Saturday, April 18, 2020

Adding a Little of Me(me) to my Quizizz!

I have blogged about Quizizz many times. I love this tool for all the reasons articulated in these blog posts. One of the first things participants comment about (or laugh at) is the memes that show up after questions are answered. The memes were a way this outstanding tool distinguished itself from competitors from its inception. Quizizz has some standard, very recognizable memes that are randomly generated for right and wrong answers, but they also allow for custom collections of memes, too. Schools could have custom meme sets of principals or teachers saying encouraging or redirecting things, those familiar phrases that get uttered in schools. I have had this on my to-do list for too long to recall, but I finally did it during this time of #quaranteaching to bring some of me back into the lessons, to remind my students that I'm rooting for them. 

The thing that kept me from trying this until now is the labor in creating the memes. Actually Quizizz makes it easy - upload images and use their tool to add the text you see in standard memes. But taking pictures of myself? I am the least photogenic person I know. Just the thought of that turned me away. Today, in just about 20 minutes, I finally created my custom memes by using my Bitmoji to avoid the pesky photo issue. 

I started in Bitmoji on my iPad. I typed in some random phrases (Yes, No, Good work, Try again, etc) and searched for images that I thought would make my students laugh. Tapped on the image and saved it to my camera roll. Then I went into Quizizz. I clicked on Memes in the left index. I clicked on Create New meme Set

Then upload images for correct and incorrect answers. I selected 8-10 images for both and uploaded. I didn't add any text to the memes because the Bitmojis already had phrases on them, but it's very easy to add text to the top and bottom of your image. Just follow the onscreen prompts.

Once you have your set saved, you can select your own set of memes when you launch a game or assign one as homework. Incidentally, Quizizz practice has been an optional activity in my #quaranteaching every week since we began our distance learning, but students choose to do it every week. In fact, one week I messed up the assignment and a student emailed me to ask if I would fix it so she could play the game. Hopefully, when my students play this week's game, these memes will give them a laugh, something we all could use more of right now.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Rocketbook to the Rescue!

I first wrote about Rocketbook two years ago. Rocketbook is a paper and pencil notebook with an app that allows for seamless online storage. If you haven't seen Rocketbook in action, take a look at this introduction video:

I'm thinking about Rocketbook this week for two reasons. First, Rocketbook released a set of templates for teachers and students to use during #quaranteaching. This is awesome, and generous, because Rocketbooks are pricey (worth it, for sure, for a reusable notebook) and students won't want to spend $40 on a notebook during the economic disruption of the quarantine. They can print the free templates, complete schoolwork on them, and use the Rocketbook app to upload to cloud storage in "a fraction of a second."

The second thing that has me thinking about Rocketbook is that the College Board announced its changes for the 2020 Advanced Placement tests, including that students may either handwrite (and upload) or type their responses. If you teach a subject like math or chemistry, it's tempting to choose handwritten responses so time isn't wasted during an exam trying to figure out math or equation formatting. But, if students choose handwritten responses, they will also have to quickly upload work which might mean taking a picture with one device and moving it to a second device, or accessing the test on a phone where time could be wasted scrolling around so they can read an entire prompt.

Enter Rocketbook with their free templates. Here are the steps I would try to familiarize myself with if I were a student taking an AP test:

  1. Download the Rocketbook app (iOS or Android). During app setup, link one of the magic Rocketbook icons to a folder in Google Drive.
  2. Print out many copies of the desired Rocketbook free templates. With a lined, graph, or dot template, students can complete their work in whichever format makes sense for the test they are taking.
  3. Access the test on something with a large screen - iPad, laptop, desktop, chromebook. Students can notify the College Board this month if they need technology to access the test. Complete the work by hand on Rocketbook templates, marking the icon that is linked to the folder on Google Drive.
  4. When finished working, use the Rocketbook app to scan the pages and upload to Drive. Then move the work from Drive to the interface where they will need to be uploaded.
You might be wondering how this process would be better or faster than just taking a picture of finished work and uploading that. I can think of a few reasons this would be better. Accessing the exam on the phone might be challenging because prompts can be long and include data organized in tables that are better viewed in their entirety. If the exam is accessed on a laptop or chromebook, students can take pictures and manually put them in Drive (or wherever) but that will take time and they only get five minutes to do it. Also, Rocketbook will allow for a multi-page upload so the entire written portion of a test could be uploaded in one motion rather than by moving each image one at a time.

Like with any new process, practice makes perfect. I wouldn't wait until May to try this out if you think it is something you would consider. If you try it out, I'd love to hear what you think about the process.