My husband sneakily took this picture of me in my classroom on the last day of school, working away on some last-minute grading and record-keeping. He took it because he wanted me to have some sort of momento of my classroom and last days as a teacher of younger humans. I have since torn down any posters or things that are clear evidence of "me" in the room, wanting the new teacher to make the room his own without the vestiges of my crazy ideas about education haunting him.
But it is hard to part with a room that's been mine for the last 9 years. Harder than I expected.
My actual last day of teaching came on Wednesday of last week, when I subbed for a teacher on the first day of summer school. They were future 9th graders taking Computer Applications
in the summer so they could get ready for the year ahead of them, a year of toting a netbook around with them to every class in their little netbook bags and being required to use the technology as a part of their learning experiences.
They were rowdy and rambunctious, but I could tell from the outset they were a bright and sharp group. A pre-assessment quickly revealed that they were familiar with Google Drive and social media, but not with the variety of creation and productivity tools available on the web, tools that have been available for years yet of which they have remained unaware for the last 9 years of their education. The concept of good digital citizenship was completely unknown to them. When we made blogs, a lot of them told me a previous teacher had made them make a blog in Blogger before, but there was little understanding of how blogs could be used for thinking, learning, and reflecting.
A lot of them wanted me to give step-by-step confirmation of what they were to do next on the computers, wanting me to tell them what to name things and where to put things. Many of them blew through activities in a race to get them done before anyone else. When I verbally quizzed them on what they were to have learned and all I got was blank stares, I made them do the activities again, and this time with an emphasis on slow and deliberate thinking. I had to get on my usual soapbox about focusing on learning over task completion. I also had to do some serious classroom management, especially when students laughed in my face when I tried to redirect them back on task.
But I saw some students start to take some risks when I refused to micromanage them, digging in to the directions and reading carefully. I saw students using search skills to look up pieces of information and then synthesizing them in order to figure out what it means to be a good digital citizen. I noticed some students engaged in some good discussions, and students helping other students use the netbooks without doing everything for them. I saw some students enjoy watching screencasts of directions, and also enjoy being able to work through a lesson at their own pace (and I enjoyed being free to roam and answer questions while they were watching them rather then being trapped in the front of the room hoping everyone was paying attention). I saw some of them starting to realize towards the end of our 4.5 hours together that this wasn't going to be run like their classes in the past.
In other words, it was a typical classroom experience for me.
I will miss every minute of it.
We are currently having discussions regarding how to improve the student transition from 8th to 9th grade. A lot of our 9th graders come in with the idea that they don't have to do any of the assignments given by teachers, and they come in without a lot of the study skills required to be successful. They don't know how to take notes on their own or persevere through tough problem-solving rich tasks that require a lot of time, effort, synthesis, application, and failure.
Knowing how my freshmen had struggled this year, today I asked my students in Physical Science what words of wisdom they would offer freshmen taking the joy that is Physical Science next year. Here's what one of them said:
"I would tell them that the school year is going to be hard and in science you learn to do things that you never thought you would know how to do, but you will get through the year. Looking back at things we did in the beginning of the school year, I remember thinking that they were the hardest thing in the world and Mrs.E was the smartest person I knew. High school is a BIG change from middle school and not all the kids are ready for it when they get here.
In other words, they aren't really ready for the demands that our high school places upon them.
Unfortunately, the suggestions that were offered in the discussion amongst adults to help our freshmen more easily transition leaned towards making things the same for them all. Making all freshmen take the same type of notes, making sure all freshmen teachers had the same amount of grades in the gradebook so they would have a harder time failing classes, making them do things on pen and paper rather than use technology because "there's just nothing like pen and paper." Everything was geared towards sameness.
Instead of standardization, how about preparation? Instead of trying to make things easier for students (and, in turn, easier for ourselves, really), why not teach students how to make the appropriate choices for their learning so they can actually be those "life-long learners" that are always mentioned in mission statements pasted on cinderblock walls? Instead of one-size-fits-all strategies, how about differentiation and teaching students several strategies from which to choose--and having them reflect and give feedback on the strategy they chose and whether it worked for them in that particular learning instance?
How about we stop telling ourselves that students "just can't do that yet at their age" and start finding ways to enable them to do the thinking and learning we need them to do? Why don't we give the control to the students over their own learning instead of micromanaging/packaging them into learning that we feel is appropriate (or easiest) for them? Because when we start dictating how the page is laid out or what blanks to fill in or how to do anything in just one way, we're shoving them all into little boxes that teach students only helplessness and dependency on someone else to tell them how to do everything.
Don't believe me? Count how many times students ask you how you
want something written, typed, arranged, and organized. They are used to being micromanaged. But when we micromanage, we teach students that NOT thinking is what to do. Go ask someone else, they learn; they can do that thinking for you.
By the way, the student I quoted earlier was one with whom I tussled all year to try new things. I had to push her out of her comfort zone several times, and she shot me looks of frustration and said some pretty snarky things to me. I had to tell her often I wasn't smart (a fixed mindset
label)--I just took my learning into my own hands all of the time. I had to tell her that choosing from several web tools to do the same thing was a good thing after she kept wanting me to tell her the one she should use. When she told me what I was making them do was too much work, I thanked her for her opinion and told her to keep working. And never once did I ever accept that she couldn't do what I asked her to do.
And, in the end, she realized she could do what she didn't think she was capable of doing. She had moved herself forward.
My Physical Science students are currently working on their final exam project. I am working on a longer post about the project itself (because I and my students have both learned so much from it), but I wanted to share one part of this project that has proven itself to be invaluable: screencasting for feedback. (I've given feedback to students through screencasts before as well; you can read about it here
When I set up this final exam project (you can check it out here
), I knew that I had to hold my students accountable in some way for what they did during the class period. Why? Because when I did something similar at the end of first semester, I didn't check in on their progress as often as I should have--and, as a result, a lot of students didn't have a whole lot done when they needed to. Thus, I decided to have them screencast for a minute or so at the end of each period so I could check in and see what they accomplished. Students had the choice of using Screenr
, and they turned in the link to their screencast in Edmodo
when they were finished. It really didn't matter which one they used to me (whichever one wasn't giving them the most headaches with Java), as long as they gave me about a minute of a verbal explanation of what they did that day along with showing me what they accomplished on screen. I didn't require that they be very long (I have about 50 Physical Science students, so I was trying to keep this manageable for an overnight feedback task on my part), but I did require that they be specific so I could give them specific feedback.
Below is an example of a screencast from one of my students, screencasting her step-by-step solution to the problem in a mindmap that students made:
Here is another student, screencasting how he is planning on making a commercial intended to persuade his viewers that his solution is worth a shot:
But I am a compulsive feedback giver (just not always giving it the right way, unfortunately
), so I also started giving kids feedback on what they showed me in their screencasts in Edmodo using Edmodo's assignment comment feature.
My students were (and are still) digging it. They like being able to log into Edmodo at the start of class, read what I wrote, and then get busy fixing and working, working and fixing. They are honoring and using the feedback I give, even if I just ask annoying questions so they figure out the direction to take their project or simply state what I don't see so they have to figure out what it is they need to include.
But I dig it too, for different reasons. I caught on early to the students that weren't doing much in class and took care of it, because I actually got to see with my own eyeballs what they did that period on their computers. I heard them try and talk about their presentations, and gave them feedback on their extemporaneous speaking skills. I saw that some students tried to make a presentation crammed with text rather than make a commercial that persuades, so I pulled out a few example commercials from YouTube to show them. ("Sell it, don't tell it!" has become my final exam battle cry.) I stopped students from planning to just screencast their mindmaps as their commercial, and stopped others from recording themselves talking in multiple one-minute segments in WeVideo
. I noticed a huge gaping absence of science concepts, which they all should be using to support their solution in their videos--so they revisited their I can statements and the mindmaps they made where previous connections had been made without sounding like they were pelting me with lists of science stuff.
I noticed all of what I just described from some one-minute videos. I'd say that's a huge return on the time investment spent watching them after school every day.
I like doing this because I know where my students are at and can help them get to where they need to be, just like any other student artifact that is viewed for formative assessment purposes--this one is just visual and spoken rather then written. I'm not doing any fixing for them; only viewing their visual evidence and giving them some verbal arrows to point them in the right direction.
How they get to the end and what they make to show their final evidence of understanding, however, is still up to them.
I have read about effective feedback
. I try to give feedback on student work in a quality manner, I really do. I try to limit it to what I observe, make it actionable and goal-oriented, and limit the amount of advice I give that takes all of the reflectivity and thinking out of the process for students.
But sometimes I forget, and do stupid things like ask questions.
My students are working on integrating science stuff in the context of problem-solving for their final exam projects right now (more about those projects later). They screencast where they are with their solutions at the end of each period, and I watch/listen to them each night, leaving feedback for them on the assignment in Edmodo
For some reason, last night I felt the need to ask questions of each student after reading their rough drafts of their solutions, giving them questions for consideration before they work on fixing and finalizing their solutions. I diligently listened, watched, and tippity-tapped away for two hours, and then asked students to honor my feedback by reading it and making changes based on that feedback. Their instructions were to research the questions and use that research to create a step-by-step solution.
As soon as I let students loose on their feedback, about half of them either pulled up a Google Doc or pulled out a sheet of paper and began copying my questions down. One student shyly raised her hand and asked me, "When do you want these questions turned in? By the end of the period?" A few other students then asked me something similar.
I was floored.
Sometimes the problem with asking questions is that students act out the script they have memorized for years: Teacher asks questions, student answers them and turns them in. Stimulus, response. Factory-model trained, with no experience with having "knowing stuff" be the first step to real learning rather than the only step.
Next time I will know better than to ask questions when giving feedback.
I will miss collaborating with my colleagues next year when I step out of my classroom and into an administrative role. I miss it even now while I have a student teacher; I feel like a part of my teacher brain has gone all soft and runny. However, I am going to start teaching again in a few weeks, so my colleague cornered me in our prep room today and made me do some work for once. (She's good for that.)
We started brainstorming what we would like the final exam project to be in our Biology classes. Our collaboration is an odd dance, really, but it works for us. It starts out silently, with me thinking and writing and scratching out and complaining that I need more time to think and then me walking around somewhere trying to get ideas to shake loose and solidify in my head.
And then the talking begins. She and I bounce ideas of each other, tell each other to stop when we get confused, we clarify, we shake our heads, we disagree, we nod in agreement with ideas, and we scribble things down so our brains won't forget them, and we cross things out. Sometimes we make "ooooWEEooo" noises when we both have the same idea at the same time, and screaming often erupts when we get excited about an idea we have ("FAMILY TREES OF THE FUTURE! THAT'S IT!"). And then we scribble some more.
Our collaboration doesn't come prepackaged and canned. It can't be taught at a workshop. It's messy and organic. Sometimes we walk away more frustrated than productive. It's face-to-face, no technology involved. Sure, we use technology to collaborate on web pages and documents, but only after the collaborative nuttiness has ensued.
But that's just how we collaborate. It's what we do, it's how we've learned to operate after 6 years together.
It's how we've learned to learn from each other, because true collaboration is learning.
The question that I ask myself now is this: How do I get my students to the point of true collaboration without forcing my contrived group work upon them? And further, how do I train them out of the idea that "working in groups" means sitting together but working separately to create Frankensteined products that can be easily separated if I pull them apart at the seams?
How do I get students to realize that it's the talking, not the product, that produces the most learning during collaboration? I don't know if I can in the 6 short weeks we have left. But I'm bound and determined to try.
**This post is a bit of a science teacher rant. I apologize for that, but this is something I just had to get out of my brain.
So you've taught these 15 year-olds lots of big impressive science words.
Plasmolysis, molarity, electronegativity, hypotonic, hypertonic, tonicity, hydrophobic, hydrophilic, and many more multisyllabic big ol' science words that are deemed important by you for them to know.
You've taught them other stuff, too--like the structure of the plasma membrane and the parts of eukaryotic cells, having them dutifully label all of their parts; the molecular structure of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates; the causes of microevolution; how energy flows through energy pyramids. All sorts of important science stuff.
They've done labs and worksheets and taken copious amounts of notes you've projected at them on the overhead screen. You've filled their little heads with facts and science stuff and big words.
And then you give them an assessment with questions that contain bigger, unfamiliar words, that ask them to apply in ways they've never practiced in your labs, worksheets, and notes. To increase the rigor further, you even make them answer questions that are given to college students. But they're all multiple choice questions, because, after all, those are objective measures of understanding.
You say this is how you're teaching them to think critically. How so? By not teaching them how to do that at all until the day of the test? By focusing on the science stuff during class and then expecting them to have the thinking skills when you're taking a final measure of what they know, understand, and are able to do?
It just doesn't make any sense to me. And it's not doing right by the students. Teaching them content and measuring how well they can think with the content are two admirable goals; however, how can you measure the latter when you've only focused on cramming students with the former? The assessment professor in me wants to ask exactly what that says about the validity of the inferences you can draw from your assessment results. The high school teacher in me wants to ask this: if you're assessing how they think, shouldn't they be practicing that before the assessment?
The student in me wants to ask why you're making them learn all this science stuff presented as a series of isolated facts, words and concepts at all.
But let's take this one step further: Why do they even need to know those words in the first place? What's the point? Are they learning them just to learn them, because you love them so much you think all students should know them? To prepare them just in case they choose later on to take a higher science course? Or are they learning them to do something with them, to create something new, to apply them to something they are passionate about?
Are you making all those big fancy science words and concepts matter to those 15 year-olds?
Yes, making it matter is harder. It's messier. And you're not going to be good at it at first. I'm still trying to find what matters to my students, and that can change depending on what 30+ kids are sitting in front of you each hour.
But you need to try.
All I'm asking is that you ask yourself why you do what you do in your classroom. And then I'm asking you to consider if the answers you give yourself are good enough, and are good for students.
Sometimes I look back on my life and wonder exactly how I got to where I am, because some of it certainly isn't where I intended to be.
I was the painfully shy kid in school. I took zeros in high school rather than do speeches because the very thought of public speaking sent me into a panic attack, but I have worked for the past 16 years in high schools getting up in front of younger humans on a daily basis. Heck, now I even give presentations at conferences to rooms full of awesome people I have never met before.
I said I would never get married, yet here I am going on 10 years of marriage. (And I never thought this suburban girl would marry a country boy. In fact, if you had pointed to my husband when I first met him in his cowboy boots and belt buckle and said he would be my future hubby, I would have laughed in your face.)
I said I would never be a department head or anything of the sort, but here I am, head of my department going on 6 years or so now.
I used to never take my students to a computer lab. But now I've taught in a 1:1 classroom for almost 3 years.
Being married to an administrator and watching what he has to deal with every day, I told myself I would never, ever be one myself. Not even after getting my administrative certificate did I have even the remotest interest in being one.
Never say never.
Admittedly, I have been a little restless for the past two years. Classroom teaching is my first love, and the only administrative position that piques my interest is one dealing with curriculum, instruction, and assessment. So, when someone told me of a small nearby district that was looking for someone to fill a similar position, I threw my name into the ring for consideration. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I told myself. I also told myself not to get my hopes up, because I'm just some nutty high school teacher with crazy ideas about how learning should be done. (And, since my husband attended this school district, he warned me (jokingly) that there might not be positive connotations over in that area for someone with my last name.)
But, to my surprise, they offered me the job. And I accepted.
Next year, my official title will be Director of Teaching & Learning. It's a new title at this district, created so I can make the position my own. It's a big job (it's a K-12 district), with big responsibilities and an equally large learning curve for yours truly. From what I've been told, I am to act as a "hub" of sorts for all of the building principals, work with and provide professional development for teachers, and be a part of all things curriculum, instruction, and assessment.
I have to be completely honest and say that I am very excited about the new challenges coming my way, frightened at all of the unknown I will face, and sad that I will no longer have a classroom of younger humans to call my own. But, as a wise woman
once told me, "You'll touch so many more students this way." And that's the main reason I accepted the position.
In a recent post
, I talked about how I am wanting to phase out multiple choice in my classroom. So what did I do at work most of last week?
Write a multiple choice test. The irony and frustration of this is not lost on me.
We implement common assessments in our building, which means that all teachers teaching the same course must develop all of the assessments for each unit, making sure they are aligned to our student objectives (I can statements) and that what students should know, be able to do, and understand are clear to us so we can make that clear to students. We do this because it does help us have some lively and interesting discussions at times--often in the past we have pushed our thinking about learning, teaching, and assessing in a way that helped some of us grow from the experience.
I like the process. I just don't care for the final assessment product: that multiple choice test.
I stated as much to a well-respected colleague of mine, right after my Biology students didn't do so hot on one of these multiple choice assessments. I hadn't given my usual multiple-choice formative assessments along the way during this past unit, so my students weren't as prepared as they could have been (should have been?). It's not that they tanked the assessment; they just didn't do as well as I had thought they would. We spent our time analyzing, creating, and writing during class rather than take multiple choice assessments. You could say that my end assessment didn't match my instruction. Bad teacher.
My colleague had given more multiple choice formative assessments throughout the unit, and her students had done better. But she also told me that we still needed to give multiple choice questions because they were going to have to take them not only in their junior year on the state standardized assessments, but also later in life. She pointed out that the driver's test our students take is multiple choice, and that even our teacher certification tests we take here in Illinois are multiple choice--and that a lot of professions have standardized tests people have to take in order to get licensed. Her point was that our students would be taking multiple choice tests in real life, so we should be preparing students for them now.
But doesn't the driver's test also have a performance component? Don't teachers still have to student teach, not only to learn but also to display competence? Don't other professions have internships and apprenticeships? Even Grant Wiggins' son
had to do the ultimate performance assessment to get a job, not some multiple choice test. If you read the postscript to that post, a health care professional describes what they do to make sure their new hires can perform to the standards required of them on the job in a real hospital--and nowhere in there does it mention taking multiple choice tests as being an adequate measure of their performance.
Don't students still have to do
in real life, not just fill in bubbles? Haven't they had enough practice at bubble-filling? And why are we letting multiple choice assessments become the end-all and be-all of how students demonstrate what they know? I guess I'm really railing at the bubble-riddled, it-could-be-a-guess-or-they-could-have-really-understood-it system that's in place.
But, really, what's more important: that students can successfully complete multiple choice tests, or that they are prepared with thinking, doing, and reasoning skills that they'll need to perform well in life? It also doesn't help that multiple choice tests are easier to administer and score, and come with a false veneer of objectivity that some tout as "better" than performance assessments. Yes, reading blogs and scoring short stories and looking at lab presentations and talking to students about what they know takes so much longer than whipping out a multiple choice test--but they give a much clearer picture as to what skills and understandings students actually
possess. The more I teach, the more I find that I don't really care that much about how well student do on our multiple choice tests--I find myself taking much more interest in what and how they're doing on their blogs, their labs, and other performance-type assignments. I find I'm caring more about what students can show me they can do and helping them get better at how well they do it rather than how many correct bubbles they can fill in on an answer sheet.
Because I spend most of my time in my dark, quiet science prep room these days while my student teacher slaves away setting up conditions for learning in my classroom, I get a little stir crazy from time to time. My colleague next door knows this, so she steals me every now and then to make videos for her flipped classroom. She started doing this because she recently attended a session with Jonathan Bergmann
at the ICE conference
, and one of his tips for making quality videos is that you make them with someone else. She decided that "someone else" would be me.
Now, I have seen teacher-made videos that are brimming with professional quality. Their cup runneth over with prettiness and video-editing proficiency. These videos have a shiny perfection that makes "oohs" and "ahhs" escape my lips without me even realizing it's happening. I am usually awed by their professional and educational goodness.
Our videos aren't like that. Nope. Not one bit. We obviously don't use fancy video software (although we would love to). We do practice and plan out our videos ahead of time, even if it doesn't look like it. Our videos aren't perfect, but we do try and focus on the objective and what students should be able to do when they have mastered it. Our videos may (will?) make you guffaw and cringe and roll your eyes. In fact, that's what they make my colleague's students do, so I'm pretty sure that's what you'll do when you watch the one we made recently below. (It's a little long; however, you should watch the end of the video below about making Bohr diagrams for a good laugh.)
It's pretty obvious that our videos are far from perfect.
But that doesn't matter to us. Her students report back to us that, while they really are cringe- and eyeroll-inducing, the videos we make together are more engaging. Why? Because, apparently, it is more interesting to watch us interact than a talking head babbling on and on about science. (By the way, I still find it fascinating that students are more engaged watching videos of us than watching us live and in person.)
What I'm interested in is the learning, however. I want to see if the learning is any different, better, or worse. It's hard to do, though, when you sit in a dark office all day. But my colleague is reporting positive results so far on her students' progress checks, so I'll have to take her word for it.
At least she lets me have a bit of fun (some say too much fun) during the day.
(I sincerely apologize for any damage done to your brain by our behavior at the end.)
Because my student teacher is now teaching all of my classes, I am currently without a classroom to call my own. This means that there are all sorts of cool ideas floating around in my brain that I would like to try in a classroom full of younger humans, but I can't. I can pass those ideas on (and I do) to my student teacher, but I don't want to overwhelm her. Besides, she is already doing a great job so far of using technology for learning.
So instead I decided to try out some of the things I have been wanting to use in my high school classroom in the graduate class on assessment that I teach for a local university. Today's weather gave me my first reason to try out some of these new things--in case you didn't know, we are currently encased in all this white stuff that keeps pouring from the sky, which forced me to cancel tonight's class. But I didn't have to cancel the learning, thanks to some great online technology tools.
Because my class only meets 8 times, I didn't want to just cancel class and try to cram two times the learning into a later session. So I decided to make a MentorMob
learning playlist for my students to work through until I see them at next week (barring any more March snowstorms, that is). Below is an example I made for my high school Physical Science class last year for your perusal (this was before I started trying to phase out multiple choice questions
as much as I could):
I have extolled the virtues of MentorMob as a useful tool for flipping your classroom before
; however, they have added some great features since last I visited that make it even more useful (or, at least they are new to me!). For example:
- Better Google Docs/Drive Integration. You can insert a lot of different types of media in a MentorMob playlist; however, when I first started putting in links to Google Docs, you couldn't view the document directly and MentorMob provided a button to open the document in a new window. Now documents can be viewed directly within the playlist.
- Challenge questions. Now you can insert what they call a "Challenge" question that will appear after a step. I like this as a quick check for understanding between each step (but they are multiple choice). The questions are optional, it looks like--when I just clicked the "X" button when a question popped up, it let me move on to the next step.
- Articles. Now you can write articles, or HTML documents, as steps, with the ability to upload images and insert links. I have used these to write directions for activities that I want students to do. To me, this is a nice feature because that means I don't have to go to my Google Drive, create a document, write in it, adjust the sharing settings....you get the idea. Most of the time I am in "have to get this done NOW" mode, and being able to write up an activity or directions from within a tool is a time-saving feature for me. (The only drawback is that, if the web tool you're using goes under or disappears, your activities might be gone with it unless you have them somewhere else.)
- Comments can be left for each step in the playlist--so discussions can be had. If I were using this in class, I would hijack the comments area as sneaky means of formative assessment, assigning topics for discussion at each step and peeking in at how well they can articulate concepts in their own words and defend their own positions and ideas.
There are other great features that MentorMob has released in the past year; for a great overview of all of MentorMob's great new features (plus a good how-to about making learning playlists), you can check out this article
Now, I have to be honest--MentorMob wasn't my first choice this time around; this is only because I had used it before and wanted to try something new. Specifically, I wanted to try out Edcanvas
, which looks like a great tool that could also be used for flipping your classroom. However, on the Linux machine where I was trying to create my first Edcanvas, I was unable to drag any media onto the canvas (not sure if this was because of Linux or because my computer was just being ornery). And, since I was in that "must get this done NOW" mode as per usual, I switched to MentorMob because it could get the job done when I needed it to get done. And I'm glad I did, because I became aware of their great new features.
But I still wanted to give Edcanvas a try so, when I managed to get in front of a Windows machine, I checked it out from top to bottom. Below is a sample one that I made for my grad students that I would have given to them if it had worked on my Linux machine:
Here's what I enjoyed about Edcanvas:
- Easy to use interface. It is literally "drag and drop;" the 30 second video you watch when you first sign up is literally all you really need to know. You just choose your type of media and drop it into whatever box you'd like it to go.
- You can insert a lot of stuff. YouTube videos, web links, files from your computer, photos from Flickr...you name it, you can insert it. It also can grab files from your Google Drive and Dropbox.
- You can just type text in a box, if that's what you need to do. That's what I did for step #8 in the canvas I made above; this is a useful feature akin to the "Article" feature in Mentormob to me. However, this isn't an HTML page; there's no inserting links or images. It's just straight-up text (although there is speech-to-text capability).
- You can type in instructions for each step. Below the title is a description you can edit; I think it's useful to put some brief instructions in there.
- Viewers can leave comments for each step, promoting discussion. If you select "Play Canvas," each step is then rotated through much like MentorMob's learning playlist. Again, just like MentorMob, I would put this feature to use as a formative assessment tool.
- You can embed the canvas in a website, or share just the link with your students. Just like a MentorMob playlist, they make it easy to share and distribute the learning. You can even adjust the privacy settings to let anyone view or only those with the link.
If you'd like to learn more about how to use Edcanvas, you can check out this video
or look at this how-to guide
Obviously, there's a lot to love about Edcanvas. The one obvious feature Edcanvas is lacking that MentorMob has is any sort of built-in assessment feature, but I'm sure that you can easily insert links to quizzes, progress checks, or whatever other type of assessment you prefer in one of the steps if your assessments have links that are easily obtained. One other fun fact I discovered is that you can insert a link to an Edcanvas into a MentorMob playlist--and you can insert a link to a MentorMob playlist into an Edcanvas. I love it when two playlist tools play nicely with each other.
Each of these tools has a lot going for it; which one you choose depends on what features you prefer in your online learning playlist tools. Either one has great potential to be useful in the flipped classroom or any classroom where you want students to shoulder more of the burden of learning.
They are also very useful on days when the graduate class you teach gets cancelled due to copious amounts of white stuff and you still want the learning to happen.Have you used either of these tools in your classroom? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments.