EDTC 6431: Learning Tool Exploration 4 – Surveymonkey

For my fourth learning tool exploration I decided to take a look at surveymonkey. Surveymonkey is a website designed to help users create their own surveys or use existing surveys. It is free to sign up, though the free version only allows for 10 questions and 100 responses per survey and is limited to the customizable features of the appearance of the actual survey. There are other versions for a monthly fee that has much more features and capabilities than the free version.

Surveymonkey Homepage

What I valued most about this website is the ease it was to create and view surveys. I was able to put together a quick “my favorites” survey that could be used as an introduction activity to get to know my future students. It is not limited to surveys, as one could create a test using the same formats. Again, the only down side of this is that the free version only allows for 10 questions. So the survey or quiz would have to be on the shorter side but definitely doable especially for a review quiz or an exit slip type quiz. The other aspect I thought was especially neat was the multiple methods to distribute the surveys. You can distribute the surveys via web link, email, put in on your website, and on facebook. Another feature I valued is surveymonkey will collect the responses and will also analyze the results in various ways.

"My Favorite" Survey

I love the idea to create my own surveys and questionnaires that I can use in the classroom and also send out to parents. Surveymonkey also has example surveys like teacher feedback which can be used for parent insight. One way I can especially see myself using this tool is through creating surveys before and after specific units or lessons. This would be an easy and anonymous way to gather insight on student prior knowledge, as well as what students have learned. Also this could be used to ask students what they enjoyed, disliked, or thought was difficult about the unit or lesson.

Sample Survey

I did not find this tool difficult or challenging to use. I can see it being a tool for students to even use to create their own surveys to gather results. This could very well tie into a mathematical lesson involving gathering data, making graphs, and analyzing the information. Again the only frustrating thing about this tool is the limited capabilities with the free version. Having the ability to only create 10 questions can be a difficult hurdle to overcome. I do think hat limiting the number of questions can also be viewed as an advantage. Individuals creating the surveys will have to put more time and thought into what questions are really necessary for the survey. It may get rid of lengthy surveys that seem to drag on forever and long surveys may not be appropriate especially for elementary aged students. Overall, I see this tool to be useful and very easy to incorporate in my teaching practices.

https://www.surveymonkey.com

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EDTC 6431: Learning Tool Exploration 3 – Slideshare

For my third learning tool exploration I decided to take a look at slideshare. Slideshare is an online community where the user can share their presentations, documents, PDF’s, videos, and webinars. Slideshare is free to sign up but does offer a “pro” version for an additional fee. On slideshare you can upload your presentations either publicly of privately and download or view presentations shared by other users.

Slideshare home page:

Slideshare Main Page

What I valued most about this tool is the ease to use and the ability to share your own presentations. As a teacher I can upload my documents and power point presentations on slideshare where students could refer to. I can simply give the students my user name and then students will have access to any presentations I have shared on slideshare. This can be extremely useful for students who may be slower at taking notes or maybe needed a reminder on a certain presentation. Students can also print off slides or lectures prior to class which will help in note taking. Instead of emailing students presentations or notes, simply stating that all my documents are on slideshare will save the hassle of trying to get the documents out.

Sample of a shared lesson:

Sample Lesson

Another great feature about the tool is the ability to search for presentations shared by other users. Many of the presentations are sample lessons, teaching tools, and workshops taught. As a teacher these presentations shared by others will help me continue to learn about various topics as well as provide supplemental materials that could be used in my classroom.

Sample of a search result:

Sample Search Results

The one feature I wished it had is a more detailed organizational method. Currently, the user can organize by presentations, documents, infographics, and videos. It would make things easier for example if under presentations, you can organize those files into categories like subject or class. Other than that I find this tool extremely helpful in presenting materials in a quick and efficient manner that can be easily accessible to my students.

EDTC 6431: Learning Tool Exploration 2 – Brainscape and Flashcardlet

For my second learning tool exploration, I decided to search for something that would not only benefit myself as a teacher, but also a tool that could be utilized by my students as well. I began to search for SmartPhone applications because of the growing number of younger students who have and are able to efficiently work or play on their phones. Thinking back upon our previous modules one key aspect that continued to stand out towards me was in Module 2 about Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences.  The multiple intelligences approach should be in alignment with the individual’s stronger intelligence so that understanding and learning can come easier and be done with greater enthusiasm (Christensen, Johnson, & Horn, 2011).  I stumbled across a free application called Brainscape more specifically the flashcardlet function. Brainscape in an application that allows users to create and share your flashcards and explore the expert content Brainscape has to offer, though this content was limited. There is a free flashcardlet app as well that allows users to create simple flashcards on their SmartPhone devices. On this separate application you can download other user’s flashcards specifically for your devices as well.

Sample flashcard making

Sample flashcard making on Brainscape

What I valued most about these applications is that it provides students with another method for learning new material and is conveniently done so on their SmartPhones or tablets. I can either create my own set of flashcards for students to use or use flashcard sets already made by other users that would help students further learn the particular topic. These flashcards can be large decks in number and can include images and sounds as well. Furthermore, having flashcard decks already made for students to use will save students time. Not only can these applications be used by my students, but as teachers we need to continually learn as well. I can use these applications to study up on a topic that I may be a bit rusty on or just need to be simply reminded on key elements.

Flashcardlet

Sample flashcardlet flashcard

Some challenges with these applications are that to create any sort of flashcards with images or sounds you must do it online at Brainscape.com. It said that syncing between ones Brainscape account and Flashcardlet account will be done automatically, but I was unable to figure out how to do so. The tutorials and help online were very limited, so it was frustrating that two applications that are to compliment each other were not syncing. Additionally, with anything free comes the advertisements which is a drawback for these apps.

Another positive to both applications is the ease to storing and sharing of flashcard decks. This can be achieved through using Dropbox or emailing flashcards to the intended recipients.

Sharing via email or dropbox

Sharing via email or dropbox

One of the challenging things with any sort of SmartPhone or tablet application is that not every student has access to these types of technology. This application is currently only available for iPad, iPhone, and iTouch. I think that Flashcardlet can be a great tool for students to learn and study about any topic and they can conveniently do so wherever as long as they have the device. Brainscape seemed more geared towards older students or for teachers but the flashcardlet app could be beneficial for younger students wanting to use flashcards on their devices.

https://www.brainscape.com/

Christensen, C., Johnson, C.W., & Horn, M.B. (2011). Disrupting class: how disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns (kindle). McGraw-Hill.

EDTC 6431: Learning Tool Exploration – Edmodo

The tool that I decided to take a look at was Edmodo. I choose to do my learning tool exploration on Edmodo because the site is free and has many similarities to Facebook. Students are able to plug into their school’s network that will allow them access to the teacher’s messages and assignments. Teachers and students alike are able to customize their profile including common information, profile picture, and groups or communities they are a part of. Teachers can create a group for one specific class. For this reason I felt that it could be an easy tool where students could easily grasp and learn how to use it. One of the main things I valued about this tool is that the teachers are at the center of this network that can connect them to students, administrators, and parents. Most importantly on Edmodo, teachers and students can collaborate, share content, and use educational applications to enhance classroom learning. Students can share their thoughts and opinions but it is monitored by the teachers to ensure a safe learning environment. Since social media is all around us, because of this I feel that there are not many challenges with using Edmodo. Most of us have a Facebook account, and Edmodo is just as simple and easy to use as Facebook. I feel that students and teachers could easily adapt and incorporate Edmodo in current curriculum practices.

Edmodo Profile

A couple of useful features that stuck out were the ability to create quizzes, polls, and a class calendar. Quizzes can be customized by having a set time limit and questions can be randomized for teach student taking the quiz. Edmodo even has its own grade book where test or assignment scores can be added. These grades can be accessed by parents as there is a parent code on each students account. This code allows for parents to observe and monitor what or how their child is performing. Polls are another valuable aspect to Edmodo. Teachers and students can create any sort of polls from favorite foods to what book they should read as a class next. These polls are done unanimously to ensure utmost privacy for a student’s selection. Having an online calendar is another method to reach out towards parents and students to ensure that important dates or information is available. I feel that in an elementary classroom setting using Edmodo could be very beneficial. Not only can parents monitor and see their students’ progress but can see upcoming events on the calendar. Likewise, there are many things appealing aspects to elementary aged students such as the ability to earn badges. There are so many aspects to Edmodo that it can become a useful tool for teachers, parents, and students. The possibilities seem endless for this social network specific for classroom use. In the couple of hours I have spent navigating the site, I feel that I have only touched upon a small portion of the capabilities this site allows.

http://www.edmodo.com