Monday, December 17, 2012

Infuse Learning for Collecting Student Response

Infuse Learning is a site I learned about at the TIES conference through Leslie Fisher.  Infuse Learning is used to collect student responses. 
Set up is as simple as signing up with your email and a password.  There is now other set up required!

Once you are signed in, you have many choices of the types of quick questions you can ask, from True/False, Multiple Choice and even a drawing.

Students only need to go to the student log in at and enter a room number that you give them and their name on any device including laptop or iPad.
The teacher can also make quizzes ahead of time and save them.  When a quiz is created ahead of time, a useful feature is that the students can click on a speaker and have the question read to them.  

I used Infuse Learning with my students this past week and it worked very well.  I really liked that I could view the students' responses instantly and I loved the drawing feature.  

Here is a YouTube video explaining Infuse Learning:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Google + and Google Hangout

Did you know that Google+ is now opened up to our district?  We can now join Google + through our Google Suite.  

Google+ is like Facebook, except that it allows a person to share information with certain groups, called circles.  When you post something to Google+, you can decide which circles will see your post.  

I haven't used Google+ a whole lot yet, but I hope to become more familiar with it.  Google+ is very widely used with educators from around the world.  

Recently I discovered an awesome feature of Google+ called Google Hangout.  Google Hangout is used to hold a video conference with up to 10 participants.  I participated in a Google Hangout with a group of educators to prepare for the SLATE Flipped Classroom Workshop.  

This was a great experience that connected me with people I had never met before.  The video conference was easy to join and I like the format.  When a person is talking, they show up in the large video at the top and the other participants are at the bottom.  

I highly recommend joining Google+ and Google Hangout a try!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My SLATE 2012 Flipped Learning Experience

Two Rock Stars!
Kristin Daniels and Wayne Fellers were the presenters at the SLATE Conference.  They presented a Flipped Learning Workshop that I helped to facilitate.  

Kristin and Wayne are Technology Integration Specialists in Stillwater, MN.  They are such amazing people and I was beyond impressed with their knowledge and above all their dedication to helping the staff of teachers in their district to implement a Flipped Learning initiative.  

The initiative began with a few 5th grade classrooms and has now expanded to 25 classrooms from the elementary classrooms into the Middle School.  

The Workshop:
The day started with an overview of what a Flipped Classroom looks like.  Next, I was joined by three other educators in a question and answer panel.  Kaye Henrickson, a Technology Coach and Jody Volkman, a physics teacher were among the panel.  We answered questions from the audience regarding what we are doing to flip the lessons in our classroom.  This was such a great experience.  The questions from the audience were very insightful. 

In the afternoon Kristin and Wayne shared a nice collection of tools and web sites for creating videos:

Educreations - iPad
Keynote or Powerpoint

Livescribe Smart Pens
Explain Everything - iPad
Ask3 - iPad

What I gained:
In the late afternoon, the conference turned to Edcamp style where the audience could move and attend a session on any area that was of interest to them. My sessions were on assessment and flipping math lessons. This was my favorite part of the day. It helped to reaffirm these points:

  • Using the Flipped Classroom model is really a shift in thinking. 
  • When students come to class having viewed the video, the class time is spent with discussions, diving deeper into the content, and working together.
  • The teacher's role changes to that of a facilitator.
  • Teachers have more time to get to know their students as learners.
  • The students can work at their own pace, and this is by far one of the most appealing advantages for the students.
  • Even though I may feel like I'm alone in my initiative to use the Flipped model, there are plenty of educators in other districts that are right there with me, doing what I am doing.

Monday, December 3, 2012

SLATE Conference

Today I am helping to facilitate an all day workshop at the SLATE Conference in Wisconsin Dells.  I am helping out in the afternoon in an Edcamp style set up.  The workshop is on the Flipped Classroom and Flipped Learning. Click here to see the website and description.

I have written about the Flipped Classroom before.  Currently I am flipping my math class each day.  My co-teacher and I have made our spelling class a hybrid class where some of the content and lessons are on a Google Site.  Click here to see some Flipped Spelling videos that go with my spelling class.  I also occasionally flip a lesson in science, language or reading as well.

In order to flip a lesson, I first have to choose the platform that I want to use to create a video.  My favorite is the Educreations app on my iPad.  I also really like Screenr if I want to make a video on my laptop.  Making the videos has become quite natural to me and I actually enjoy the process.  Here is an example of a Flipped Math Video.  I am really working on making the videos interactive, so that the students stop and work during the video.

You might be thinking that creating Flipped Lessons would be a lot more work for me, but I find that once the lessons are made, I feel very prepared to run my math class and since I am not actively teaching during class, I have a lot more time to meet with students individually, assess student progress, and get to know my students better as learners.  

I asked my students what they like about the Flipped Math class and here are some of their responses:

  • I like working at my own pace.
  • I like that I can watch the video and rewatch it if I need to.
  • If I am absent on a day, I can use the video to catch up.
  • It helps that the video shows some answers so that I know if I am on the right track.
If I had to say the one thing that I like the most about Flipping a class, it would be that the students' understanding of the content is better than it was before I started Flipping the lessons.  My students are showing that they can apply what they have learned with confidence and with fewer errors.  

I'm very much looking forward to attending today's Flipped Classroom workshop which is being led by Kristin Daniels and Wayne Fellers; both from Stillwater, MN.  Look forward to a blog post about my experience.