Showing posts with label google. Show all posts
Showing posts with label google. Show all posts

Monday, June 01, 2015

Google Hangouts: Not Your Regular Test Validation Meeting

An important component of the assessment design cycle is validating the instruments, and to that effect we count on the group of teachers working with that particular level/course. This collective validation process used to take place in the form of a traditional meeting which took place in our school’s Main Branch, usually in a room big enough to accommodate a group of around thirty teachers (sometimes more).
I’d already been adopting some group work dynamics in order to optimize the use of time, hopefully enabling teachers to make the best of the experience of collectively analyzing the test. In a nutshell, I wanted a productive, pleasant atmosphere where not only the outspoken individuals had a go at critiquing and sharing their views. I wanted all of them to feel comfortable enough to voice their concerns and suggestions to tweak the assessment instrument at hand. Teachers worked in small groups of five to six people, appointing a spokesperson who would be in charge of communicating the group’s opinions/suggestions regarding the test.
That had been working quite well. So, it occurred to me: they worked so well within their small groups, usually sitting with fellow teachers from the same branch, who have been sharing their experiences on a regular basis. I couldn’t help but wonder if we could make the validation process even more practical. That was when I had the idea to try out Google Hangouts for Test Validation Meetings. This is how we did it.
Let’s Hangout
Teachers were asked to attend the Validation Hangout at their branches; therefore, they worked with small groups of fellow teachers with whom they connect/exchange every day. They appointed their Hangout representative/spokesperson and went about their business of analyzing the test.
Adjustments along the way
The three Hangouts we had this semester were two-hour-long events. In the first Hangout, I took the groups through the test exercise by exercise, asking them to look at one part of the test at a time. That ended up being as time consuming and noisy as a regular meeting.
After getting some feedback from them, which they gave via a Google Form Survey, we decided it would be best if I gave them about 40 minutes to work on their own first, and only then start gathering their feedback. That worked better. (That and using the mute button to lessen the noise, of course!)
However, the third tine around was the best, indeed. We decided groups should be given even more time to look over the entire test before the feedback-giving stage. I gave them an entire hour, and it really paid off. The feedback stage ran more smoothly and rather fast.
Project Success
  • Convenience: teachers were free to attend the Hangout at a branch of their convenience, which most of the times meant the branch closest to their homes;
  • Capacity for collaborative self-management: teachers had to organize the analysis process themselves, preparing to report their impressions and suggestions to the Course Supervisor (yours truly) and the other branch groups in a clear and concise manner;
  • Agency and accountability: they worked hard to convey their opinions and provide pertinent suggestions, relying on the expertise of their own groups;
  • Voice: working with smaller groups of familiar faces made the more reserved people comfortable to speak their minds, something which tended not to happen with the large face-to-face traditional (very loud and somewhat messy) meetings;
And, last but not least,
  • Modeling innovation: teachers had the chance of trying out a new tool which they might find useful for other professional development opportunities.
This is an experience I would certainly like to replicate in the future, and which I would recommend other admins try out with their teaching staff.
What’s next?
Hangouts for Professional Development and innovating the adjacent possible.

Clarissa Bezerra

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

2nd Planning Hub - 3rd Ed Tech in Action

In our 3rd Ed Tech Training/2nd CTJ Planning Hub, we had the pleasure to share with teachers some simple, practical, but super effective tools that can enhance the learning experience and engage students in their English practice.

Here´s what our guest teachers shared with the group. Check the ideas that use a tech twist to help students work in their language production through creative approaches to pedagogical practices:

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Google Classroom - The New Classroom

In the first semester of 2014, Casa Thomas Jefferson gained access to Google Apps For Education (GAFE). In August, 2014, Google released the Classroom App as part of GAFE, and so our journey began. 

In the month following this release, we started phase 1 of our New Classroom project. With the help and support of our EdTech Department Head, Carla Arena, and her team, we began using Classroom in two of our Advanced Course groups. We decided we would have our Advanced Course teenagers use it to write their compositions throughout the semester. Once the semester came to a close, we sat together and shared our experiences. We decided it was worth continuing the project the following semester, so we thought about getting more teachers involved and using Classroom. 

Phase 2 of our New Classroom project has been named 'Classroom Gurus' project. One of our goals for this next stage is to create and strengthen a core group of teachers who will become multipliers of the knowledge and skills they will acquire during their engagement with their students, using Google Classroom to optimize the writing process that Advanced students engage in throughout the semester. 
Our first Classroom Gurus meeting

A group of fourteen teachers were invited to join the project this semester, and just yesterday we had the chance of sitting together for a couple of hours to launch phase 2 and get the "Classroom Gurus" inspired and motivated with the project. Our main goal was for them to get a feel for the platform, the new possibilities, the challenges and opportunities ahead through a change to a paper-free paradigm for the compositions students write in the semester with a focus on feedback rather than on the bureaucratic aspects of the writing process, as now this is going to be taken care by Google Classroom. In the platform, much of the back and forth of papers are automatically handled by the system with the automatized creation of students´ papers in Google Docs and the creation of folders for each assignment.

Here are the teachers´ first impressions:

It is a brave new world ahead where we know adjustments, failure and new learning will take place as we move forward. We feel, though,  that it is time to experiment and move on. Another point of the project is to value the human resources we so highly consider in our Institution, Casa Thomas Jefferson. We have a very potent humanware, educators who are ready for the edgy jump into pedagogical innovations when they are recognized, treasured and supported in new edtech endeavors.

Last but not least, there´s the learner spectrum. By promoting a new type of process not only are we reaching them in different ways, but also helping them enhance their own digital literacies that will be so essentially demanded from them in their educational and professional contexts. We, as an educational institution, feel responsible for students´ success in their language learning and life in general.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Google Docs and Interaction

I have used google docs as a means of collaborative document for quite a while, but never thought of using it with my students.
After a meeting with Carla Arena, she inspired me to think about something I could do with my group. Something simple, yet challenging.

I decided to invite Teacher Henry on this journey with me. We have a Teens 5 group at the same time. My students are struggling with question forming using the simple past tense. So, here's what we did:

1. We created a document with some instructions for students. In class we gave them a shortened url as homework (each class had a different url).
2. They were supposed to make a question (using the simple past tense) to another student in another class. So, my students would be making questions to Henry's students and vice-versa.
3. On the following class, we opened the document in class and reviewed all questions. We corrected the ones that had mistakes and talked about how to make questions using their own examples. 

After the questions were all made, we gave them the other class's url, so that they could answer each other's questions. This was also done as homework. One of the challenges we faced after doing the activity was that some of the students weren't able to edit the document and add their contribution. So, we found out that goggle docs can only be edited through a mobile device (cell phones / tablets) if the person is logged on, otherwise he/she can only see it, not edit. However, if the student access the document on a computer, it requires no login. 

As a follow-up, many ideas came to our mind. Some of them are:
- print questions and answers and have students match them.
- have only the answers on a slideshow and then students have to come up with a correct question.
- pair-work where students would use the questions and answers as a conversation.

We decided to gather students in the school gallery. We printed the questions and randomly handed on question to each student. Then, we asked them to ask the question they had in hands to at least five students from the other class. It was fun and very meaningful! They had a very good time! 

As a whole, students got engaged and we felt this practice added value to their learning. It was a meaningful task and involved students in their own learning process, linking the subject with students' own realities. We were able to spot which aspects we still needed to work further on, creating an opportunity for students not only to gain knowledge, but also to be able to apply and use what they have learned in a different yet valuable way. Since students were exposed to the content in a surprising way, the language was possibly more vividly experienced and, therefore, better remembered. 

Here are the pages students worked on:

Click here to watch a nice video about Google Docs. 


     Lilian Marchesoni                           Henry Silva

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Google docs for synchronous or asynchronous collaboration

Most of us have used google docs to create and share documents with our peers. I myself have done that in several occasions. However, the mindset is always one so concerned with privacy that I had never hacked my google docs. I mean, I have always made them private and sharable with only the peers involved in a given project. That has changed after Carla Arena showed us that we could make it public and editable by anyone on the web.

Here are some screenshots to show you how you can do that. 

Once I discovered that (I mean, I kind of knew it could be done. I guess I was just concerned with privacy), I decided to try it out with my students. So, I went ahead and created an editable document for my 1B2 – English Access group. In that lesson we were working with describing people. What I did for this activity was to create a document with some pictures and some questions and fill in the blanks activities. In class I gave them a shortened url and  took them to the computer lab. They logged in and I asked them to work in twos assigning one page to each pair. Once a pair had worked on a page, I asked them to move to another page. They really liked it and I found it was a very effective way to teach and reinforce what they had learned.

Here is the doc

Another activity I did that was fun was with my Teens 7. We were working on passive voice. So, I posted some pictures and wrote a model sentence with a passive voice. When we got to the computer lab, they accidentally deleted some of the images I had posted. That was good, because it gave the excuse to ask them to add their own images by copying and pasting from the web. It was really fun 
Here is the link 

If you want to do it asynchronously, you can just give the link to students and they will do it from home. 
* I just removed permission to edit because I am publishing and I wanted to prevent unwanted changes to my students' original work.