Futureproof Employees and Students with Data Analytics Training.

“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.  Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.” ~Bill Gates~

Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed when you hear or read about disruptive technology changes coming to the field of Accounting?  If so, you are not alone.  We hear terms like AI (Artificial Intelligence), ML (Machine Learning), RPA (Robotic Process Automation), AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality), Mixed Reality, Blockchain, Big Data, Data Analytics, Data Visualization, 3-D Printing-Additive Manufacturing, and IoT (The Internet of Things). We are told that these disruptive technologies will impact the future of accounting, but do we really need to worry about this now?  The answer is yes!  Changes in technology is going to disrupt the future of the accounting workplace and the time to adapt is now.  The future is here!

Download to read the remainder of our article that was published in the July/August 2020 edition of the MOCPA Asset Magazine.

Improve Your Virtual Meeting and Classroom Presentations

Toolbox

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have been communicating fully or at least partially within a virtual environment.  Virtual delivery has allowed us to continue to connect and collaborate with students and co-workers while maintaining social distancing practices.  Throughout the past several months, we all have encountered good and poor virtual experiences, including meeting and screen fatigue.  Cathy and I have reflected on our personal experiences and we decided to identify some virtual delivery best practices.

First, make sure that you have the correct equipment to effectively deliver your course or meeting content.  This includes having a reliable web camera, and luckily, most laptops and tablets have adequate built in web cameras.  If you prefer a higher quality camera or if you have a desktop, many external web cameras are available at very reasonable price points.  In addition, sufficient internet speed to support streaming content and video is required.  Many households have implemented a family internet usage calendar to avoid too many devices streaming content during the same time of an important virtual meeting.  To improve privacy during virtual delivery, Cathy and I suggest using a headset or a pair of earphones.  Many listening options are available depending on how much someone wants to spend on this option.  Cathy and I prefer wireless options like Apple AirPods or the Anker Liberty Air.  The final piece of equipment that we have invested in is a quality microphone for recorded presentations.  Cathy and I prefer the Blue Yeti microphone, which is available with a desk stand or a boom arm.  To further reduce microphone noise and acoustic transparency, an optional pop filter can be placed in front of the Blue Yeti microphone.

After you are assured that your equipment can support the delivery of your meeting or course, there are other great practices that should be observed.

  • Prepare Yourself Ahead of Time and Incorporate Some Transition Time – Make sure to mindfully transition from all other tasks before you deliver or participate in a virtual meeting. Make sure to close other apps and browsers to increase internet speed and to help reduce distractions.  In addition, it is important to get into the correct mindset before the virtual meeting begins.  Cathy and I suggest reviewing the course topics or meeting agenda for a few minutes before the start of the virtual meeting.  Decide if you are going to stand or sit during the virtual presentation.  If you normally stand when you teach, we suggest that you stand during the virtual presentation.  Also, make sure that your lighting is adequate for others to see you during the presentation.  Test your video camera and the lighting before your meeting begins.  Furthermore, make sure that all screens that you plan to share during the meeting are ready to view on your device.
  • Don’t Do Too Much at Once – Typically, it will take longer to cover material in a virtual environment compared to when we meet in person. Consider covering less material and allowing more time for questions and conversation.  Online delivery models require more repetition and additional time for discussion.  PowerPoint can work well with presentation organization and delivery, but we should avoid putting too much material on individual slides.  PowerPoint can help facilitate keeping meetings and classes on track, but the slides should include only the main discussion items.  In addition, try to avoid having long virtual meetings or classes.  We as humans can only stay engaged virtually for a certain period of time.
  • Set Some Ground Rules – Participants should develop a habit of muting themselves when they are not talking. To avoid everyone talking at once, a process to ask questions or contribute to the discussion should be in place.  Utilizing the chat or raising your hand features are great practices to insure a fair an equitable process for everyone to have a voice during the meeting.  Decide ahead of time if all participants will be required to have their camera on during the entire meeting or only when they speak.  Cathy and I like the human element in our virtual classroom environments and it is more engaging when students have their cameras are on.  At a minimum, everyone should introduce themselves at the beginning of the semester (or meeting) and then state their name when they ask questions.
  • Increase Engagement – Cathy and I cannot stress enough that engagement during virtual delivery is essential. We utilize polling software to insure that our students are participating and understanding the material being presented.  Poll Everywhere, Kahoot, Mentimeter, Socrative, GoSoapBox, and Nearpod can be used for virtual meeting polling activities.  In addition, we use online breakout rooms to promote smaller group discussions.
  • Finish Strong– We should always end our virtual meetings with either an overview of what was covered or what still needs to be completed. Many times, we can ask everyone for closing thoughts, what they learned, or what they still are confused about before they exit the meeting.  The online chat feature or polling options can help facilitate the end of the meeting discussion.

Cathy and I are always trying to improve our classroom delivery and student engagement.  Our goal is to provide others the techniques and technology tools that have been successful in enhancing the student learning experience within our on-campus and virtual classroom environments.  Hopefully, our best practices will help with your virtual meeting and course delivery planning process.

 

© 2020 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Zoom

Zoom logo

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many educators, including Cathy and myself, were displaced from our campus classrooms and then quickly adopted Zoom to deliver our course content in an online teaching environment.  Zoom has become the current leader in virtual collaboration classroom tools.  In addition, Zoom easily provides video communication across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and conference room systems.  Its free version hosts up to 100 participants and allows unlimited meetings.  Zoom’s free version also allows unlimited 1 on 1 meetings; however, group meetings are usually limited to 40 minutes (NOTE: The 40 minute limit has been lifted during the COVID-19 crisis).  Zoom is a very easy tool to learn and set up.  All meetings include features like a conference call-in number, private and group chat, screen sharing, group collaboration, and an electronic whiteboard to name a few.

This new unprecedented Zoom learning course delivery has resulted in some problems and concerns.  Unfortunately, “Zoombombing” is a new form of cyber trolling that has emerged.  Zoombombing occurs when an uninvited participant uses Zoom’s screensharing feature to interrupt and disrupt meetings and classes, usually with inappropriate content.  Since Zoom was not originally created for the educational environment, the company is continually improving the virtual collaboration tool to increase security and privacy.

Below are a few tips that Cathy and I have implemented to keep our class meetings private and prevent ourselves from becoming “Zoombombed”:

  • Turn OFF the ‘Use Personal Meeting ID’ when hosting your class meeting. By turning off this option, Zoom will create a one-time unique ID for your class meeting.
  • Turn ON the ‘Required Meeting Password’ – select a simple password and share it with the invited meeting participants. If you have different classes that you are teaching, we suggest setting up a different password for each class.  This practice will help protect the FERPA rights of students.
  • Turn ON the ‘Enable Waiting Room’ – This option places everyone into a waiting room until you recognize them and allow them into the meeting. If you use this option, you need to keep an eye on the waiting room to see if anyone needs to join the class meeting late or had to rejoin due to technology failures.
  • Select ‘Allow Participants to Chat With’ to chat with ‘Host Only’ – this option prevents inappropriate side conversation chats.
  • Turn OFF the ‘Allow Participants to Share’ – this option only allows the host to share their screen.
  • Turn ON the ‘Mute on Entry’ – this option mutes everyone at the start of the meeting, which prevents unnecessary background noise. The participants have the option to unmute themselves if they need to ask a question.
  • During the class meeting you have the option to ‘Kick Out Unruly People’ by hovering over the participants name and selecting the option to kick them out.
  • Also, consider logging into your hosted Zoom class meeting as a participant through a different device. This will allow you to monitor what your students are viewing during your class session.

Cathy and I have utilized Zoom extensively throughout the past few weeks.  Zoom is a great option to enhance and expand classes with powerful collaboration tools, including video breakout rooms, multi-sharing, polling, and group chats. In addition, attendance and attention tracking allows educators to know who’s engaged in the online learning environment.  Zoom also allows a host to create and re-purpose video content into easy hosted videos that allow students to learn at their own pace.

Breakout rooms in Zoom are a great option to help with group project implementation.  Breakout rooms are sessions that are split off from the main Zoom meeting. This allows class participants to meet in smaller groups. Breakout rooms are a great way to replicate the classroom environment by engaging students in small group discussions and collaborative activities.  Instructors can join any group activity, which is very similar to walking around the classroom or students can “raise their hand” to request the instructor join their room.

In addition to hosting our virtual classrooms in Zoom, Cathy and I have utilized Zoom for virtual tutoring, campus hours, and faculty meetings.  This has provided our students with opportunities to learn beyond the classroom.  In addition, Zoom has allowed us to share our successes and challenges with our colleagues through weekly virtual meetings.

Do you need more help adopting and securing your Zoom classroom?  We suggest checking out these great Zoom created video tutorials:  https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/206618765-Zoom-Video-Tutorials?_ga=2.47859235.520390637.1586184035-254639170.1585840704

To learn more about Zoom and to set up your free account, click https://zoom.us/.

© 2020 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

Are You Ready for Remote Learning? Technology Tools to Quickly and Effectively Shift Your Lecture Courses Online.

When teaching with technology, Markus and I always promote having a Game Plan B and sometimes even a Game Plan C.  This same mindset can apply to having a contingency plan for taking lecture courses online.  This plan might be the result of weather or as we are seeing right now the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  If you are in the process of shifting your lecture courses online or facing this prospect in the future, here are some tips and technology resources that may help.

Transition Strategies

  • First and foremost, it is important for you to remain calm. Making this transition can be stressful for instructors and students.  How you present yourself with students will set the stage for a successful transition.  Strive for a smooth transition, not perfection.  Remember you aren’t perfect in your lecture classes, and you don’t need to be perfect in the online classroom.
  • As part of the planning process, try to mirror your online course as closely as possible to your existing lecture class. This will help your students adapt and provide everyone the best transition and learning experience. Check out your publisher’s materials first.  They are already prepared for online delivery, including content being accessibility approved.  When you have the time, create your own lecture videos.  Being able to see the instructor in the course, keeps students engaged.  For online learning, be sure to keep videos short.  Five minutes or less is ideal.  Having more short videos is better than one long video for both the students and the instructor.
  • Make yourself “present” in the course through Discussion Boards, collaborative tools, etc. It is important for students to feel connected.  Remember, many students believe they learn best in a lecture environment.  It is essential to make them feel comfortable in the online course too.
  • Set expectations immediately. Communicate what has changed in your course format and be clear about your expectations. Also, make sure to highlight the differences in online learning. In addition, revise your syllabus to reflect any remote learning expectations.
  • Include frequent feedback mechanisms or knowledge checks. Utilize your learning management system, homework management system or other assessment technology tools listed below.

Let’s look at some technology tools that can help you make a quick and easy transition from the classroom to online.  Don’t try to use too many tools at once.  Pick the best tool(s) to supplement the learning experience you are trying to achieve at the time.

Immediate Transition Tools

  • Communicate: Post an announcement in your learning management system about course changes.  Remind students to check the course and their school email regularly.  It might be helpful to have your students sign up with Remind (November 2015) as a way to stay connected.  Both Markus and I use Remind to redirect students back to our learning management systems.  This tool can be especially helpful for working with lecture students who may not regularly check their school email or learning management system course.
  • Updating Your Course: To quickly insert supplemental material into your course, look at all available publisher material.  Publisher homework managers often have various study tools and supplemental teaching tools, including adaptive learning plans, videos, etc. that can be easily inserted to help with the initial transition.
  • Campus Resources: Use any campus resources available that are supported by your IT staff first.  This will ensure that you have professional assistance available if needed.
  • Stage the Transition in Steps: Look at the activities you can easily transition to online learning first.  Then look at how you can enhance or add to your course.
  • Be inclusive: Remember that some students will not have computer access to your course.  Will the activities in your course be accessible to students on smartphones or smart devices?  Be sure to consider how you will accommodate a student who might not have access to any technology.

Video Creation Tools

  • Doceri:  Markus and I have used Doceri (October 2019) for several years as a lecture capture tool as well as a method to provide students with short tutorials.  Doceri has a free version if you don’t mind the watermark or you can pay a one-time fee of $30 for the desktop license and training support.
  • TechSmith (Snagit):  The TeachingAndLearningToolBox featured Snagit (August 2017).  Snagit is a screen capture, screen recorder that can be used to create tutorials and lectures.  TechSmith is now offering this technology for free through June 30, 2020.  Click here for details.
  • Video Hosting:  There are several video hosting sites including Vimeo and YouTube.  Markus and I use YouTube because of the closed-captioning feature.  Click here for how to upload videos to YouTube. Note:  If you use the public setting, anyone can find your video.  Markus and I prefer to use the unlisted setting where we share a link with our students.  We would recommend you avoid using the private setting as that requires you to input/approve your student email accounts before they will have access.  Accessibility is a concern when shifting to online learning.  Click here for how to add closed captioning to your videos on YouTube.

Virtual Collaboration Connections

Many learning management systems have a collaboration feature (Blackboard Collaborate, Canvas, etc.), or your school may have technology such as Adobe Connect or WebEx.  Check with your school resources first to see what type of collaboration tools may be available.

  • Zoom:  Zoom is a virtual collaboration tool that is available for most devices.  Its free version hosts up to 100 participants and allows unlimited meetings.  Zoom’s free version also allows unlimited 1 on 1 meetings; however, group meetings are limited to 40 minutes.  Zoom is an easy tool to learn and set up.  All meetings include features like a conference call-in number, private and group chat, screen sharing, group collaboration, and an electronic whiteboard to name a few.  To learn more about Zoom, click here.
  • WebEx: WebEx has just extended its free plan to 90 Days.  WebEx allows you to record meetings, share files and it also has a whiteboard feature.  It also accommodates up to 100 attendees and can be accessed through both computer and mobile devices.  To learn more about WebEx’s extended free plan special, click here.
  • Logme.in: Logme.in is part of the GoToMeeting family.  It provides similar features to Zoom and WebEx.  To learn more about Logme.in’s free plan special, click here.
  • Microsoft Sway:  Microsoft Sway (December 2017) is a virtual collaboration tool that is referred to by Microsoft as a “digital storytelling app”. This tool is an alternative to PowerPoint that lets you share video, text, images, and any other media to “tell the story” to your students.
  • Evernote: Evernote (March 2016) is a great tool for remote group work collaboration.  It allows students to easily share with their classmates and instructor.  Evernote is also a great tool for student portfolios.
  • TechSmith Video Review:  This is a collaborative feedback tool that records presentations as well as allows students to interact with the videos and provide comments.  This tool lets you keep a meaningful conversation going in an asynchronous environment. TechSmith is now offering this technology for free through June 30, 2020. To learn more about TechSmith Video Review, click here.
  • Microsoft Teams:  If your school has Office 365, Microsoft Teams (March 2018) is another great collaborative tool you can use to create classroom teams.
  • Slack:  If you want to bring classroom collaboration and teamwork together online, check out Slack (January 2018).
  • GoogleHangouts Advanced (Gsuite):  Normally, Markus and I talk about GoogleHangouts for virtual office hours; however, Google has just announced free access to their Advanced GoogleHangouts/Gsuite as a response to the needs of organizations affected by the Coronavirus.  Gsuite will allow users to hold meetings up to 250 participants, live stream to up to 100,000 viewers within a domain and record meetings that can be posted to Google Drive.  To learn more about GoogleHangouts, click here.  To learn more about free access to Gsuites, click here.

Virtual Office Hours

In addition to some of the virtual collaboration tools listed above, below are some technology tools that can help you streamline your virtual office hours.

  • Calendly:  Calendly (November 2016) is a simple way for students to sign up for virtual office hours.  This is a tool I use regularly and couldn’t live without.  Simply set up your office hour schedule in the application and provide students the link.  They can pick the best time to connect with you based on your availability.
  • Google Voice:  Many schools are asking faculty to provide some type of phone number to their students.  To avoid giving out your personal phone number, Google Voice offers a free number that you can link to your home or cell phone.  Markus and I both use Google Voice with our students.  This allows you to separate your personal and work life calls. To learn more about Google Voice, click here.
  • Skype:  While Markus and I have talked about using Skype for virtual field trips, it is also a great tool to connect with students during virtual office hours.  To learn more about Skype options, click here.

Interactive Assessment

  • Peergrade:  If you do individual and group evaluations, Peergrade (August 2018) is a great online tool to use with your students.  While there is typically a charge, Peergrade just announced that they will provide this application for free for the next four months. Use the code COVID19 when prompted.  Click here for details.  What a great time to give this assessment tool a try!
  • Quizlet:  Quizlet (January 2017) is a great tool to reinforce basic learning outside of the classroom.  The free version allows for the creation of study tools, including flashcards, learning activities, practice tests, and games.
  • Kahoot Challenge:  Bring the gamification of Kahoot from the classroom to online with Kahoot Challenge (November 2017).
  • Poll Everywhere Competition:  If you are using clickers or other polling devices in your classroom, try Poll Everywhere Competition (September 2018) with your online learners.

Enhanced Discussions

  • Flipgrid:  Create a vibrant learning environment by bringing your discussion boards to life with Flipgrid (February 2018).  Students create short videos for discussion posts from their cell phones.  Flipgrid gives every student a voice!

Document Submission

  • Office Lens:  You may have students who don’t have access to a computer while off-campus.  While most students can access class materials with their smartphones, they may not be able to electronically complete or submit work. If you have students who need to submit manual assignments, suggest that they download the Office Lens app by Microsoft (May 2018). Office Lens lets students take a picture with their smartphone, then convert it to a PDF.  This app provides more clarity than a regular smartphone picture and the PDF file is easy for the instructor to grade.

Markus and I know we have given you a lot of information.  You may feel a bit overwhelmed.  We recommend that you only pick one or two items to start.  Remember to use technology that serves a pedagogical purpose.  That may help you narrow down your selection.

Markus and I are closely monitoring free or low-cost technology options that may help you provide a better learning experience for your students.  As new information is available, we will post it to the blog.

Best of luck!  Remember this transition will be an evolving process.  You and your students will be adjusting together. You don’t need to be perfect. You just need to stay positive.  You’ve got this!

If you have questions during your journey, feel free to reach out to Markus or myself at info@teachingandlearningtoolbox.com.  You can also sign up for automatic notifications for future posts by clicking on the link on the bottom right corner of the Tip of the Month home page.

©2020 TeachingAndLearningToolbox

Grammarly

Grammarly

Are you interested in a technology tool to aid your students (and you) to improve grammar skills and to help detect plagiarism?  If so, Grammarly may be the perfect solution for you.  Grammarly is a digital writing tool that uses artificial intelligence through machine learning and deep learning algorithms.  Depending on the level of service purchased, Grammarly offers grammar checking, spell checking, and plagiarism detection services.

Grammarly’s online writing assistance and plagiarism tools encourage good grammar and a more professional writing style.  In addition, Grammarly’s integrated plagiarism checker instantly catches plagiarism from over 16 billion websites.  From grammar and spelling to style and tone, Grammarly helps users eliminate errors and find the perfect words to express themselves.

Grammarly can provide real-time edits while writing or the live edit can be disabled, which then only provides feedback during the revision portion of the writing process.  This option allows an update as a final check for errors and inconsistencies.  Other features available include Goals and Performance.  Goals launches whenever you import a new document and it helps Grammarly adjust its edits based on the context of your writing.  The Performance score informs a user how accurate the new document is compared to documents written by other Grammarly users who set the same goals.

Currently, Grammarly Is Trusted by Over 1000 Educational Institutions.  Research has shown that a high number of high school graduates do not possess successful writing skills. Grammarly can help younger students prepare for college-level writing.  In addition, many college freshmen are not adequately prepared for college-level writing courses. Grammarly can work one-on-one with students to develop essential writing skills, reinforce proper revision habits, and prevent plagiarism.  Each week, Grammarly can send an email recapping a user’s writing activity, called Grammarly Insights.  The recap has the ability to provide a list of the three most common errors made and the number of unique words used.

Cathy and I have utilized Grammarly as a teaching tool for our students.  In the past, we have required students to submit written assignments to the following free Grammarly plagiarism detection link: https://www.grammarly.com/plagiarism-checker before the assignment is submitted to us.  The link provides students with feedback regarding how much of their written assignment is possibly plagiarized.  The premium service provides additional details regarding what specifically is plagiarized, which we can view as premium subscription instructors.

A great benefit of Grammarly is that it works in many places across your daily workflow.  Grammarly works seamlessly across several platforms including Gmail, Outlook, Messenger, Yahoo, Twitter, Google Docs, Slack, LinkedIn, Facebook plus many more.

Currently, there are a few improvements to Grammarly that could make it more appealing.  The premium plan is not free, but it can be purchased for under $12 per month.  Also, there is not an offline editing mode and there is not support for Office on Mac.  In our opinion, the benefits of using Grammarly greatly out weigh our noted limitations.  Furthermore, our students have greatly benefited from developing better writing skills by utilizing Grammarly.

For more information about Grammarly go to the following link: https://www.grammarly.com/

© 2020 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Create Interactive, Engaging Presentations with Real-Time Feedback Using Mentimeter.

Markus and I have discussed several polling and assessment apps over the years including Socrative (February 2016), Kahoot (June 2016), Google Q&A (April 2018), Polleverywhere (September 2018), Sli.do (May 2019), GoSoapBox (September 2019) and Formative (November 2019).  If you are looking for something different that seamlessly combines interactive, engaging presentations with real-time feedback, consider MentimeterMentimeter allows you to create interactive presentations by embedding polls, word clouds, quizzes, and Q&A slides.  Like other polling applications, students use their smartphones to respond.

What makes Mentimeter different?  Primarily, their free version allows unlimited participants.  This single feature can be extremely useful for those teaching larger classes.  Other benefits of the free version are unlimited presentations and access to the Mentimeter Help Center.  However, the free version does have some limitations.  For instance, it only allows 2 questions per presentation and no more than 5 quizzes.

Mentimeter’s paid upgrades also have some useful enhanced features, including (1) Smartphone presentation control; (2) Easy navigation between presentation slides, student voting, and Q&A monitoring; (3) PowerPoint import feature, which allows you to use existing PowerPoints with Mentimeter assessment features.  In addition to PowerPoint, users can also upload PDF or Keynote files.

For those who prefer to present from a podium, both Windows (PowerPoint 2016 – Office 365 with the Mentimeter plug-in) and Mac’s users can easily toggle or swipe to move between a presentation and the Mentimeter application.

Mentimeter as a single app easily supports interactive lecturing.  Use Mentimeter to start class with an icebreaker activity, encourage discussion between concepts, assess learning, and monitor student questions in real-time.  Mentimeter is also a great reflection tool at the end of an activity, a class or the course.

Most of all, Mentimeter is inclusive, fun and a great way to increase learning.  It is a tool that helps engage everyone in the course while providing the instructor with real-time feedback to quickly assess and correct gaps in knowledge.

To learn more about Mentimeter or set up your free account, go to https://www.mentimeter.com/Mentimeter also has a blog that shares various presentation and teaching tips https://www.mentimeter.com/blog.

©2020 TeachingandLearningToolbox.com

 

2019 Year End Review

Toolbox

As our semester and 2019 come to a close, we feel that it is a great opportunity to reflect upon the fantastic technology tools and topics that we explored throughout the year.  A great resolution for 2020 is to integrate one of these tools into your classroom environment.

Doodlyhttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/01/

Integrating Data Analytics https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/02/

Google Keephttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/03/

Piazzahttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/04/

Sli.dohttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/05/

Identity Guardhttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/06/

Integrating Data Analytics #2 https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/07/

Let’s Get Ready for the New Academic Year – https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/08/

Go Soap Boxhttps://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/09/

Doceri (Revisited)https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/10/

Formative https://teachingandlearningtoolbox.wordpress.com/2019/11/

We look forward to exploring more teaching and learning technology tools in 2020.

© 2019 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

Formative: A Real-Time, Robust Assessment Tool To Improve Learning!

Markus and I have been a fan of Kahoot (June 2016) and Kahoot Challenges (November 2017) for some time. While Kahoot is a fun way for students to learn and instructors to easily assess learning, there are times when a more robust assessment tool is desired.  Formative is that tool.  Formative is an easy to use, web-based, real-time student response and assessment tool that works well with any device and any type of delivery method (traditional lecture, flipped classroom, hybrid or online).  It allows you to track student learning over a period of time, rather than a single activity.  Formative offers closed and open-ended question options, plus provides immediate feedback, if desired, to support deeper learning.

Formative connects in-class and out-of-class activities together.  It also gives students the opportunity to try, fail and try again.  Markus and I both feel that providing students an opportunity to fail in a safe environment is essential to the learning process.

Formative is a multifaceted tool.  You can use it for assessing student pre-work, supplement interactive lecturing, collect class exit ticket data, enhance reflection activities or simply reinforce class concepts outside of class.  Formative gives students the chance to demonstrate their understanding of concepts through closed-ended questions (Multiple Choice or True False) or open-ended questions with written and/or show your work responses.

As an instructor or program assessment coordinator, you can use the data collected with Formative to improve course delivery immediately or over a period of time.  Formative eliminates the guesswork involved in traditional methods of teaching.  It provides real-time feedback to both the student and the instructor.

The basic version of Formative is free and works quite well for a single instructor. When upgrading to the premium version, you will receive several other features such as cheating detection, enhanced questions with audio, auto-grading, class lock, emoji feedback, randomized questions, and results, answer images, printing for non-tech environments, student to instructor feedback, unlimited progress tracking, unlimited PDF/Word Document uploads, unlimited report exports, default points, customized assignment options, batch scoring and feedback as well as the ability to add answers while grading.

Student access to Formative is also easy.  Students can join your Formative class with a class code or URL.  For schools that use Clever or Google Classroom, Formative integrates easily with these applications.

Formative has a few different ways to monitor student progress, including real-time formative feedback or a student growth tracker. If you want to add learning scaffolding to your course, Formative allows you to provide as many or as few resources as desired.  For instance, when a concept is introduced, you may want to provide students with more supporting resources.  However, as concepts and students evolve, you may decide to use fewer supporting resources and let students work and think more on their own.  Formative is ideal for course or program assessment as it allows you to track by standards or learning outcomes.

To learn more about Formative, go to https://community.goformative.com/videos to view any of the free tutorial videos or you can go to https://goformative.com/ to set up your free account!

©2019 TeachingandLearningToolbox.com

 

 

Doceri – (Revisited)

Doceri

Are you looking for a classroom tool to better engage your students?  Doceri is a terrific engagement tool that Cathy and I have utilized for several years in our on-campus and online class environments.  Doceri is a professional interactive whiteboard tablet app with sophisticated tools for hand-drawn graphics and built-in remote desktop controls. Doceri has the ability to transform your classroom projector into a moving interactive white board.  Doceri allows instructors to record and post lectures for flipped and online class sections, prepare online course orientation videos, and develop problem solution demonstration videos.  The recorded videos can be converted into an MP4 format and be uploaded into a Learning Management System or directly into YouTube.

In addition, Doceri offers The Doceri Certified Educator Professional Development Course. This course is a video training series created with the purpose of:

  • exposing the participant to all the features of the Doceri App and Desktop software.
  • show the participant how to use these features to teach live lessons as well as create Doceri projects for classroom presentation.
  • utilizing Doceri to create video lessons for student review or as part of a flipped classroom.

Also, Doceri will award a Certificate of Completion upon completion of the Doceri Training Course.

Doceri is available for both iPad and Windows.  The Doceri computer license, which includes the training course, is available for a one-time $30 fee.  The Doceri Desktop license key is a perpetual license and never expires, nor are there any subscription fees associated with this software.  Furthermore, Doceri provides a free trial version which allows users to evaluate Doceri for no cost for 30 days.

To view my course demonstration video, please visit the following link:  https://youtu.be/mwjkPLpbGco

For more information about Doceri (purchase and training course) go to the following link:  https://doceri.com/

© 2019 Teaching and Learning Toolbox

 

GoSoapBox to Enhance Classroom Engagement and Learning Assessment

Frequently, Markus and I are asked about the best technology to manage student Q&A’s during class.  In April 2018, we discussed Google Slides Q&A as a technology tool that allows students to ask questions as they occur while letting the instructor decide about the best time to answer those questions. This month we want to introduce another Q&A management technology and learning assessment tool called GoSoapBox.

GoSoapBox is a real-time response system that not only allows instructors to effectively manage student Q&A’s, but also provides students an opportunity to prioritize which questions are the “muddiest points”.  Questions with more student votes, move up the Q&A list.  This makes it easy for the instructor to visually determine which questions to answer in the current class session, the next class session, or through the course Learning Management System (LMS).

Another GoSoapBox feature is the Confusion Barometer.  The Confusion Barometer lets students indicate when they need more clarification about a topic.  The Confusion Barometer provides the instructor with immediate visual feedback about the student learning happening in class. It also allows the instructor to easily identify the number of students who may be confused.

In addition to GoSoapBox’s Q&A feature, additional functions include polling, quizzing, and discussions.  GoSoapBox combines a lot of standalone technology features into one, easy to use technology tool.  Need support?  GoSoapBox offers a free Support Center with FAQs or there is also a Contact Us option.

Like most of the technology tools Markus and I discuss, GoSoapBox has a free version for classes of 30 or less.  If you teach larger class sections, there are upgrade options available: (1) Medium classes (31-75), (2) Large classes (76-150) and (3) Huge classes (151 – 400) classes.  Markus and I tend to have students work a lot in groups; therefore, the free version of GoSoapBox would accommodate up to 30 groups.

GoSoapBox is a cloud-based application and will work on almost all devices that can access a web browser; such as laptops, desktops, Macs, Windows, iPads, iPhones, iPods, Androids, etc.  There is nothing for students to download, install or sign up for.  Instructor’s simply set up an “event” that students can join, then provide students with the event access code.

If you are looking for a way to give all students a voice as well as keep track of the learning pulse in your classroom, GoSoapBox is a great tool to add to your teaching toolbox.  GoSoapBox removes some of the barriers of student engagement and provides instructors with a real-time understanding of student comprehension and learning needs.

Are you ready to try GoSoapBox? Visit https://app.gosoapbox.com/ to get started!

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