Playing Kahoot is a popular way to do something fun for a while. There's some competition and laughter at the same time as it is educational. It is now possible to assign a Kahoot that lasts a week and where the students can play as many times as they want. This is a fun way to create some activity in the corridors or assign their homework in a different way.
Create a "Kahoot of the week"
If you have never created a Kahoot before, it may be a good idea to first read the post "Create a Kahoot":
Click here to read it
When you are comfortable with how it works, you can proceed and create a Kahoot that lasts a little longer. When you have found or created the Kahoot you want to use, press "Play". You now get two choices where you can select "teach" or "assign". If you select "teach", your Kahoot will start immediately and you can play in the classroom. If you select "assign", you can make different choices of how you want your Kahoot to be played.
At the top, you choose which date and which time your Kahoot will end, that is when the winner will be crowned. After that, you can choose whether the students should get unlimited time on each question or if you want the add a stress-factor to the game.
The "personalized learning" function means that students must repeat their incorrect answers before the Kahoot is completely finished.
"Randomize question order" is a smart function that allows the answers to be displayed in a different order every time the student plays. This is a plus when the students are supposed to play several times because it means that they can not just memorize that "B is the correct answer to question 4".
"Nickname generator" means that Kahoot creates names for the students and it can be a good thing at a distance learning and the teacher does not fully know what the students are writing in the "nickname-box". This is a good way to avoid getting inappropriate "names" or texts.
When you have finished with the settings, press "create" and you will now see a page with a link and a pin code for your Kahoot. The link is easy to copy and send by email or paste into a learning platform.
Check how well the students did
When the time of your Kahoot has expired, it is time to log in to kahoot.com and click "reports". You will then see all the Kahoots you have played and if you click on them, detailed statistics will appear on which questions were difficult or how well each student did.
I usually write down the name (their "nickname") of the ones who came first, second and third and write the names on the poster in the classroom. It provides a well-deserved proud feeling for how well they did!
To the blog. . .
I recently read about TeacherMade in a Facebook group and since I have already tested a plethora of similar tools, my expectations were moderate, to say the least. But I was actually pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to use and as a bonus, it was free for real (no hidden costs!). The idea behind TeacherMade is simple. It simply converts your old Word documents (or pdf's) into interactive and self-correcting documents that can be shared on a learning platform.
Once you have created your interactive document, you can click on "My worksheets". You then select "assign" in the drop-down list and you will have the choice if you want to publish the assignment in Google Classroom or if you want to send a link to the students. When the student is to work on their assignment, they are taken directly to the worksheet and can get started on their assignment.
Unfortunately there is not yet a way to collect students' results and send them on to the learning platform, but TeacherMade have promised that this function will come in October 2020. So far, as a teacher you can go back to TeacherMade and click on the assignment to see the students result.
There are plenty of great features in TeacherMade, but one thing that bothered me is that students are limited to one try on each assignment. If they try to go back to the spreadsheet, they will be met by a message that says that they has already completed the task. The teacher can unlock the exercise manually, but it feels like an unnecessary step that TeacherMade should remove. Naturally, it would be better if students could work on their assignments as many times as they wanted!
Despite this I want to give TeacherMade a very high rating! It is so easy to create different types of spreadsheets that suit different subjects and I like that TeacherMade allows me to make good use of all my old documents. For that, I love it!
Take me to TeacherMade!
When I became a computer technician in 1997 everybody was talking about different certificates. The two major ones were MCP and MCSE that was provided by Microsoft. They served as a warranty that you knew your stuff in a certain area and they can be compared with authorizations that are common in the car industry. It is now possible to become a certified teacher at Microsoft and Google and I recently received my Google certificate.
The first time I heard about THE Microsoft Certificate, I honestly thought it mostly sounded somewhat cute, but not much more than that. I thought about the extensive training that is often combined with Microsoft's certifications and I thought (stupidly enough) that this was some cute mini-variation they had created mostly for advertisement. When I started looking at the education (I wanted the cute batch!) I started to realize that this wasn't some light version after all, this was for real.
Since my municipality uses Google Education Suite instead of Microsoft Teams, I checked if Google had a certificate and they did (of course). I started to work my way through the different modules and even though there was a lot of advertising (that can not be denied!), it was also a lot of sensible and well-thought-out content about everything from different tools to security levels in the systems and recommendations for dealing with cyberbullying. It felt good that the whole education was in Swedish because even though I can communicate in every day in English, technical expressions can be difficult in your second language. To my great joy (actually!) the certification test was not so easy at all, but I passed it! I felt like it will mean more to me when it didn't come so easy, so I'm glad about that!
To help me during my studies, I found a private group on Facebook where everyone studied for the certification exams at different levels and the atmosphere in the group was really nice. You'll find the group here:
Google and Microsoft have certificates at several different levels. There are also "badges" and certificates you may be awarded with in your job, but most of them are read to and grazed by one by one. Soon you can have the wall behind your desk covered with lots of neat certificates. Just the way it usually looks at car repair shops. That's cool!
The study guide for Google Certified Educators can be found here:
The study guide for Microsoft Certified Educator can be found here:
PechaKucha is so much fun! When I tried to present the concept of PechaKucha to my colleagues, it was a bit difficult because everyone thought I would start talking about some new digital tool again. PechaKucha isn't really digital at all, it is a format for giving presentations.
This idea comes from Japan, but it has spread quickly around the world because it is so simple, fast and fun. In the original version, the speaker gets exactly 20 images that are to be displayed for 20 seconds each. That means that the presentation will last for a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds. Precisely!
When you get the chance to make a PechaKucha, it is important to choose pictures with care and to really practice what you want to say to the audience. You can not exceed the time limit and no one wants to listen to someone who is silent for even 10 seconds on each picture. In other words, practice is the key to success. In Japan, this format has become so popular that PechaKucka evenings are held with lectures on a wide variety of topics during the same evening.
Now to my students! They are a B-group studying Swedish for immigrants and they really need to get started speaking Swedish. These weeks we were having "holiday and work" as a general theme and it felt like a good time to end the theme with an oral exam with a fun twist!
I planned the project to last for two weeks and the first Monday the students got to choose 10 pictures they liked on Pixabay. At least three of them would be about their jobs or future jobs. They saved the images that they found on their Google Drive in a folder that they share with me. That way I could print them out for the students so that they could take them home to practice.
After that, they were given a piece of paper where they had to number their pictures from 1 to 10 and start writing sentences for each picture. In the B-course, the students do not have many words in Swedish, but they got to make different sentences with the words they knew. It could be "I like the forest", "it's nice in the forest", "I often walk with friends in the forest" and alike. They got the week to practice talking about their pictures and to keep the time frame of 30 seconds.
The following Monday we were back in the computer room and I talked to them about Google Slides and they got to create a presentation with their 10 pictures and put it in the folder that they share with me. When everyone had finished their presentation they got until Friday to practice.
The last step I made for them was to open their presentations and select "publish online" under the archive menu. You get to choose how long each image should be displayed and I set it to 30 seconds. A link is generated that you can put in a common Google document or, if you want to be fancy, on a nice website in Google Sites created in honour of the day.
When it was time to hold the presentations, the students worked in groups of 6-7 students each. They got one Chromebook per group and I opened a document containing everybody's presentation-links. When a student clicked on his name, the pictures began to appear 30 seconds each and it was important to remember what to say! Of course, I was kind and helped them with questions if they forgot what to say, I think it's important that presentations are fun and not mixed with horror! The first student who held a presentation seemed a little nervous, but pretty soon all of them relaxed and enjoyed the concept.
The project went super well and I will do this again in different subjects!
The idea of Plickers is similar to Kahoot, but in Plickers, each student has their own number (their tray) which allows the results to be saved over time in stylish charts. The teacher can follow a student to see how they are doing at different stages. It sounds great, but after testing I can't give Plickrs five stars and I'll explain why.
In order to create complete quizzes, the teacher needs to be a plus member and it is not free. If you are not a plus member, you can only create series with a maximum of five questions in a row, then you could instruct the program to play the series one after another without interruption, and so the students noticed no big difference. The big difference was however that as a teacher I do not get the good-looking charts. Instead, it gets quite messy.
Everything went well when we started with the exercise! The students got their badges with their own number on and then the first question showed up on the canvas. All the questions have four options; a, b, c or d. The students should take their badge and keep it so that the right option comes on top. Then I scan the whole class at once with the phone and it will record who responded in what way. The students' names are in a list next to the question and they will be marked as green when their answers are recorded, so I can see that I don't miss anyone.
It was a bit of fun, but not like "rush-in-the-stomach" exciting. In a Kahoot there is captivating music, time counts down and some cool effects. This was kind of quiet and almost tedious. When the very first wow feeling folded (and it did so after the second question) it became pretty boring.
It was fun to test Plickers once, but it's not something we're going to use again. It was a little too quiet!
Although I now work as a teacher, the librarian in me is not dead and I am happy to post book reviews as I find interesting books.
Danah Boyd has written the book "It's complicated - the social lives of networked teens" in which she describes young people's usage of social media. It's an interesting and complex world that opens up as you read the book. A lot has happened since I was a teenager, but at the same time everything is pretty much as it has always been in the world of young people.
Boyd's ambition is to describe the teenager's use of social media from their own perspective and she does it brilliantly! We get to come into a world where teens try to create their own identity, where the friends are incredibly important and where different dramas relieve each other.
First of all, Boyd wants to punch holes in the term "digital native". It is an expression sometimes used about the young generation that has grown up with digital tools and social media. She believes that the expression breathes a notion that these youngsters are born with some kind of "superpowers" when it comes to using digital devices - and they are definitely not!
On the contrary, she believes that we need to pay attention to how many young people that aren't able to keep up with the digital world and which problems many teens actually face. She describes it as a "digital divide" that has arisen between those who have access to digital resources and those who do not. When schools increasingly assume that students have the technical knowledge, it risks increasing social inequalities, something that digitalization is otherwise predicted to be able to counteract! Here, schools have a great responsibility to work against inequality and offer the same opportunities for everyone.
One more thing that Boyd contradicts is the idea that social media would increase bullying at school and that they should, therefore, be avoided. She believes that bullying is not increasing through social media at all. She believes that the posts and "attacks" that occur should rather be described as "drama" because they rarely live up to the definition of bullying. Teens write posts that are sometimes cryptic or hidden and their entire social interaction is a complex social game of "likes" and comments, but this only reflects the relationships young people have in real life and they don't change the structures that already exist.
Boyd's recommendation to teachers who want to enter social media is to get a teacher's account on social media and then let students add you as a friend. In this way, you don't get directly involved, but you give the students the opportunity to easily have contact on their terms. It's a great way to reach your students and let them reach you as a teacher. Whether you choose Facebook, Instagram or something else is up to each one.
In conclusion, I think the book was unusually readable and it opened my eyes to how complex the lives of the teens actually are. The book also made me remember my teenage years in a fun and almost embarrassing way. The secrets, the desire to be seen, the intriguing. . . . . .
It feels safe to know that after all there is not that much that has changed after all. Teens will always be teens, I guess. . . .
Today I was working on an interactive lesson on adjectives with the students. The students see a "Powerpoint" on their Chromebooks with an assignment, and there is a collaborative part included. After the session, I may see how each student solved the assignment, their answers the and how far they've got during the day. Great! . . . or is it really?!
When I look at the results something just doesn't feel right. Have we taken it too far? I wouldn't want my boss to see how I was working on my tasks, how many mistakes I have made, and how much time I've spent on every task. I'm not so sure that my students want it either. One advantage of having an old-fashioned piece of paper is that it is always private!
We need to talk about balance. On one side is the teacher who wants plenty of material for assessment and grading. On the other side is the students right to privacy. This is an important issue and I'm not so sure that more is more when it comes to supervising the students work. Not sure at all!
The students must be given a choice of what they share and what they keep to themselves, and we need to create an awareness of what is shared and what is private on the internet. I remember my notebook when I was in high school. It was mine, and I would have been furious if anyone had read it. The notebook wasn't really that personal, but I thought of it as private, it was mine! The creators of digital classroom material just want to provide the teachers with every kind of information one could ever ask for, and I believe that it must be the teachers' job to hit the breaks and start to say no sometimes. For the privacy of our students!
Isn't "drive" a verb?!
Let's start with the word "Drive". You're first thought might be that "drive" is a verb, but among nerds, it has been used as a noun for many years. It all started a long time ago when computers' screens were still black and just had a small flashing line (a prompt) where you had to type commands to get the computer to do what you wanted. The person who administered the computer needed to know quite a few different commands to make anything happened inside the computer at all. One of these commands was just "drive" used as a verb. This command woke up different attached devices so that the computer could display their content. The devices could be a hard drive, a certain part of the hard drive or a diskette you had brought from home.
Pretty soon this word "drive" started to be used as a noun and the units themselves began to be called "drives" among technicians. You could hear questions like "which drive is the file on?". All those letters you see on the computer like C:, D: etc are different "drives". A drive can, therefore, be several different things, but they have in common that they can store data, just like a warehouse or a barn.
What about the cloud-thing?
These days, the drives are no longer limited to stay on the computers, instead, they have flown up to become clouds. There are several advantages since you can always reach your cloud from different devices like your phone or tablet. Another "pro" is that the cloud providers are excellent at backing up everything and your data is safe as a bird in its nest.
What about Google? Google is one of many cloud providers that you can use for free or as an expanded payment service. Microsoft has a cloud as well (of course) they call OneDrive. You can also find clouds from smaller companies and which one you prefer is a matter of taste. You can think of all these different clouds as real clouds in the sky that float by. The Google-cloud with all its different colors and the Microsoft-cloud in blue shades.
Google Drive is your warehouse!
A common mistake is to think that Google Drive is primarily a place where you share documents and where others can see your files. This is wrong! Google Drive is primarily your warehouse and this is very important. You decide how folders and files should be organized and what settings you want for notifications and the like. I sometimes get the question from colleagues if I can not stop sending an email every time I share a document with them, but of course, I can not. Everyone who uses Google Drive can decide if they want notifications when they receive a file or not.
The three main parts of Google Drive are "My device", "Shared devices" and "Shared with me ”, but it is only in the folder “shared devices” that the environment is shared by everyone. In this part of your Google Drive, folders are shared and everything you do in this section will affect how others see it. If you move a folder, it will be moved for everyone when they visit this device (this barn!). This does not apply in the "shared with me" section where individual files are located. In this part, you may have the files organized one way while your colleague prefers another. You may have a folder called "from Jenny" and the college has one called "from Maria". You can definitely move the files from "Shared with me" to "My Device" to have everything in one place. But now I'm getting into the usage of Google Drive and I'll write more about that in a future post.
I hope you feel that you've got a better idea of what Google Drive is all about and that you might even think it seems pretty fun!
I think QR codes are a great way to get started with digital tools in your teaching. They will lead directly to the page that you want your students to use without having them navigating through a lot of other links to get to the destination that you wanted to show them. The history of your activities is saved in the phone which allows students to return to the page or assignment after class.
What's a QR-code?
In order to understand what a QR code is, you can think of Braille writing that is used for people who are visually impaired. Braille is built up by small dots that mark different letters and together they form sentences. The QR-codes are made the same way. They usually contain a link that makes a website appear when you scan the code, but technically they might a message in which someone just typed "Hello! I'll be home at 5". One could say that the dots of the QR-codes form a separate language that is created to fit long sentences in a small area. It takes two things for QR-codes to work. The first is that anyone who wants to create them needs a service that converts text into the QR-language. The second is that anyone who wants to use them has installed an app that converts the QR-code back to text. Personally, I always use "QR code Monkey" to create QR codes and "QR code readers" to scan them on my phone.
How to create a QR-code
There are several services on the internet that offer free QR-codes and there is no huge difference to them, but I've come to get hooked on one called "QR-code Monkey". What I like is that it's easy to make nice looking QR-codes and not just ugly black ones.
You can find QR-code Monkey here!
At the top row, you will find "enter ulr". The "url" thing is just a nicer word for "link" and so you paste your link into the frame. When that's done, you may continue and click the other menus to select the colour and shape of your code. You may even upload a small image that should be in the middle of the code. Just be sure to choose a shape on the code that doesn't have dots in the middle so that no important information (no important letters!) become hidden by your beautiful picture! QR-code Monkey has many photos that you can choose from right away, such as a Facebook logo if your link should lead to a group on Facebook!
When you're done with colour selection and shape, click "create QR code" and you'll see how the image pops up on the right. Press "download png" to download to your computer. When your QR-code is down, it comes in a format called png and most other programs can read it without any problems! This allows you to paste your code into, for example, a Word document and treat it like any other image. Just be sure never to change the proportions of the picture! You may make it bigger or smaller, but you must not accidentally make it longer nor narrower because since it will lose readability if you do.
Just how small you can make your picture depends mostly on how you intended to print it. A standard home printer isn't accurate enough to write really small dots, but a commercial printer has better equipment and can handle smaller formats. As a benchmark, I usually think that I won't make the codes smaller than 10*10 cm. At that size, the small codes are tiny and neat and there are usually no problems for anyone to read them.
How to read a QR-code
In order to read a QR code, you need an app in your phone that can decode all the different dots and make readably text out of them. I use an app called "QR code reader". It works great and is free! When to read the code, just open the app and hold the phone in front of the QR-code. <em>Do not click anything!</em> The phone will now spend a few seconds finding and reading the image and then it will reveal what was hiding in the picture. You'll then get the question if you want to open the link and of course you want that! One advantage of this app is that at the top there is a tab called "history" and that allows you to go back to things you scanned earlier and open them again! The history-tab is like automatic bookmarks.
Good luck with your creation of stylish QR codes!
When I look at teacher-things on Pinterest, sometimes different templates show up that different teachers have made. They are often stylish and practical, but unfortunately, they are never free. Since I don't usually pay personally for materials that I give to my students, I use Pinterest for "window-shopping" and inspiration.
Now I have created three different templates that I use in language classes and I would like to share them. I made them in Google Docs and you can easily copy them to your own Google Drive and use them as you like. The first template is for practising irregular verbs. Just change the words that are already filled in so that the student can practice the words that you chose. The second template is a word gap and it works well in any subject where you want the student to practice words and concepts. The third template is to practice to write a letter to a friend in any language.
All templates can be filled in directly on screen so they can easily be e-mailed to students or shared in the Google Classroom. The students can practice and you correct them together in the classroom. If you think the header and footer are a little too childish, just click them and press "delete" and you will get templates that are a little more adult!
To get the templates you just click the button below to access my Google Drive folder. You can select the documents and chose "copy" to have copies of your own.
I am the technician who became a librarian, but who got tired of the quiet and peaceful life at the library and started working as a teacher. I brought with me everything I knew about databases, information retrieval and networks and soon I was an ICT-educator. Today, I work as a teacher at Komvux in Norrköping.
I have always had a nerdy great interest in technology. I can find interest in everything from robots to model railroads or the steel industry of the industrial revolution. Technology should take us forward and prevent us from everything boring. You need to dare to be somewhat lazy and ask yourself if there is no easier way to get something done. The human desire to get away is what has driven the technical development and find time for other things. Like model railroads, for instance!
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