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Isobel Williams

"I" questions

Posted by Isobel Williams Nov 12, 2019

I was working with a teacher recently in a 7-10 school. He said he had changed the way he wrote in Canvas for the students and he felt this had had a big impact on the way the students interacted with the content.  He had framed the content around "I" questions.

  • What am I leaning?
  • What am I doing?
  • How will I show my understanding?
  • What will I do next?
  • What can I link my learning to?
  • What do I need to know?

I think this way of presenting content to students has the potential to increase engagement through enabling them to understand what they are meant to be doing on a particular page (Learning intentions)  and letting them know what is needed for success. 

I have put together a unit of work and I found writing the content in "I" statements changed the focus of my writing from a general whole class style to a much more personal style - where I was using the voice of the individual student.  It made me think much more about what I was writing! 

"What am I doing?

I am watching this video and I am writing 5 main points about biodiversity"

 

instead of

 

Students will watch this video

Students will write 5 main points and answer the questions here

(This is what I see teachers new to Canvas writing)

 

What do others think about this approach?  Is it a good idea?  Will students be more engaged? Does it talk down to students?  

Thanks

  
   

Data Driven Decision Making

   

Some days I’m for it, some days I’m not. What I do know is that I am not for banking the decision of labeling a teacher good vs bad based on one assessment platform. High stakes testing leads to high level stress for everyone.

  
  
   

But we live in a world where data collection is becoming more and more sophisticated. As an educator intrigued by artificial intelligence, I geeked out this week when asked if I would be willing to take part in a project my doctor was doing to have AI look for cancer when doing a colonoscopy. Yes, I want to be a part. No, I never want a machine being the only one deciding if my polyps are actually cancer but I love the ideas of a second set of “eyes.”

   

Today, due to technologies, we have the opportunity to assess and get immediate feedback in a faster way than ever before. We also have a better understanding of how individuals learn. This allows us to create new assessments to meet the needs of more students. This supports community vision by creating measurable goals. It allows the right players to be on the field to support student success. Today’s ability to access more quickly and formatively helps teachers become better teachers and students to understand what they don’t know- relevant information for everyone.

   

How are you using today’s technologies to:

   
        
  • Give more feedback
  •     
  • Allow students to have clear goals
  •     
  • Pay attention to individual needs
  •     
  • Review data to make decisions
  •    
   

While studying for the CoSN CETL exam, I’ve really found myself digging deeper into what we do with the data we collect, as well as asking myself if we are truly collecting the right data. I find myself questioning everything I’ve always thought. This statement that I found in my CoSN study course keeps haunting me and begging me to be dealt with: “[the] path to learning doesn’t have to be static or linear. One of the critical success factors identified for effectively using data at the classroom level was the importance of having teachers collaborate to review data and make decisions.”

  
  
   

What do I do with that thought? What platforms are we using that allow good data to be mined and are we using them to our students’ advantage? Teachers have spent hours and hours grading but what if we flipped that to be spent on short assessments that allowed teachers to focus on the data to adjust instruction that leads to mastery? What if teachers looked deeper at their assessments inside Canvas LMS (quiz analytics) and really poured wisdom and discernment over the “Student Analysis” and “Item Analysis” sections. What might that mean for our sense of purpose and for our students sense of success?

  
  
   
    

The Benefits of Automated Grading-

    

Using digital testing gives teachers the opportunity to quickly perform pre-assessments that can guide teachers forward in curriculum.

    
         
  • Using digital testing gives teachers time. Teachers often spend hours in a week grading papers, projects, homework, and tests. Digital testing frees up some of that time for them to be able to spend in planning.
  •      
  • Using digital testing allows for an increase in feedback for both the teacher and the student. Exit tickets give teachers immediate feedback on how the lesson was received and understood for the next day (or even the next period). Automated grading gives the teacher the opportunity for students to have a better sense of their knowledge along the way. I would even go as far to say that there are definite times assessments should not be in the grade book. Use this option as a tool to help students learn what they need to learn. In many digital platforms like below in the LMS Canvas when setting up quizzes you can actually give students multiple attempts so that it is not only an assessment tool for the teacher but it allows the student the opportunity to master the concept by going back and practicing/studying and taking the assessment again.
  •     
    
         
  • Are you assessing in order to have grades in a grade book or are you assessing to know what your students know to get them to the ultimate goal of mastery of your curriculum concepts?
  •      
  • If you aligned the questions you entered into a quiz with an outcome (i.e.- standard, essential understanding) and you then knew what individual concept your students were not understanding, would you use that information for each student?
  •      
  • What if data helped you drive your day to day instructional strategies? Would that immediate feedback be useful to you? Could you adapt your standard mode of operation to include rethinking the next day’s curriculum instead of grading papers for 1–2 hours every day?
  •     
    

The HOW of Data Mining inside of Canvas

    

Much of the feedback I hear from teachers that don’t want to use digital assessments is because of fear that students would have access to assessments because the answers are “out there.” Breaches are possible, we hear about them daily but I firmly believe the benefits you can have as a teacher due to digital assessments far outweighs the potential detriments of having to make a new test. I also believe wholeheartedly that Canvas offers many ways to make a test more secure.

    

Create Question Banks- When creating assessment questions inside of Canvas, you have the ability to create question banks to group concepts.

    
         
  • Open Quizzes
  •      
  • Click 3 vertical dots at top right and choose “Manage Question Banks”
  •      
  • Click on “Add Question Bank”
  •      
  • Once you add the question bank you hit enter and can now go in and edit it to add questions.
  •     
    

When adding question banks, think about what categories you want to create for the test at hand. Think about the outcomes you want your students to master within the test. Now create some banks that will allow you to test your students using different questions regarding those same outcomes. For instance, if I am teaching students the concept of the differences between vertebrates and invertebrates I could have a question bank with the label “vertebrate/invertebrate” and add multiple choice questions inside that would ask which animal is vertebrate.

    

Why do this? I can then add a question in the quiz that would chose one question from that bank but different students would have a high probability of receiving a different question than their neighbor. The more questions you add to the question banks, the more likely the tests will be different for each student. Did I mention you can upload question banks to Canvas as well?

   
  
  
  
   
    

Alignment of Quiz Questions to Outcomes/Standards- Create Outcomes that align to your course mapping.

    

Now that you have created question groups, you have the chance to take the feedback to the next level. Attach the questions to outcomes associated to your course https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-15059-4152794717. You could also associate the outcomes as you add the questions in one fluid step of creation. Outcomes can be found in the navigation toolbar within a course (you will need to create these as well). Any teacher worth their salt can grade a stack of tests and see patterns of lack of comprehension, it’s part of being a teacher. But with digital testing you have the ability to look at that data in a whole new way. To drive instruction forward for your entire class, select groups, or individuals. Not only that, what if you could see the mastery from year to year? What if last year’s math teacher could tell you the fundamental struggles the students you are about to teach have?

    

Why do this? Data is a four letter word but it doesn’t have to be a bad word. We as educators tend to think of data as something being done to us, but by creating outcomes that match our course mapping, we can see how well students are understanding individual concepts as detailed or big-picture as we want to know. The benefit of attaching outcomes to quiz questions is two-fold:

    
         
  1. It allows you to see the details of what concepts your students are grasping. It allows you to see more detailed information for each student beyond the quiz analytics currently available. It allows you to adjust and fill in gaps for students.
  2.      
  3. It helps you, as an educator, to intentionally think about your assessments in terms of the learning outcomes associated with your course. This can aid a teacher in creating assessment questions that are meaningful for feedback.
  4.     
   
  
  
  
   
    

If these concepts seem interesting to you. Check out how your can use Mastery Paths inside of the LMS Canvas to differentiate the learning pathway based on student need.

   
  
  
   
    
     
      
       

       
       
            
      
      
       
        
         
          
           
            
           
          
         
        
       
      
      
       
        
              
       
      
     
    
   
  
  
   
    
     
     
     
            
    
   
  

I wanted to type out a quick little blurb on our K-12 experience with the new Google Assignments integration and how we are using simultaneously with the older Google LTI integration. The older integration is the one that adds the "Google Docs Cloud Assignment" option for an External Tool submission. We have had numerous issues with that one. Our biggest issue was students who are unable to authenticate their Google accounts with Canvas. We were having to delete authentication tokens and clear cache and other troubleshooting steps. This occurred frequently with the teachers that were trying to use it daily.

We are trying out the Google Assignments integration and (so far) it is working a lot better. I won't go into the details of how it works because someone already did that. Also there is a great webinar that shows off the features. I just wanted to type this up for anyone who wants a way to have both of the integrations without confusing your users too much.

 

 

Modifying the Google Assignments XML

I had a problem with installing the new LTI because I did not want to delete the older integration in case someone was using it with no issues. So instead, I slightly modified the XML that google provided here and added the word "Beta" next to to all of the links to the newer integration so people wouldn't get them confused. Here is a screenshot of what they look like together with my modifications:

 

 

External Tool AssignmentAdd to ModuleRCE Links
add External Tool to moduleRCE External Tool picker

 

If you would like to do the same thing, you can use my edited version of the XML below. I only changed the English translation. When you add the app to your account, use the "Paste XML" configuration type and paste this information into the XML Configuration box:

<cartridge_basiclti_link xmlns="http://www.imsglobal.org/xsd/imslticc_v1p0" xmlns:blti="http://www.imsglobal.org/xsd/imsbasiclti_v1p0" xmlns:lticm="http://www.imsglobal.org/xsd/imslticm_v1p0" xmlns:lticp="http://www.imsglobal.org/xsd/imslticp_v1p0" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.imsglobal.org/xsd/imslticc_v1p0 http://www.imsglobal.org/xsd/lti/ltiv1p0/imslticc_v1p0.xsd http://www.imsglobal.org/xsd/imsbasiclti_v1p0 http://www.imsglobal.org/xsd/lti/ltiv1p0/imsbasiclti_v1p0.xsd http://www.imsglobal.org/xsd/imslticm_v1p0 http://www.imsglobal.org/xsd/lti/ltiv1p0/imslticm_v1p0.xsd http://www.imsglobal.org/xsd/imslticp_v1p0 http://www.imsglobal.org/xsd/lti/ltiv1p0/imslticp_v1p0.xsd">
<blti:title>Google Assignments (Beta)</blti:title>
<blti:description>
This is the New Google Assignments integration for testing purposes only.
</blti:description>
<blti:extensions platform="canvas.instructure.com">
<lticm:options name="editor_button">
<lticm:property name="message_type"> ContentItemSelectionRequest</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="url">https://assignments.google.com/lti/e</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="icon_url">
https://www.gstatic.com/images/branding/product/1x/drive_16dp.png
</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="text">Google Drive (Beta)</lticm:property>
<lticm:options name="labels">
<lticm:property name="bg">Google Диск</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="ca">Google Drive</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="cs">Disk Google</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="da">Google Drev</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="es">Google Drive</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="fr">Google Drive</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="hi">Google डिस्क</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="hr">Google disk</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="ja">Google ドライブ</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="ko">Google 드라이브</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="lt">„Google“ diskas</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="lv">Google disks</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="no">Google Disk</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="pl">Dysk Google</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="ru">Google Диск</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="sk">Disk Google</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="sr">Google диск</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="th">Google ไดรฟ์</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="uk">Google Диск</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="zh-CN">Google 云端硬盘</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="zh-TW">Google 雲端硬碟</lticm:property>
</lticm:options>
<lticm:property name="selection_width">690</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="selection_height">530</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="enabled">true</lticm:property>
</lticm:options>
<lticm:options name="link_selection">
<lticm:property name="message_type"> ContentItemSelectionRequest</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="url">https://assignments.google.com/lti/e</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="icon_url">
https://www.gstatic.com/images/branding/product/1x/drive_16dp.png
</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="text">Google Drive (Beta)</lticm:property>
<lticm:options name="labels">
<lticm:property name="bg">Google Диск</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="ca">Google Drive</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="cs">Disk Google</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="da">Google Drev</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="es">Google Drive</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="fr">Google Drive</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="hi">Google डिस्क</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="hr">Google disk</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="ja">Google ドライブ</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="ko">Google 드라이브</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="lt">„Google“ diskas</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="lv">Google disks</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="no">Google Disk</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="pl">Dysk Google</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="ru">Google Диск</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="sk">Disk Google</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="sr">Google диск</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="th">Google ไดรฟ์</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="uk">Google Диск</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="zh-CN">Google 云端硬盘</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="zh-TW">Google 雲端硬碟</lticm:property>
</lticm:options>
<lticm:property name="selection_width">690</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="selection_height">530</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="enabled">true</lticm:property>
</lticm:options>
<lticm:options name="homework_submission">
<lticm:property name="message_type"> ContentItemSelectionRequest</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="url">https://assignments.google.com/lti/e</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="icon_url">
https://www.gstatic.com/images/branding/product/1x/drive_16dp.png
</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="text">Google Drive (Beta)</lticm:property>
<lticm:options name="labels">
<lticm:property name="bg">Google Диск</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="ca">Google Drive</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="cs">Disk Google</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="da">Google Drev</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="es">Google Drive</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="fr">Google Drive</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="hi">Google डिस्क</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="hr">Google disk</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="ja">Google ドライブ</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="ko">Google 드라이브</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="lt">„Google“ diskas</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="lv">Google disks</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="no">Google Disk</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="pl">Dysk Google</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="ru">Google Диск</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="sk">Disk Google</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="sr">Google диск</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="th">Google ไดรฟ์</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="uk">Google Диск</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="zh-CN">Google 云端硬盘</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="zh-TW">Google 雲端硬碟</lticm:property>
</lticm:options>
<lticm:property name="selection_width">820</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="selection_height">450</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="enabled">true</lticm:property>
</lticm:options>
<lticm:options name="assignment_selection">
<lticm:property name="message_type"> ContentItemSelectionRequest</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="url">https://assignments.google.com/lti/a</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="icon_url">
https://www.gstatic.com/prof/logo_assignments_16dp.png
</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="text">Google Assignments (Beta)</lticm:property>
<lticm:options name="labels">
<lticm:property name="bg">Google Задачи</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="ca">Tasques de Google</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="cs">Úkoly Google</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="da">Google Opgaver</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="el">Εργασίες Google</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="es">Tareas de Google</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="eu">Google Lanak</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="fr">Devoirs Google</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="hr">Google zadaci</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="it">Google Compiti</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="ja">Google アサインメント</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="ko">Google 과제</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="lt">„Google“ užduotys</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="lv">Google uzdevumi</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="ms">Tugasan Google</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="nl">Google Opdrachten</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="no">Google Oppgaver</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="pl">Projekty Google</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="pt-BR">Google Atividades</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="pt-PT">Tarefas do Google</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="ru">Google Задания</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="sk">Zadania Google</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="sl">Google Naloge</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="sr">Google задаци</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="sv">Google Uppgifter</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="vi">Google Bài tập</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="zh-CN">Google 作业</lticm:property>
</lticm:options>
<lticm:property name="selection_width">690</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="selection_height">530</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="enabled">true</lticm:property>
</lticm:options>
<lticm:property name="domain">google.com</lticm:property>
<lticm:property name="privacy_level">public</lticm:property>
</blti:extensions>
<blti:secure_launch_url>https://assignments.google.com/lti/e</blti:secure_launch_url>
<blti:secure_icon>
https://www.gstatic.com/images/branding/product/1x/drive_16dp.png
</blti:secure_icon>
</cartridge_basiclti_link>

The changes from the XML provided by Google are on lines 2,4,13, 47, 81, and 115. I hope that helps someone!

Thinking about ways we can use Canvas in teaching Science I came up with a few ideas including:

  • Using Simulations - finding online simulations to duplicate or try out dangerous or expensive experiments that are difficult to do in class.  these an be embedded directly into a Canvas page.  
  • Organising Inquiry projects - use the group spaces in Canvas to have students collaborate and store their files, documents, images etc  in a place they can all access anytime anyplace.
  • Science Journal -  set up individual discussion spaces (either use groups or assign to one student) for students to keep a reflective journal on their learning. Let students add files, record themselves or their experiments and use it for ongoing feedback.
  • Use videos - include video from the wealth of resources available online.  Have students record their own video to share. Record your own video and flip the classroom.
  • Investigate real time data - Look for real time data feeds for weather, energy use, population, traffic, disasters earthquakes etc. Embed the data in a Canvas page and students can look at the data as it happens and follow trends, look for patterns and make predictions.
  • Become citizen scientists - Students can participate in real science data analysis in many subject areas. Embed the website in Canvas and  be part of a real study.  Most areas of science have current projects.  Search for "citizen science" to find something that will fir with your current topic.
  • Communicate with real scientists - use communication tools to ask real scientists questions.  Many organisations including museums have a "ask a scientist" where real questions can be posed and answered.
  • Station rotation - If you lack devices for everyone in the class organise some different activities and have students rotate through.  Set up stations with different activities or experiments, paired or small group work, technology based activity, and dedicated teacher instruction.
  • Use playlists - let students choose from a list of activities, set up a Canvas page with lists of readings, interactive games, videos, projects, inquiries.Let students decide what to do by setting parameters for example -  watch 3 out of 5 videos, read 1 out of 4 articles,  do 2 out of 3 simulations and choose the final assessment from 3 alternatives. 

 

Can anyone add to these ideas?

One of the biggest challenges I faced as a teacher in an AP social studies course was managing writing.  We need our students to write because it is a majority of the end-of-the-year summative exam offered by College Board, but the time required for the teacher (instruction, grading, providing useful feedback, etc) can be exhausting.

 

I taught four sections of 30+ students in each course (I know, right).  I had PILES of paper.  I was also a huge Canvas user (ask me on a later post about how much time Canvas saved me by helping me manage submissions, activities, post objectives, what-have-you), but because AP has students hand write on the exam, I had my students hand write.  Thus, PILES of paper. 

 

As an instructor, I had to find ways around using rubrics (printed and stapled... more time), providing feedback (quick writing on the margins... that students rarely read), and helping students track their progress (many students would lose returned essays within minutes of their return).  Lets not even talk about my ability to get papers passed back quickly or track student progress!

 

So I got creative with Canvas.  Here is how I solved the problem of the piles of paper and providing meaningful feedback for my students.  I include them both in this blog post because they are interconnected!

 

Problem 1: Student submissions and grading... Paper v Canvas

Solution 1:  BOTH.

  1. Assign AP writing assignments 
  2. Students use the Canvas Student App... which means they can scan their handwritten assignments into a PDF creation app (I prefer Adobe Scan, but there are MANY for all different platforms).  I prefer the PDF version because it can create one solid document instead of multiple .jpg uploads through which I have to navigate on SpeedGrader.
  3. Once they have the PDF, they can submit it straight from their cellular devices and you now have their work (and a paper trail), and they KEEP the originals.  Or they lose them, as the case may be... but you HAVE SUBMISSIONS.
  4. Picture this... especially if you have a laptop or tablet (and a stylus is even better):  The only thing you need to grade is a device!  All of your students' work is neatly organized in a Canvas assignment that you grade using all of the cool feedback features on SpeedGrader!  Your students get faster feedback and you do not need to take up class time to hand back papers.

 

Problem 2:  Effective Tracking of Student Progress.

  1. Rubrics will be your life saver, especially if you want to give your students feedback based on the AP writing rubric that we use at the annual grading event (Nerd Fest!).  Consider building a Rubric based on the AP Writing Rubric:
  2. Let me suggest one step up on that!  Hopefully, you are familiar with Canvas' use of Outcomes (usually State Standards), but you might be less familiar with the fact that YOU can create your own Outcomes and use the Mastery Gradebook to track your OWN outcomes!  (Before you build your own, use my work and go from there (yes, that is a link to my Outcomes... just Upload them to your Course!)
    1. Create Outcomes for each section of the AP Rubric:       
    2. For student reference, use the explanations provided by College Board.
    3. I prefer setting Mastery at "Meets Expectations," or what I feel would be enough to earn the student the point at the official AP reading.  You can customize Mastery and point value depending on how you want to use the Outcomes for feedback and/or grading.
    4. I also prefer setting the Calculation at a Decaying Average to get a longer picture of the student's progress, not just the most recent or an average.  Students may struggle for months but we want to recognize the ultimate goal!
    5. Build a Rubric with Outcomes and other elements you may use to assess your students. Note:  If you create outcomes for elements of AP writing, you can add them to your rubric and NOT have them count in your student grade.  You can Find an Outcome as you build the rubric and deselect "Use this Criterion for Scoring."  Then add your own expectations to have a rubric that tracks the AP standards AND grades according to your standards.  YOU KNOW YOUR STUDENTS best.
    6. Assign writing assignments, attach the Rubric, and grade a few. 
    7. Once you have a few graded, go check out your Mastery Gradebook (accessible in New Gradebook) and see how your students are doing (none of the students in the image provided below are real).
    8. See where your class is struggling collectively, or how your students are doing individually.  If your class is doing well on Thesis statements, then you know that you can spend less time providing direct instruction on Thesis statements and move on to helping students in the areas that they truly need! 

 

Using Outcomes and the associated data can also help you target study sessions, help sessions, instructional priorities, and group work (groups created by instructor) to the needs of your students.  Obviously, the AP writing Outcomes will not be added automatically, but taking the time to enter this information changed the way I approached my own instruction and made me better!

 

Before you build your own, use my work and go from there (yes, that is a link to my Outcomes... just Upload them to your Course!

Many of us have spent HOURS providing constructive feedback on student assessments.  Personally, I have used both hand written feedback AND online feedback in an effort to have my students use the feedback I meticulously provide to actually improve their work.

 

I love Speedgrader on Canvas specifically because it does make feedback accessible and impossible for students to lose in their backpacks!

 

I read an article published on NCTE's blog titled: Commenting on Comments: Getting Students to Read and Understand Feedback by Anne Mooney and created this assignment (with rubric and links to applicable Canvas Guides) to help turn my students back to my feedback.

 

The assignment (and rubric) is available on the Canvas Commons and you are welcome to adapt it to your needs:

As a humanities teacher, I love using the RSS feed for Announcements.  There are some phenomenal news feeds and podcasts that support a variety of my course content and it was awesome to have the announcements automatically appear in my Canvas courses.

 

My biggest frustration, though, was when I found great resources while navigating the internet that I wanted to make available for my students.  I would copy the address, open my Canvas instance, navigate to the particular course, open an announcement, embed the URL with an explanation for my students, and publish it to my course.

 

What if you're on your phone and find a great link while navigating social media?  The steps to posting can be prohibitive.  You can set up an external feed and "clip" articles to it!

 

There are two different methods (that we know of): Evernote Webclipper and OneNote Webclipper. This post will address Evernote, but the steps are similar for OneNote!

 

Steps for Creating a Customized RSS Feed using Evernote:

  1. Download and explore Evernote here.
  2. Create a specific Notebook that will be dedicated to your RSS feed.
  3. Download and install the Evernote Webclipper here.
  4. Create a free account with Zapier.  Note: You can create 5 free "Zaps."  If you are creating a feed or two, the free option will cover all of your basic needs!
  5. Begin a New Zap: Make a Zap
  6. Follow the prompts to create a "Trigger Event" (the action that starts the Zap process):
    1. Choose App: Evernote
    2. Choose Trigger Event: New Note
    3. Evernote Account: sign in to your Evernote Account to link it to Zapier
    4. When asked to Customize Note, select the Notebook that you created specifically for your feed.
  7. Follow the prompts to create an "Action" (the result of the Trigger event created above):
    1. Create the action (this :  When asked, Choose App: RSS by Zapier
    2. Choose action Event: Create Item in Feed.
    3. Customize Item: Create a unique FeedURL 
      1. Make sure to Copy to Clipboard your full Feed URL to use as you set up your Canvas RSS Announcement Feed.
    4. You do not need to enter anything under "Max Records"
    5. Set your Item Title: 
    6. Set your Source URL: 
    7. Provide a brief description of your Feed: 
    8. The remaining options (Author Name, Email, Link, etc) can be left blank.
    9. Select "Continue"
    10. Select "Test and Continue"
  8. Use the web clipper to start the process!
    1. Navigate to any website that you would like to add to an RSS Feed
    2. Use your web clipper and "Save Clip" to the pre-determined Evernote Folder that you established specifically for your RSS feed.

 

NOTE:  There will be a delay between when you clip an article and when it appears in your Announcement feed.  Most of my tests are delayed a few hours, but I have seen shorter and longer!

 

Enjoy customizing your own RSS feed!!

Free External Tools

Our teachers are beginning to feel more confident with the not so basic “basics” of using the learning management system, Canvas. Viewing this confidence has inspired me to look for App integration options (LTI tools) for Canvas courses.

If you want to see what Apps are available to embed in Canvas courses:

  1. Go into your Canvas course
  2. Click on “Settings” at the bottom of your vertical course navigation list.
  3. Click the tab that says “Apps”
  4. On the “External App” page you can see “All” apps but right above that word is a link that says “See some LTI tools that work great with Canvas.” You can filter this page to see what works with Canvas and what is free.
  5. You can then go back to the “External App” page and add the app to work within your course as an external tool when creating assignments. (In most cases you will need to set up your account in the third party app in order for this to work seamlessly.

Below, I am sharing just a few free third party apps that I can’t wait for our teachers to take a look at for integrating into their Canvas courses:

  • Scootpad — Create an administrator or teacher account and access pre-made Math, ELA, English, Spelling, eBooks, and Writing lessons, assessments, practice, remediation, or intervention from students in grades k-8. We do NWEA testing, and teachers can enter NWEA MAP RIT Scores and generate personalized learning paths for students aligned to their MAP Goal Performance Areas! We talk about the benefit of data often but this puts testing data to practical work.
  • Merlot — Are you looking for information or an article on a topic that you would like your students to have access to? An Open Education Resource (OER) that “The MERLOT collection consists of tens of thousands of discipline-specific learning materials, learning exercises, and Content Builder webpages, together with associated comments, and bookmark collections, all intended to enhance the teaching experience of using a learning material. All of these items have been contributed by the MERLOT member community, who have either authored the materials themselves, or who have discovered the materials, found them useful, and wished to share their enthusiasm for the materials with others in the teaching and learning community. All the materials in MERLOT are reviewed for suitability for retention in the collection. Many undergo the more extensive “peer review” for which MERLOT is famous. MERLOT presents annual awards for various categories of materials added to or used in the collection. As described in Material Link Checking and Removal, all material URL’s in the collection are reviewed frequently for [sustainability.]” (http://info.merlot.org/merlothelp/topic.htm#t=MERLOT_Collection.htm)
  • Screencast O’Matic — “Record, edit and share video to connect with students, parents and faculty.” (https://screencast-o-matic.com/education). This is a great tool to screen record explanations of steps in accessing something on the web or annotating of math problems! The possibilities are endless. Anytime you feel the need to show students your desktop, use Screencast O’Matic to do so. It embeds seamlessly into assignments in Canvas.
  • Quizlet — is a free website providing learning tools for students, including flashcards, study and game modes (https://quizlet.com/89313049/what-is-quizlet-flash-cards/). Create flashcards for your students to use or have students create flashcards and share them with you. Either way, Quizlet is a great tool for test prep and integrates well with Canvas.
  • Flipgrid — “…is simple. Engage and empower every voice in your classroom or community by recording and sharing short, awesome videos … together!” https://info.flipgrid.com Flipgrid is my absolute favorite! Today I watched foreign language teachers create Flipgrid prompts for their classrooms seamlessly in Canvas. This integration is a great way for foreign language students to not only practice fluency but to hear themselves and others. Flipgrid has created this handy tool to help you set up your integration.

It had been over a year since I had really spent time looking at the external tools list available to Canvas. What I learned this week is that it makes sense to visit the site occasionally to see what new offerings are available for Canvas users. The beauty is that there are often free integrations that make your classroom experience more seamless because they can be integrated inside of Canvas. These integrations make it easier on both the teacher and the student for access and grading. There are plenty of apps out there, the above are ones that I am currently looking at more deeply for our school. Check out the list yourself and search for Canvas platform to see what might work for you!

Recently Craig Nicholls and I collaborated using the Canvas Free for Teacher instance. As we are from different states it just seemed easier that way. Although Free For Teachers didn’t have the usual bells and whistles we are used to in our own instances it served our purpose well. 

 

Craig and I had never met in person before, had only interacted in the APAC group and ‘seen’ each other about in the Canvas Community. But we had found a shared Canvas K-6 passion and wanted to spread the word at Canvas Con Sydney 2019. Our education worlds are totally different really, but we share the same curriculum and see the huge potential that Canvas offers our learners, even the little guys.  

 

Over a couple of weeks we developed our Canvas course to showcase the challenges and celebrations of Canvas K-6. We kept it simple and have made it accessible to participants of CanvasCon Sydney, then in Canvas Commons. Not bad for a couple of strangers. 

 

Eventually meeting in person, just before our presentation, was just so easy. Even doing a quick practice on the sidewalk of Darling Harbour seemed quite normal.  Craig Nicholls Thank You you were a star to work with. 

 

Why let all that work end in Australia? Here’s your self-enrol link to share the challenges and celebrations too. 

Last week I was asked how to create Collaborative communities for students working in an online only classroom.  I brainstormed a few ideas.

  • This is hard to just create!  And 10 time harder online than face to face.  
  • Start out with a clear expectation that students have to participate and work together – they are in their final years of school and need to start to be able to work together for employment and further education. 
  • Set clear norms and ways of interacting online.
  • Start with some low stakes activities, "get to know you icebreakers" or watch a fun youtube and discuss etc.  
  • Make the interactions and activities real  - the collaboration has to be a real activity….
  • Set up some group activity and have the students present/contribute on topics on a regular basis. Teach the rest of the class.
  • Use discussions as a scavenger hunt platform – that might be a fun thing to do – groups of students collaborate to amass the “items” then make 1 post with all the items in it.  (could be related to course work – find real examples of.... 
  • Use peer review on assignments and have this as an expectation everyone has to – teach them about how to give constructive feedback though!!
  • Set some assignments that are group submissions – students can rate their personal contribution.
  • Set up some group spaces they can edit and contribute to as study areas they work in – you can set this up as self select groups or you can assign them.
  • Students could set up their own discussion spaces (a bit like their own facebook!)
  • Let them edit some pages – assign 2 or 3 to make an info page on a topic for all students to use-  give them edit access  and assess it.  You can see page history if anyone mucks up!
  • Use video feedback.
  • Use the conferences in Canvas for informal get togethers/ study groups (Recordings only last 2 weeks) – maybe a “cookies and chat” study time – bring your own cookies!
  • Use collaborations Office 365 or GoogleDocs
  • Be on top of this and encourage and keep track of who is doing what
  • Start small!

 

Any other ideas or comments??

Some challenges get in the way of teachers giving Canvas a go. A big one that we have noticed is when there are limited devices in classrooms. Here are some ideas that we have either used ourselves or seen teachers create.

 

Timetables – if sharing devices with other classes is a challenge then excellent timetabling is essential. Revisit this occasionally to see if the system is fair and working.

Charging Devices – with classes sharing devices comes the challenge of charging. Perhaps set up a monitor system to ensure checking that devices are charging during and at the end of the day.

Station Rotation – set up activities for groups to use purposefully during the day.

Group Work – kids working together with a shared device encourages problem solving, collaboration and all sorts of learning goodness. Here’s an example Shared devices ideas

Booking System - even the little ones can manage this! Here’s a cute example of a Kinder teacher collaboratively setting expectations of device use. Creating expectations

Device Allocation – to save time with new students logging in and out perhaps assign devices to certain students Can logging in be simplified for younger students? 

User Names and Passwords – sometimes the little ones need reminding. Laminated cards help with this.

QR Codes – for quick log ins. Some schools use Clever QR codes

Dealing with digital distraction - classroom behaviour

Collaborative tools embedded in Canvas – even if one student has logged in to Canvas using online collaborative tools like Padlet and Answergarden don’t require individuals to be logged in to participate.

 

I’d love to hear about other ways people get around sharing devices with their classes.

 

   Recently I attended Instructurecon 2019. Over the years I have used many different LMS...from Moodle and Fusion pages to D2L and Blackboard. What has made Canvas stand out is that it is exactly as its name would suggest; a blank slate for me to showcase my creativity. It should be no surprise then that the company is structured the same way. In just a year of using Canvas I have been able to engage and connect with so many other Canvas users around the globe. And as I served my district as a teacher on assignment to help integrate a 1:1 and brand new LMS I most definitely needed the lifeline that the Canvas Community has always been able to provide; from the amazing tutorials to the user groups and blog posts.

   Now as I return from my second Instructurecon I am buzzing with all sorts of ideas, but the biggest takeaway for me came not in the latest feature idea, but in the message of all of the speakers of the week; whether it be members of the Instructure company or the keynotes I found an amazing narrative that truly spoke to me as an educator much in the way I found Canvas’ system spoke to me on how one can create a virtual classroom space without being forced into a cookie cutter shell.

   My takeaway was that as we strive to integrate more technology in our schools, we also need to bring more humanity into our classrooms. We as teachers need to be free from the stress of the minutia so that we can really deliver lessons on empathy. We need to be responsive to our students and show them that they are valued. And as Dan Heath put it, “ we need to create more academic peaks” and we must always remember that “moments matter”. That last statement struck me significantly because it reminded me of a simple moment in kindergarten where my teacher held up a picture of a poorly colored rabbit and the letter R and exclaimed in a disdainful tone “whose is this?” I was surely not going to fess up and as a result the ABC booklet I made does not have an R in it to this day. That moment mattered to me. And now I find that I still shy away from arts and crafts in my classes and even with my own children. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on Carol Dweck’s research of mindset and those types of situations are all too common. We look to our teachers to help give us a sense of how we are all evolving. Technology can help us with the workload and giving timely feedback, but it is up to our humanity to dictate the quality of that feedback and the manner in which it is received and perceived.

   Technology also needs to help us provide authentic learning opportunities for our students. They need to have choice, ownership, and voice within those authentic learning opportunities. Something my current Master’s degree is helping me better understand as the COVA approach along with CSLE (Creating Significant Learning Environments). This is not a new concept. John Dewey espoused these same concepts in his writing of ‘My Pedagogic Creed’ back in 1897, but somewhere along the factory worker boom we lost education’s true purpose. Now it's a time of rebirth...a renaissance of education. Technology can help us get there. But we cannot forsake our humanity in the process. We need synergy of the two systems to help propel us into the future. We need to prepare our students for a future we can’t yet imagine. Are you ready to join the education revolution? Let’s tear down the teacher dominant wall and the theory of the sage or Wizard of Oz and step out from behind the curtain...let’s make our classrooms prep kitchens where teachers and students come together to make an amazing meal and then all sit down together to enjoy it. Who’s hungry?

 

 

InstructureCon 2019

Read More Reflection Blogs

Olena Bradford

Canvas in Elementary

Posted by Olena Bradford Jul 8, 2019

  I am 3rd grade teacher. My students use Canvas classes in daily practice. Canvas helps me create differentiated assignments and support students with special needs. Kids love it. I believe that other teachers will use Canvas to engage and support their students!

For example, I use 3tabs page for reading comprehension/skill groups. Each student (depending on their reding level, or the skill that needs to be developed) has the group/tab/ they are assigned. After their done with their assignment, students may go on different page.

It looks like this:

Main page with 3 tabs:

Tabbed page

 

Each Tab has different assignments/videos for students .

 

Here is a Tab 3 view:

 

Tabbed page 3

 

 

 

Also, here is the link to the video from my classroom. Send me your feedback! UEN PDTV: Canvas in Elementary Schools - YouTube  

When our team first started traveling around the state demonstrating the whys and hows of Canvas we used power points to present. It didn’t take us long to realise how clunky this was. We had to rely on screen shots or toggle between the power point and Canvas to get far too many points across.

 

It was a bit of a TTWADI thing (That's The Way We've Always Done It). We’d always presented via power point and naturally went that way. But then we slowly morphed into using Canvas only as our mode of presenting. No more toggling, no more screen shots. Just lots of modelling of Canvas capabilities in the one space.

 

We recently presented at the latest AADES conference on E-learning and Innovative Pedagogies where we shared the virtues of Canvas and told our state wide story with not a power point slide in sight. After all – why would you?

We’ve developed a few tricks along the way. We usually have all of the participants in the session put into a Canvas course. This is particularly helpful when we do repeat visits. It’s their ongoing Canvas Professional Learning space. The module we present is in the course but any interactive activities are all available to participants via an ‘Our Session Today’ button. F11 helps to keep the presentation a bit tidier as does the hamburger symbol in the top left.

 

Our biggest challenge is that we don't have a handy power point clicker any more. But that's survivable. 

 

Does anyone else present with Canvas?

Do you have any presentation tricks share?

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