Saturday, April 23, 2016
I have come to an awkward realization. My love of educational technology needs to include a watch at the top of the list. Why? Simply, because students do not see the value in a watch and most do not own one. They use cell phones, instead. But, a watch may be the most important item they put on during practice and testing days.
Two years ago, I offered extra credit to students who would wear a watch for a practice Timed AP test. This year, the students who don't wear watches simply snicker. But, they are also the students with lower ACT and AP scores. I, too, use a smartphone. I tend to wear a watch for cosmetic reasons.
But, when attempting to stay on time during a test, I need to use my watch.
Last year, universities in several countries began banning all types of watches during entrance exams. And, yet, it is not the time to abandon our watches. I was taught not to rely on a clock, but to use my watch to ensure that I was using my time wisely. Yes, I understand that many tests are now online. A timer starts when the test begins and stops the test when time is over. But, I still insist that teaching students to use their time wisely is a critical test prep skill. It is all too easy to spend more time on one passage or question than needed. As Mick Jagger sang, "Time is on my side, yes it is." Time can also be on our students' side if they are taught the value of a watch for testing purposes.
Why do schools not provide watches to students? A watch can easily be purchased for $20 or less. Schools tend to purchase $200 calculators instead. For Tiger parents desiring the latest in Testing Technology, for less than $40, there is an ACT/SAT Testing Timer can help students practice and test with confidence.
"Knowing exactly how to pace yourself throughout the test is crucial, and using the watch is the easiest way to do that. My students stay calm knowing that they are on track.(...)To me, that says it all.”
-Linda Larson, Director and Tutor, SAT Prep Sandpoint
Of course, I continue to use and recommend a wide variety of software, hardware, and apps that can help my students. They particularly enjoy apps that can be utilized on their phone. If it is on their phone, they are more likely to practice, study, and remember than if low tech versions are shared.
It is only a matter of time before all phones are banned in testing rooms. It is difficult to tell the difference between a watch and a smart watch. But, in the meantime, I will advocate for my students to purchase an inexpensive watch for test prep and testing situations.
Suzanne M. Rogers, M.Ed
Friday, April 8, 2016
I'll be honest, as an English teacher, I have not been particularly interested in the gamification of education despite the prevalence of information on the topic.
While our students do use online platforms, the gamification is aimed directly at the students by differentiating for each student. This week, I tried out Quizlet-LIVE Beta. This is gamification that interests me. WOW!
Our district created individual Quizlets for all of our 6-12 ELA vocabulary words in our Pearson curriculum. All of our teachers have access to the Quizlets and can add them to their account very easily. Games, Tests, and printable flash cards are just a few of the capabilities built into Quizlet.
I'm especially enthralled with the idea that Quizlet was created by a 15-year-old! Quizlet's mission is stated on their website.
"Every person on earth deserves access to free, powerful, and inspiring learning tools - and our mission is to build them."
Yes! I applaud Andrew Sutherland for this mission statement! Even better, there is an app for Quizlet. Students can appear to be playing a game, but instead, actually be working on classwork.
Quizlet Introductory Video
Quizlet-LIVE allows the teacher to share their Quizlets with the world and invite anyone to join in a game. How fun is that? Essentially, the LIVE version enables students to collaboratively study while playing a game against their classmates in LIVE time. The teacher selects a Quizlet, creates the game (minimum of 6 players), provides the 6 digit code for the game, students enter the code and their name. Once everyone is listed, the teacher clicks start. LIVE encourages ACCURACY over SPEED. IF a team answers incorrectly, the team loses all of their points. Very empowering moment! The teacher can narrate the progress of the game. I like that the collaboration of team members is built into the game. I like that I can resort the students with each new game. Students who are homebound or on a field trip could still participate if they have the game code.
If you are interested in our Quizlets or in having our classes collaborate with each other using Quizlet-LIVE please contact me! Want to view our Quizlets? https://quizlet.com/aprogers
Suzanne M. Rogers, M.Ed
Proven to go the extra mile while striving for academic excellence.