Classroom Assessment Tools

There are two main forms of assessment often used in the classroom – Formative Assessment and Summative Assessment. Both these forms of assessment evaluate student learning and assist instructors in guiding instructional planning and delivery. While the purpose of a summative assessment is to check for mastery following the instruction, formative assessment focuses on informing teachers in ways to improve student learning during lesson delivery. Assessment  is easier and with all the digital tools and apps now available for mobile devices it’s even easier. There are free or inexpensive and help teachers implement  assessment techniques in the classrooms.

1. Socrative Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational games and exercises via smartphones and tablets. The apps are super simple and take seconds to load and run. Teachers control the questions and games on their laptop, while students respond and interact through their smartphones/laptops.  

2. Poll Everywhere Teachers can create a feedback poll or ask questions. Students respond in various ways and teachers see the results in real-time.

3. ThatQuiz It’s a free online non-commercial resources for teachers and students, there are built in quizzes for math, science, language arts, and social studies, which are adjustable in both difficulty and length. The interface has not been limited by the pre-built and allows educators to make their own tests covering any subject and set of questions. It allows for multiple languages.

4. I>Clicker A device that helps facilitate all student response to polls, questions and other teacher-led discussions.

5. Testmoz Generate automatically graded online tests with 4 questions types. Great for professionals and K-12! No need to register to create tests.

6. ExamTime Quizzes Testing yourself, or having your friends or teachers,challenge you to a Quiz is also a fun way of learning. ExamTime have study tools to help you study and build your quiz.

7. Edmodo Edmodo provides a safe and easy way for your class to connect and collaborate, share content, and access homework, grades and school notices. The goal is to help educators harness the power of social media to customize the classroom for each and every learner.

8. Online Quiz Creator With online quiz creator it’s easy to make a quiz, exam or assessment in less than five minutes.

9. Twtpoll It offers a lot of different options for your survey needs: from a simple poll (one-question surveys) to complex multi-page surveys. From #Hashtag Surveys to quizzes.

10. Gnowledge It is a new free site designed for creating and taking tests/exercises. The features include sharing tests and results with social network, tracking progress, rating a test, searching a test by subject or grade level.

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Personal Learning Network

A personal learning network is an informal learning network that consists of the people a learner interacts with and derives knowledge from in a personal learning environment. In a PLN, a person makes a connection with another person with the specific intent that some type of learning will occur because of that connection.Teachers are creative people who thrive when able to collaborate and share their ideas. A  Personal Learning Network is a tool that uses social media and technology to communicate, collaborate and create with connected colleagues anywhere at any time.

The best tech tools for building a good personal learning network are online social networks, education-focused websites, and apps for tablet computers and mobile devices. Twitter is one of the best platforms for creating and growing your personal/professional learning network (PLN). Twitter is about connecting with others as part of a global community who will help you with your learning, improving your lessons, helping your students connect with other students and content experts. For teachers, this means you have access to thousands of teachers around the world with rich backgrounds and experiences that can contribute to your professional growth.

The following social media tools are important to build your PLN.

  • Twitter: Perfect for finding people to add to your PLN, participating in chats, and sharing what you’ve found, Twitter is one of your most powerful tools for growing and maintaining a personal network. Educators can chat, collaborate, and connect through Twitter chats like #edchat and #edmeet.
  • Classroom 2.0: In this networking group, you can get connected with other educators who are interested in Web 2.0, social media, and more in the classroom.
  • Ning: On Ning, you can create your own social website to bring your PLN together all in one place.
  • Diigo: Collect, highlight, remember, and share all of the great resources you find online with your PLN on Diigo, and annotation and online bookmarking tool.
  • Slideshare: On SlideShare, you can upload presentations to share with your personal learning network.
  • Facebook: Another powerhouse for PLNs, Facebook is a great place to connect, share, and grow your network.
  • Scribd: Read, publish, and share documents on Scribd with your PLN, whether you’re sharing classic novels or lectures you’ve delivered. Plus, you can find documents and get connected with their owners.
  • Yahoo! Answers: Find and share information, connect with others, and build upon your personal learning network on this popular answers site.
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a great place for education professionals to get connected.
  • Quora: Quora offers a professional place to share your knowledge and grow your network.
  • Google+: Google+ is a growing network that offers lots of great possibilities for developing PLNs.
  • Pinterest: Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ get a lot of love from personal learning networks, but Pinterest offers a great way to find other educators, and great resources.
  • Delicious:  Delicious makes it easy to share what you’ve found and find new followers for your PLN.

For many of us, becoming a connected educator transform our lives. We have access to networks of experts and peers invested in improving education practices and willing to share their favorite tools, resources, and strategies.

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10 Interesting Chemistry Experiments

Chemistry is a fascinating science full of unusual trivia! Here’s my list of interesting Chemistry Experiments:

1. Elephant Toothpaste

Elephant toothpaste is a foamy substance caused by the rapid decomposition of hydrogen peroxide. Concentrated (30%) hydrogen peroxide is first mixed with liquid soap. Then a catalyst, often potassium iodide, is added to make the hydrogen peroxide decompose very quickly. Hydrogen peroxide breaks down into oxygen and water. As a small amount of hydrogen peroxide generates a large volume of oxygen, the oxygen quickly pushes out of the container. The soapy water traps the oxygen, creating bubbles, and turns into foam.

2. Giant Koosh Ball in Liquid Nitrogen

Liquid nitrogen boils at negative-321° F, so as soon as it comes into contact with the plastic toy, it sucks away most of its heat, leaving it cold and brittle.

  1. Diet Coke and Mentos

Each Mentos candy has thousands of small pores on its surface which disrupt the polar attractions between water molecules, creating thousands of ideal nucleation sites for the gas molecules to congregate. In non-science speak, this porous surface creates a lot of bubble growth sites, allowing the carbon dioxide bubbles to rapidly form on the surface of the Mentos.

  1. Grow Rock Candy

When you mixed the sugar in with the water, and repeatedly heating it, you created a super saturated solution. A supersaturated solution means that there are far more dissolved particles, or solutes (in this case, sugar), than the solvent (water) can normally dissolve. By mixing the sugar into hot water, instead of room temperature or cold water, the sugar stays suspended longer within the water without settling onto the bottom. As the sugar begins to settle out, or sediment, it begins to crystallize.

  1. Chemical Garden

The Magic Rocks are chunks of metal salts that have been stabilized by being dispersed in aluminum hydroxide or alum. The magic solution is a solution of sodium silicate (Na2SiO3) in water. The metal salts react with the sodium silicate to form the characteristic colored precipitant. Link

  1. Chemical Clock

There are three steps in the process that cause this amazing reaction. When you prepare the Solutions A, B, and C, the chemicals begin to mix and form new chemical compounds. This is a very slow reaction, so you don’t see any outward changes. When you begin to pour the solutions together a much faster reaction occurs, which leads to the third reaction which is instant. Suddenly, and immeasurably quickly, the clear liquids turn into a jet black iodine-starch complex. These reactions happen at different intervals because different chemicals react at different speeds. Link

  1. Milk and Soap Reaction

Dish soap, because of its bipolar characteristics (nonpolar on one end and polar on the other), weakens the chemical bonds that hold the proteins and fats in solution. The soap’s polar, or hydrophilic (water-loving), end dissolves in water, and its hydrophobic (water-fearing) end attaches to a fat globule in the milk. This is when the fun begins. Link

8. Gummy Bear and Potassium Chlorate Reaction

The thermal decomposition of potassium chlorate produces potassium chloride and an excess of oxygen, which is sufficient to ignite the Gummi bear. The heat produced continues to decompose the potassium chlorate resulting in a very rapid combustion reaction. Link

9. Briggs-Rauscher reaction

The Briggs–Rauscher oscillating reaction is one of a small number of known oscillating chemical reactions. It is especially well suited for demonstration purposes because of its visually striking colour changes: the freshly prepared colourless solution slowly turns an amber colour, suddenly changing to a very dark blue. This slowly fades to colourless and the process repeats, about ten times in the most popular formulation, before ending as a dark blue liquid smelling strongly of iodine. Link

10. Last but not the least, Mr. Bean Chemistry Experiment

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Sir Ken Robinson says “Schools Kill Creativity”

I found this brilliant 2006 TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson. In this incredible TED Talk, Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we’re educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.

Sir Ken Robinson argues that it’s because we’ve been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies — far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity – are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences.

Sir-Ken-Robinson-TED-Talk-Schools-Kill-Creativity

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“We are educating people out of their creativity,” Robinson says. It’s a message with deep resonance. Robinson’s TEDTalk has been distributed widely around the Web since its release in June 2006.

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Fair Dealing in Education

According to Duhaime’s Law Dictionary:

“Fair dealing means a limited exception to the exclusivity of intellectual property allowing fair critique or private study use of the protected material, and with appropriate acknowledgement”.

Copyright Matters! takes into account Canada’s new copyright law and recent Supreme Court decisions on fair dealing, and provides practical information for teachers on their rights and responsibilities with regard to the use of copyright-protected materials in educational institutions. Students, parents, and education administrators may also find it useful.

Fair dealing with a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work for the purposes of research for a non-commercial purpose does not infringe any copyright in the work provided that it is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgment.In the United States, fair dealing is referred to as fair use.

This is an on-line presentation on what teachers can and cannot do under the new copyright law.

Fair Dealings enables the use of copyrighted materials for the purpose of education, provided the use is “fair.”  Over the past few years, nearly every Canadian university, college and school board outside Quebec has adopted nearly “fair dealing” content use guidelines closely resembling those promoted by CMEC.

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Online Learning

Free online courses from educational platforms such as Coursera, co-founded by Daphne Koller in 2012, offer a way for learners in developing countries in particular to gain new technical skills or take the business classes that pave the way for a career change.

Coursera’s mission is “to give everyone access to the world-class education that has so far been available only to a select few,” and “to empower people with education that will improve their lives, the lives of their families and the communities they live in.”

Daphne Koller’s TED talk describes the free, huge online courses offered by elite universities, and what educators can learn from the successes and shortcomings of these courses. She is enticing top universities to put their most intriguing courses online for free — not just as a service, but as a way to research how people learn. With Coursera  each keystroke, quiz, peer-to-peer discussion and self-graded assignment builds an unprecedented pool of data on how knowledge is processed.

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Augmented Chemistry

Many students have problems learning and understanding chemistry. This is because they cannot imagine the spatial structure of the molecules which they are taught. The problem is, that teachers only have a two dimensional representation of the chemical molecules on the blackboard or on their slides. Understanding chemistry depends on understanding the spatial structure of the chemical parts.

Augmented Chemistry (AC) is an application that utilizes a tangible user interface (TUI) for organic chemistry education. Augmented Chemistry provides an efficient way for designing and interacting with the molecules to understand the spatial relations between molecules.

For students, it is very informative to see actual molecules representation based on the VSEPR theory in 3D environment, inspect molecules from multiple viewpoints and control the interaction of molecules. A set of interactive tools work within this system. Using these tools, elements can be chosen from a booklet menu and composed into 3D molecular models. The tools are one way towards seamless integration of the physical and digital realms. The system is based on inexpensive webcams and open-source software.

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