Friday, January 30, 2015

Edcite - Create Online Assessment Opportunities for Your Students

With SBAC on the horizon the stress level is high on teachers who have concerns about giving the students testing scenarios that model the tech skills they will need to be successful with the new tests.  Edcite is a great solution for this.

There are multiple ways of using this resource.  The simplest is to reuse or modify an already created assignment from the site which are easily found using filters and search terms based on topics, CCSS, and/or grade level.  Once saving the assignment to your own personal library you can quickly send out an assignment through a URL to students to take and gather data on.  Students will not need an edcite account to utilize the site this way.   Students must finish the assignment in one sitting in this scenario.

The second scenario is to create a class and assign username and passwords to the students.  The benefit of this is having the ability to quickly assign and have the assignment appear in the students' accounts.  It also would allow for a student to start an assignment, leave for the day, and then relog into the assignment and finish at a later time.

Both ways will track data for the teacher that gives the assignment.  Assignments are automatically graded outside of the open ended, which the teacher will go in and self grade.  Teachers can create their own questions and own assignments aligned with the curriculum that they are working on.

Why do online assessments and assignments?  Edcite allows the students to have experiences with the different questioning styles that they will experience in the SBAC.  For example, open ended, drag and drop, make a line on a grid, etc... The more online reading and writing opportunities students are given the opportunity to do, the less "lack of tech experience" will impact their performance when they are assessed in the spring.  Free and usable from Kinder to 12th grade, this resource is well worth your time!  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Epic! - Thousands of Books for Kids

One awesome aspect of a tablet, such as an iPad, is the ability to have one device containing many books.  However, the challenge is finding the books.

Epic, an iDevice app which is free for teachers and librarians, contains thousands of titles which can be accessed by students using a variety of filters such as age level of reader and interest.  Formats include books that are read to students, books for early readers, and extensive chapter books.

As students read books, they can be awarded badges and obtain new themes to use with the app.

Once you set up your teacher account, you can create profiles for students on one iPad.  This is great if you have students sharing one iPad.  Epic keeps track of what students have read under each profile as well as providing a list of titles tailored to the students interest. Note: when setting up these profiles each account will be asked to confirm via a parent email address.

If you are in a one to one environment where each student has their own iPad, or iPod, then they would be fine using the guest profile.

Be sure to sign up as an educator when you first open the app.  You will need to complete an online form submitting your educational information such as school, grade, and email.

You may consider creating your account online at, then download the app and begin your reading adventures.  The online site allows you to browse through titles, but reading the books is done via the app.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Google Classroom Releases Their iPad App

Google Classroom released an iDevice app, available for both the iPad and iPhone. Requires IOS 7 or higher.

The app interface to Google Classroom is very similar to the online interface.  This should be an easy transition. One difference is when posting, find and use the plus down in the lower right hand corner.

What I like about the app is you can add photos from your camera roll to include on any post.

I also like the ability to switch classroom accounts by clicking an icon.  This will come in useful in scenarios where there are multiple students sharing an iPad in a classroom.