  Results are given in graph format and are limited to mainly percentages.  It shows individual and whole group data on separate result pages.     

PollDaddy is free service that allows you to create polls or surveys.  There are eleven questions types to choose from.  You can post 10 questions per survey with 100 survey respondents allowed per survey.  Results for polls are given in circle and bar graph forms as well as percentages.  Results for surveys are given for individual and whole class in graph form.  Speed of how long the survey took to complete for each person is recorded.

An example of a quick poll creator is Polldaddy.  Students can elicit responses as motivation or introduction to a topic.   Students could create their own polls for a book discussion or other group discussions.  Just click on “Take Our Poll” for an example. 
surveysTake Our Poll

Below is an example of a recent Lenten activity completed at MSS by fifth graders.  Students were individually assigned a “Station of the Cross” to photograph from the hallways and then add a caption.  This was a very basic slideshow completed entirely by the students.  Photos were not cropped, however, this would have been an improvement to the slideshow.  There are other various options of Web 2.0 tools to make a slideshow.  So far, the following sites look to be the most interesting: 

 http://www.onetruemedia.com/ 

http://www.myplick.com/

http://www.scrapblog.com/

http://www.spresent.com/v2/

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Evaluation Project

Teachers involved in my "Evaluation Project," please visit the "Assessment" Category (found on the left toolbar) for all resources. Thank you for all of your help in this endeavor!