Digital Feedback + Audio Option

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Callahan et al. (1997) wrote in Teaching in the middle and secondary schools that teachers should include both formative and summative assessment in their lesson plan design.  They describe formative assessment as a barometer for student learning and summative assessment for discovering which learning objectives have been achieved by students.  

I read the above mentioned book as a part of my own teacher preparation from the late 90s.  I put those forms of assessment to their own test during micro lessons with peers and advisers and even refined them when it came time to design my own lessons independently for student teaching.  The objective for this blog post is to examine modern touches to assessment with digital tools like Kaizena.com. 

Formative assessment in the world language classroom takes on several forms.  Listening closely to 3-5 pairs during communicative activities and rephrasing answers gently in target language (Spanish, in my case) was more common in novice levels.  In an intermediate setting (Spanish 4 or SPAN 1003 equivalent), formative assessment includes observing small groups discuss the setting of a short stories and connections between characters after the first night of assigned reading.  I then marked on participation charts noted with a score of 0-3 based on what I heard.  Summative assessment, on the other hand, was often times a chapter exam that always included the student-favorite listening sections delivered by native speakers.  Novice language learners were sometimes checking off boxes of characteristics that were true for described people. Meanwhile, in intermediate classes students analyzed pros and cons for categories of cars.  Here, both forms of assessment usually took on a form of paper — sometimes half pages and other times packets of pages.

Since Spring Semester 2016 began, my M.Ed. and Ph.D. students and I have engaged in an updated format of assessment in a newer online tool called Kaizena.  Previously in my teacher preparation courses, students received comments and feedback via text resources in our learning management system (LMS), Moodle.  Students usually turned in assignments as a .pdf or .docx format and I added feedback in the comments portion of the LMS.  Students also engaged in peer editing via Google Drive / Docs where comments were made on the margins with highlighted text driven by praise & push feedback (borrowed from a teacher friend, Vicki Cary).  And while these two digital formats have proven beneficial in practice, real opportunity exists for highly efficient feedback using Kaizena’s audio comment function.

For example, after I share how students register with their Google accounts in Kaizena (sorted by section) I now receive notifications when work has been turned in and when students have added to our private feedback conversation and/or class wall.  Each assignment now becomes a part of an ongoing dialogue throughout the term or semester.  Assignments uploaded as documents (.pdf, docx, etc.) help tighten up the conversation providing a clean look.  Once uploaded, teachers highlight text or paragraphs and have options to 

a) record audio feedback
b) add text comments
c) share lesson resources for common student pitfalls
d) assess specific skills focused on in class (e.g., citation)
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The fruits from this online conversation tool come from the back-and-forth dialogue between teacher and student.  The teacher easily adds a question or comment to the conversation during assessment and the student receives a notification.  Now, before the grade is even posted, the introductory paragraph has been thoroughly explained and clarified by both parties.  

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This type of online feedback may serve as a part of first-draft conversation or to help improve a final draft moving forward to upcoming assignments. The Kaizena.com website is chock-full of resources, tutorials and is complemented well by YouTube tutorials done by grateful educators.  Kaizena.com is a tool affords more opportunity for efficient student feedback and memorable commentary and is definitely worth exploring the site and iOS app.

Callahan, J.F., Clark, L.H., & Kellough, R.D. (1997).  Teaching in the middle and      secondary schools (6th ed.).  Columbus, OH: Pearson Education.

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Additional Online Curricular Access for All Students

Each week my graduate students in Tech Tools for In-service P-12 Educators log in for a summary of what is happening for the week.  An agenda packed with oodles of resources and links, explanations, video demonstrations and encouragement greets them to help facilitate their learning.  Recently, a note from a peer in Learning Technologies, Sonny, shared an easy way to edit automated transcriptions to be added to such YouTube videos.  Why would I take the extra half hour to edit such a video for my students?  My rationale is explained in two key areas:
1. Increased Comprehension for Nonnative Speakers
Several students in my current class are international students.  I also benefit from such a tool when accessing authentic resources online from other countries.  A closed captioned video helps a novice learner survive when looking for key words in the target language while helping a superior learner hone high level vocabulary.  Said advanced learner can use online reference tools like wordreference.com to clarify in a cultural video about Holy Week celebrations that torrejas are similar to a fried French toast traditionally served at Easter time in Spain.  Both learners benefit from taking specific vocabulary out of video and into another context.
2. Curricular Access for All Students
My classes vary between face-to-face, hybrid and online deliveries for courses that I teach.  Similarly, my students vary in terms of strengths and challenges that they bring to the table.  Twenty-seven minutes of my time is well spent when it helps a nonnative speaker of English understand more about expectations for the week.  No matter the language, teachers can now easily bring in subtitles from YouTube generated in many languages. I am now carving 30 minutes simple for tweaks in transcription to help iron out some language wrinkles when I send out agendas.

How can you close caption videos?
See the steps laid out below on how to generate and edit closed captioned subtitles in your YouTube videos:
1. Load a video in YouTube like you may already do.
2. Choose the  Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 12.28.49 PM button in the lower left part of your video screen after entering your channel and selecting the video you want to close caption.  Please note that this won’t work to edit when you click CC when viewing a video from another channel.
3. Next, you can choose which subtitles to add.  It saves me time to edit the automatic subtitles provided by YouTube.  I do that by clicking on English (Automatic) which provides me with a transcript of my YouTube video.

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4.   Next, click <Edit> in order to make changes to the transcript.  And when I’m finished, I click on <Publish edits>.  Please note that both of these buttons are located below the transcript in the lower right.

Check out an example of what edited CC looks like by clicking on my Session 8 Agenda video below.
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grd4XtAi9vI

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PD All Year via Twitter

I hesitated to use Twitter as an educator. My knee-jerk reaction was that my 140-character updates like:

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would fall short of trending on the social network. However, what I found after digging is that Twitter holds an impressive amount of professional development (PD) opportunities, resources and connections for educators.

First, Twitter is an exciting way to connect with like-minded educators. For example, in the world of second language pedagogy, teachers using a delivery style like Total Physical Response Storytelling (TPRS) can quickly search to find posts from other storytelling teachers by searching “#TPRS.” There, teachers will find notices for upcoming TPRS conferences, resources suggested by both pedestrian and prominent figures from the field, job postings and even pictures and videos of TPRS in action.

One of the many beauties of Web 2.0 and apps like Twitter is our role as contributor. This year, educators checked in at the Central States Conference on Foreign Language Teaching by using the hashtag #csctfl15 in Minneapolis. On Twitter, teachers pitched their breakout sessions, hyperlinked handouts, invited others in the their network to join in special sessions and even to unique social outings connected to the conference.

It was at this very same conference that I had a recent “first” that I didn’t see coming. Someone who follows me on Twitter spotted me at the conference and told me that they were looking forward to my Saturday session. I reminded them that I had uploaded the handouts to the conference page and also had tweeted the link. What took me back the most about this experience is that I had never met this person face-to-face and yet they called me by name.  This person knew my online presence and about my identity as an educator before we even shook hands.  As a result, Twitter is making the world smaller and educators even more connected.

Undoubtedly P-12 professional development budgets are tight. Some teachers are left to pay for PD out of their own pockets to maintain their teaching license and others do so because it’s the right decision to keep current in the profession.   Twitter can help focus your professional development goals, connect you to professionals in your field and even to future friendships. Ask a friend or family member who uses Twitter to help you navigate its possibilities. Video tutorials are readily available at YouTube to help you unlock this powerful PD tool to help engage in our unique vocation of teaching & learning. Follow me on Twitter by searching for me @dboecker or by visiting http://www.twitter.com/dboecker.

Easy-to-follow video tutorial on Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) & Twitter by Ashley Cross (@ashly2499)

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Student Presentation Clincher!

 

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During Spanish 4 class today, three students gave a nice 20-25 minute presentation (all in target language) on Leftist Leaders of Venezuela. What impressed me most wasn’t showcased until the very end. After a classic presentation of rich, detailed notes about dictatorship, communism and violence in Venezuela came a fabulous, student-led tech activity where presenters invited student audience members to participate in a Kahoot! online activity. Its name didn’t disappoint – it was simply a Kahoot!
Students participated in a quiz show format as a wrap up activity after the presentation had ended. This was a way for the student presenters to gauge how effective their presentation was. Audience members were given a code to enter at kahoot.it where students logged in via phone and tablet and answered 7 multiple choice questions earning more points based on the speed and accuracy of answers. The highly competitive 7-minute activity was well received and highly engaging.
Cheers to students taking risks with technology to enhance a presentation and other content teachers for modeling this tool!

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¿Qué tal la semana? A weekly video check-in

Leading with the task
A friend recently clearly put into words my thoughts connected to integrating technology that seems to resonate with language teachers. Lauren recently encouraged teachers in her session to “lead with the task.” So often I hear at meetings, “Daryl, I got a cart of 10 iPads for my world language classroom. What do I do with them?” My first question is usually the same, “What do you hope for your students to do with them?” My question invites teachers to lead with the task that you want to students to do as a result of working with technology. For years, I have preached to colleagues to let the pedagogy drive when choosing a tool. So often, we hear first about the tools of technology and my initial reaction is to ask, “How can my students use that tool to meet and exceed standards in my Spanish 1 classroom?”
After reviewing my TELT blog, I too have committed the error of not leading with the task. I noticed it after the titles shout names of tools, sites, devices where I should instead be illuminating the goal for students to achieve as a result of working with such a tool. Moving forward, I hope to continue focusing on the task at hand instead of the shiny aluminum tool that houses the work.
Weekly Check-in
Students start sweating at the mention of the 10-12 minute interview early on in Spanish 4 (SPAN 1003 Intermediate). When listening to student interviews that connect to a theme (fashion & art, technology & progress, etc.) from one chapter uncovered during our 18 weeks together, I’m carefully listening for control of past, present and future tenses. Questions from our conversation prompt students to show mastery of all three. One way to help students prepare for such an interview is to require 4 weekly check-ins that I call ¿Qué tal la semana? or How was your week? Students share in detail about what happened earlier on in the week, what’s going on today and what they are looking ahead to for that week. Recordings last 2-3 minutes on average and I find that I learn a lot more about students than if I hadn’t asked for this assignment. Students can capture these weekly check-ins with a variety of tools. First, mailvu.com offers a stand-alone video message to be emailed or sent as a link. Two other examples is when students create a folder in Google Drive called Michael Student videos. Videos from tablets or webcams can be added and synced to the folder making it viewable to me (or anyone that Michael cares to share the folder with). Similarly, students can share their large video files with me via a Dropbox folder. The richest part of this assignment is how much I learn about their lives and context. I am certain that I would know less about my students if I didn’t assign these check-ins.

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April 11, 2014 · 9:16 pm

The Role of Technology

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I was thrilled to accept an invitation from my adviser, Dr. Cassie Scharber (pictured above on the left) to help at a panel and dialogue surrounding the role of technology in education.  A fantastic evening was spent at the TPT studios in downtown St. Paul where educators, researchers, students, parents/guardians and supporters of education dialogued about the role that technology has in enhancing learning in authentic contexts.  Clips from the movie, “Is School Enough” were paired with panelists representing several educator contexts that fueled discussions between students, teachers, parents/guardians and researchers where tough questions were posed and answered.  This adds such a rich element to the role of technology — authenticity.  This component is so far beyond the latest and greatest apps.  Instead it pushes us to consider aspects where teens are learning from other teen and/or community experts.  See the full movie, “Is School Enough” at http://video.tpt.org/video/2365073145/.  Educators, be ready to be challenged.

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Interaction at the whiteboard

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I feel like the interactive whiteboard (IWB) in my classroom got used to its fullest today.  The typical activities today like checking the homework against the posted key and writing out a warm-up activity happened.  However, after that, two activities highlighted the use of the IWB in students’ hands.
1) First, students gave instructions to the neighbor on how to travel from A to B using the Madrid metro lines (subway).  Students identified what they thought the map was, guessed on what kinds of attractions might be nearby and planned a route between two points.  Students had a short list of new vocabulary and then explained to their partner their plans.
2) Next, students used the online resource, http://www.360cities.net/.  It was there that students navigated through a panoramic café scene explained what happened in the past tense.  Some commented on what the relationship was between the women seated at the restaurant table while others demanded a response to why there were mannequins on the patios above the storefronts.
Overall, it was refreshing to see technology in students’ hands and a high percentage of target language used by both the instructor and the students.

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