Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Entry 13: Using Quia

Do you ever get tired of grading tests and than analyzing the scores to see what the students aren't understanding? Well there is a program out there called Quia that will do this for you. Quia allows you to make your own tests using a variety of questions (multiple choice, true/false, fill in the blank, short answer, essay, chronological order, etc...) and than allows the students to take it online. Afterwards the students get immediate feedback with their scores and it breaks it down for the teachers as to how each student did and also what questions students struggle with. I do this frequently with evauluating IEP goals and objectives and it is great. Click below for the powerpoint notes over Quia and how to use it.

Powerpoint Notes On Quia

Thursday, July 5, 2007

NECC: Second Life

Sorry I haven't posted for awhile, but my birthday was last Friday and I went to visit my family back in Iowa for a few days. But now I am back and ready to keep posting about some of the sessions I attended at NECC.

In this post I am going to talk a little bit about the session I attended on Second Life and how it can be used in the classroom. I went into this session intrigued about Second Life because I had heard how people have been using it in their classes and it seemed to be the big thing at NECC this year. I left this session quite skeptical about the whole Second Life thing and here are the reasons why:

1. The biggest problem I see with this is the security risks. I was not aware of this, but in Second Life only teens can go to the teen islands. Now someone asked during the sessions how they made sure that adults stayed out of it and they said the biggest way they do this is by having the child's parents put in their credit card number to verify the child's age. Now call me crazy, but couldn't someone very easily pretend that they have a child and then create a teen account using their credit card.
2. I would also be concerned about the fact that you can chat and instant message in Second Life. We hear all the time about students being cyber bullied and this could be another way for this to happen.
3. This program requires a huge amount of bandwith.
4. The lady that presented this session asked her students afterwards what their favorite part of Second Life was. Guess what, none of them said it made learning easier or even talked about learning for that matter.
5. The whole fact that you have to pay for your avatar bothers me. I guess my big question is what is going to stop the creator of Second Life from saying that everyone now has to pay an extra $20 a month to keep your avatar? Now I realize people will say he will never do that, Second Life is a community. I thought the exact same thing about the Discovery Educators Network a few months ago, but guess what they laid off field managers because it is a business just like Second Life is a business.

Now I know that some people very strongly believe in Second Life, but from what I saw there are other options that are more educational than Second Life. As a special education teacher I just can not see myself ever using this program in my classes. As always if you would like to email me your comments you can at