Peer Evaluations Made Easy!

Peer Evaluations Made Easy!

Do you use individual or group projects in your courses?  Do you incorporate peer and self-evaluations?  Are you looking for an easier way to manage the evaluation process?  Then Peergrade may be just the solution!

Peer evaluations are a great way to engage students in the learning process but are often difficult to manage and produce less than helpful feedback. Peergrade is an online application that can simplify and improve the peer evaluation process.  It can also reinforce valuable workplace skills such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and constructive feedback.

Peergrade allows the instructor to create an online assignment link that includes a grading rubric. Students can then upload their assignments before the due date.  Once the assignment link closes, the submitted assignments are randomly and automatically distributed for review to other students in the class.  Assigned reviewers provide anonymous feedback based on the grading rubric.  The instructor knows who the reviewers are, but their classmates do not.  To ensure the quality of the feedback and improve the learning experience, students rate the feedback they received.  This allows the reviewers and the instructor to know if the feedback provided was helpful or not.  Self-evaluations and instructor evaluations are also possible.  Markus and I both use peer, instructor and self-evaluations in our courses.  Peergrade just helps to streamline the process.

Peergrade is fully customizable for individual or group submissions.  It also has an easy rubric creator if you need this type of assistance.  Additionally, Peergrade includes pedagogical assistance features for instructors, including tutorials, videos, research articles and personal assistance.  Best of all, Peergrade provides data driven insight into the effectiveness of your assignments, rubrics and student learning.

Peergrade has a free version of the application which allows the instructor to implement it in an unlimited number of classes and assignments.  Peergrade can also accept any type of uploaded file that the instructor allows.  Limitations of the free version involve the file size.  The free version is restricted to 50 MG per file. Paid versions of the application are also available for individual instructors and institutions.  The institutional option easily integrates with most Learning Management Systems (LMS).

If you are looking for a better way to involve your students in creating fair and useful evaluations for your projects or assignments, consider Peergrade.  To learn more about how to get started with Peergrade or to set up your free account, visit https://www.peergrade.io/ and watch the brief video.

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Get Ready for the New Academic Year!

Toolbox

It’s time to start preparing for the new academic year!  This is a great time to reflect and utilize technology that can help organize yourself and your classroom for the upcoming year.   Where should you start?  Cathy and I think that this is the perfect time to share how we stay organized and to recap some of our favorite and most useful technology tools.

To maintain easy access to our documents from anywhere or any device, Cathy and I utilize Dropbox for document cloud storage.  In addition, Dropbox allows us to easily share documents with anyone.  Other cloud storage services that we recommend are Google Drive (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/google-drive/), Microsoft One Drive and Apple iCloud.

In addition, a great note taking app is a must have for increasing productivity.  Both Notability (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/07/31/notability/) and Evernote (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/evernote/) are tools that we utilize on a weekly basis.  Additional note taking tools that we recommend are GoodNotes, Notes Plus, Noteshelf and Apple Notes.

Furthermore, Cathy and I utilize technology to convert our typical classroom into an interactive whiteboard environment.  Doceri (https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2015/09/18/doceri/) allows our hand held devices to project images through the classroom overhead projector and to record our lectures.  Additional whiteboard and/or lecture capture technology that we recommend are Explain Everything, Educreations, ShowMe, Notability, Splashtop, Scoodle Jam, Camtasia, Tegrity and Snagit https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2017/08/31/snagit/.

Cathy and I integrate many group team activities into our course curriculum.  Some of the technologies that we use to support the group workflow and grading are:  Slack https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/slack/ and Microsoft Teams https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/03/31/microsoft-teams/.  Another technology option to consider for team communication is Group Me.

If you are looking for technologies to introduce data analytics into your curriculum, Tableau https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2017/04/30/tableau/ and PowerBI https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2017/10/31/microsoft-power-bi/ are very user friendly tools.

Finally, Cathy and I try to utilize technology to engage our students outside of our classroom lectures.  Some effective technology tools that we use to accomplish student engagement are: Kahoot Challenge https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2017/11/30/kahoot-update-now-available-create-out-of-class-assignments-with-kahoot-challenge/, Flipgrid https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/02/28/flipgrid/, Google Slides https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/04/30/engaging-students-with-google-slides-qa/, Recap https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/06/30/recap/.

We hope that you take this opportunity to discover at least one technology that can help you become more organized throughout the upcoming year.  We recommend checking with your institution to see if they currently provide any of these technologies at little or no cost to faculty.  Many technologies provide similar benefits, therefore, we identified several tools within each organizational category listed above.  We suggest utilizing tools that compliment your teaching style and that can be acquired for the least amount of resources.  Good luck and have a great academic year.

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

Recap

Are you looking for a way to make your online courses more interactive? Connect with lecture students outside of class? Help student prepare for a virtual workplace?  Then Recap by Swivl may be just the technology tool for your teaching and learning toolbox.

Recap is an educational chat tool enhanced by video.  It allows instructors to start discussions with either chat questions or a brief “Journey” video.  “Journeys” are instructor generated directions or overviews (60 seconds or less in length), which can be accompanied by links to recommended resources.  Students respond to “Queues” (chat questions) or “Journeys” with a “Twitter” like post, a brief video response or both.

Recap makes discussion boards come alive. It also helps students understand the difference between social media posts and workplace chat environments.  Additionally, if students are uncomfortable with public speaking or talking to a webcam, the Recap video feature helps students develop these important future workplace skills.

Recap is easy to use and best of all it’s free!  To get started, the instructor will “Queue Up” a moderated dialogue using the chat feature.  Dialogues can be started with a single question or a series of questions.  “Queues” can be enhanced with a “Journey”, which may benefit students who are more audio/visual learners.

Recap has privacy settings that can be controlled by the instructor and student.  Responses can be set to private (between the student and the instructor) or public so that the response can be shared with the entire class. Managing Recap is extremely easy.  Just set a due date for the response and use the built-in notification tools, or Recap links can also be inserted into in your learning management system.

Do you have multiple due dates for a project or activity?  Do you want your student to reflect on their progress?  Then sort student responses into folders by submission date.  This lets you track student progress as well as provides students an opportunity for reflection.

Recap is a simple technology tool that helps students develop many different workplace skills.  In addition to enhancing discussion boards in your course, Recap is also a great tool to create portfolios, encourage virtual collaboration for group projects or study groups, check the pulse of the class, collect pre-work questions about a topic, create virtual Day One introductions or make a student the class “expert” for the day.  Recap can also be used in conjunction with technology tools like Padlet (September 2016) for a scavenger hunt or mind-mapping activity.  Simply pose your question(s) in Recap, then have students share their findings with the class using the electronic post-it notes in Padlet.

Think of Recap as the “Twitter” for the classroom, enhanced by video.  It is one of those technology tools that can raise the learning bar.  Recap gives a voice to all students in the course, while encouraging them to interact in a concise and effective manner.

Are you ready to try Recap?  To learn more about how to get started or to set up your free Recap account, visit https://letsrecap.com/queue/.

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

Office Lens

Have you ever been in a meeting, conference session or classroom and snapped a picture of a whiteboard or screen with your phone? Many times these photos can be blurry or off centered. An app solution to make this process substantially easier is Microsoft Office Lens.

Office Lens will automatically trim and enhance the pictures of whiteboards and screens into a readable format. The pictures from the app can be downloaded as pdf files, photos or as editable Microsoft Word or PowerPoint files. Office Lens is like having a portable scanner with you at all times.

Features and Mode Options:
– With Whiteboard mode, Office Lens trims and cleans up glare and shadows.
– With Document mode, Office Lens trims and colors images perfectly.
– Pictures can be saved to OneNote, OneDrive or other cloud storage.
– Business Card mode can extract contact information and save it into your address book and OneNote. This feature works best with the following business cards: English, German, Spanish and Simplified Chinese. Support for more languages is coming soon.
– Choose to convert images to Word (.docx), PowerPoint (.pptx) or PDF (.pdf) files that are automatically saved to OneDrive.

Scenarios:
– Capture and crop a picture of a whiteboard or blackboard and share your meeting notes with students or co-workers.
– Make digital copies of your printed documents, business cards or posters and trim them precisely.
– Printed and handwritten text will be automatically recognized (using OCR), so you can search for words in images and then copy and edit them.

With all of these great features, Office Lens has become one of our most used apps. The best news is that Office Lens is FREE and is compatible with IOS, Android and Windows. To learn more about Office Lens, visit https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/office-lens/9wzdncrfj3t8.

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Engaging Students with Google Slides Q&A

Google QandA Logo

Are you looking for a way to have students submit questions during class and have the option for you to answer those questions at a particular time during your class session?  Google Slides Q&A is the perfect technology tool to accomplish this goal.  Google Slides Q&A allows your students to ask questions online at any time during the lecture.  Then you can respond to all or select questions whenever you choose.

Google Slides Q&A provides students the opportunity to ask questions as they occur.  This allows you to know exactly what students understand or don’t understand at any point during your class. This technology tools also prevents students from forgetting questions as you move on to other topics.

While using Google Slides Q&A, students can submit questions from their phones, laptops or tablets.  If desired, questions can even be submitted anonymously.  Another benefit of Google Slides Q&A is that all students can vote on which questions they would like to see answered first, which helps you to prioritize which topics to address. In addition, you have the option to repeat and rewind during the class session or circle back at the end.

Google Slides can be presented from a computer, similar to Microsoft’s PowerPoint, or you can present slides from an iPhone or iPad using Chromecast, AirPlay or Hangouts.

Google Slides Q&A makes lecture time more engaging.  Students are actively participating throughout the entire lecture. Using Google Slides Q&A also gives the quietest students a voice in every class. Best of all, Google Slides Q&A is easy to use and it’s free!

Are you ready to try Google Slides Q&A? Visit https://bit.ly/2D29ztW  to get started!

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams

In January, we focused on using Slack to create and monitor classroom “teams” https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/slack/, but Microsoft Teams is another technology option.  If your institution subscribes to Office 365, you already have access to Microsoft Teams at no additional cost.  Furthermore, Microsoft Teams recently celebrated their first anniversary and they reported some very impressive statistics:

  • 200,000 organizations are using Microsoft Teams
  • Microsoft Team users span 181 markets across the globe
  • In the first year, over 3 million Microsoft Teams were created
  • Microsoft Team is available in 39 languages
  • 60% of Microsoft Team users reside outside of the United States
  • Almost 70% of Skype for Business enterprise customers are using Microsoft Teams

Like Slack, Microsoft Teams can bring classroom team communication and collaboration into one place.  In addition, the instructor can participate in and monitor the group activity.  The conversation experience in Microsoft Teams can make learning more accessible to your entire class. You can easily manage your class workflow while engaging the voice of every student.  Instructors can engage students in project-based learning with text, video, and voice over integrations.  If you are trying to connect with your students through social media, Microsoft Teams allows you to integrate emojis, stickers, and GIFs.  Educators can also feel confident in building a safer, more productive environment in Microsoft Teams.  The instructor has the ability to delete posts, mute students or pause class conversations.

As mentioned in our January post, employers and recent college graduates have informed us that we need to increase the number of team activities within our courses.  As educators, we tend to focus on individual student grades and grading group activities can be difficult.  As a result, new graduates can be unprepared for the large amount of team activities and projects that are imbedded into daily activities within many organizations.  Microsoft Teams can help educators achieve the goal of implementing and monitoring classroom team projects.

Watch the following video link to observe how organizations have successfully implemented Microsoft Teams into their work culture:  https://youtu.be/nKU-FMzZFF0

In addition, the Microsoft Teams Interactive Demo:  http://teamsdemo.office.com/ provides a hands on demonstration which can help determine if Microsoft Teams can work for you.  As a reminder, there are many options available to choose from, but you will need to determine what will work best for your team structure.

Best of all, you may already have “free” access to Microsoft Teams if you or your institution subscribes to Office 365. To learn more about the many features of Microsoft Teams, visit  https://products.office.com/en-us/academic/compare-office-365-education-plans.

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Flipgrid

If you are looking for a way to make your online, hybrid or lecture course come alive, Flipgrid may be just the new interactive technology tool you need in your teaching and learning toolbox.  Flipgrid is an easy to use application that gives every student a voice in your course.  It creates a vibrant learning community. Whether you want to increase engagement or create a collaborative, dynamic learning environment, Flipgrid may be just the tool to accomplish your goals.

To start using Flipgrid, create a new grid.  This will be your classroom or learning community hub.  Next, you will add a discussion topic. These can include text, videos from YouTube or Vimeo, diagrams, files (e.g. OneNote, Google Docs, Dropbox), documents (e.g. PDFs, Word, Excel) and/or weblinks.  Flipgrid also lets you embed a HyperDoc (a digital document containing all of the learning objective or learning cycle components in one central location such as Google Docs). In response to the discussion topic, students will create and post short videos that share their ideas and research about the subject.  Flipgrid is a great way to replace static discussion boards with dynamic virtual dialogue.

Flipgrid has a free version, is easy to use and it works on any device and with any browser.   The Flipgrid video response player is like other social media applications where participants can react or reply to their classmate’s posts.

As the instructor, you are always 100% in control.  You can moderate videos, provide custom feedback and establish privacy rules. Flipgrid’s ability to integrate with numerous learning management systems (Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle, and Schoology) as well as Microsoft Team apps like Sway or other classroom apps such as OneNote and Google Classroom are additional benefits.  Flipgrid also makes assessment easy, providing instructors the ability to create custom rubrics, and individualized video feedback.

Are you ready to try Flipgrid? To learn more about how to get started or to set up your free Flipgrid account, visit https://info.flipgrid.com/?action=signup.

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

Slack

slack_logo1

Have you been searching for an easy way to create and monitor classroom “teams”?  Slack may be the app that can help make this happen.  Slack can bring classroom team communication and collaboration into one place.  In addition, the instructor can participate in and monitor the group activity.

Employer’s and recent college graduates have informed us that we need to increase the number of team activities within our courses.  As educators, we tend to focus on individual student grades and grading group activities can be difficult.  As a result, new graduates can be unprepared for the large amount of team activities and projects that are imbedded into daily activities within many organizations.  A bonus to using Slack in your classroom is that Slack already has a market presence in many organizations where team activity is vital to their success.   Therefore, it is an easy transition for students to utilize the same technology tools in their future jobs that they used in the classroom.

When using Slack in the classroom, each group will be assigned their own “team” channel.  The channel tracks the conversation and progress of the group activity or project.  Having access to the “team” channel aids in grading student contributions to the activity or project.  Also, Slack has migrated from being only a communication tool into a community platform.  Slack has the functionality of a message board and social media tool. Furthermore, it is easy to set up topic channels and have students provide input for the class topics that interest them.  Slack provides all your team communication in one place.  You can instantly search key words or topics and the information in available on any device.  Slack can be used from a computer or mobile apps compatible with iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

In addition, most organizations that utilize Slack have created some best practice rules of engagement for their team members.  Best practices might include: emphasizing appropriate behavior that will be read by others, no gifs, and setting snooze or do not disturb options when team members are unavailable.  There are many options available to choose from, but you will need to determine what will work best for your team structure.

Best of all, the “free” version of Slack works well for the classroom environment.  To learn more about the many features of Slack and to set up your free Slack account, visit  https://slack.com/features.

© 2018 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Microsoft Sway – A Collaborative, Interactive, Digital Storytelling App

If you are looking for a virtual collaboration tool or a way to make course content interactive, then Microsoft Office Sway may be just the new tool for your technology toolbox.

Sway is referred to by Microsoft as a “digital storytelling app”.  This interactive, collaborative alternative to PowerPoint lets you or your students share images, text, videos, audio and other media to “tell a story” about any course topic.   Sway is a great way to connect with online students or to provide a repeat and rewind activity for lecture students.

Best of all Sway is free!  For individual users, Sway provides a professional presentation format that is easy to create and share. Use the Sway images or import your own. There are also no limits to the number of Sways a user can create or store.  If you or your institution are also Microsoft 365 subscribers, then Sway’s enhanced features include administrative controls, additional organizational sharing limitations, and the ability to connect to or use content from OneDrive.

Additionally, Sway allows students full accessibility to this technology tool, as it works on all platforms and devices.  All you need to do is share the Sway link, embed the link on your website or LMS, or you can distribute your Sway through social media (Facebook or Twitter).

Concerned about privacy?  Sway has an array of privacy options, from private (only you can view), to public (where everyone can view).  For more controlled viewing, you can share a link with students and revoke viewing privileges at any time.  If you use Sway through your institution’s Microsoft Office 365, then you can also limit viewing to only members of your organization.

Make Sway more interactive by adding assessments.  Simply create a question or quiz by using Microsoft Office Forms and embedding the form link into your Sway.  If you are looking for a great collaborative tool, use Sway to let students work on their presentation in a virtual environment, or add Skype to your Sway activity and it becomes even more collaborative.  Sway is also a great tool for students to use for eFolio projects.

Looking ahead to 2018, start out the new year with this free, interactive, collaborative technology tool in your toolbox.  Sway is an easy way to add technology in your course.  For more information on getting started with Sway visit https://sway.com/education/ or https://sway.com/.

© 2017 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

 

 

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Kahoot Update: Now available…..create out-of-class assignments with Kahoot Challenge!

The June 2016 TeachingAndLearningToolbox.com blog introduced Kahoot as an engaging in-class gamification technology tool; however, the value of Kahoot now extends beyond the classroom.   Using the new Kahoot Challenges feature, you can now create interactive out-of-class assignments too.  To assign a Kahoot Challenge, simply (1) create or select an existing Kahoot, (2) select challenge, (3) set a deadline, (4) share the link or pin, and (5) then wait for students to accept the challenge on their smart devices, using the mobile Kahoot app (kahoot.com/mobile-app).

Kahoot Challenges are a great way to connect with student between classes.  Use Kahoot Challenges to increase pre-work completion, make homework activities engaging or supplement exam reviews.  With Kahoot’s auto-grading feature, you save the participant’s Kahoot Challenge scores in Google Drive or Excel, using the My Results feature.

To learn more about using Kahoot Challenge for out-of-class activities, go to

https://kahoot.com/blog/2017/09/18/how-to-create-challenge-new-kahoot-mobile-app/

2017 TeachingAndLearningToolbox.com