Educational organizations are face with the constant influx of seemingly new technology. This creates pressure (even a demand) to review, to compare, to challenge, and often, to change.
The business around software is not understood nor recognized by most educational institutions. Schools trust. Schools hope. Industry, generally, tries to profit. The constant churning of technology companies through mergers and venture capital initiatives creates an unstable environment. This environment breeds havoc and forces decision makers to ask: Will your vendor be your vendor tomorrow?
The game is rigged. But. There is way to take the game back. There is way to design flexibility into the ecosystem and empower decision makers to relentlessly negotiate for the deals they need, and when they need them.
For years we have focused on controlling the box, the physical interface, and the platform. In most cases, these concepts are now irrelevant. Software as a Service (SAS) has evolved to allow a tablet to carry the power of a laptop, and a laptop the power of a GPU driven workstation. SAS is just the beginning, in fact, it is only a replacement for the platform. The heart of the system is the data, and the data controls the decisions more than anything else.
The next evolution for education, K-12 and above, is to adopt new standards allowing the organization to choose their modality but maintain the standard of communication.
Educational institutions need to build a data lake, or data repository, using data from all their vendors. Any vendor that cannot meet a few basic standards, needs to be eliminated from the pool of options. These standards would be simple, and would include:
Data, all data, can be exported in a single data pump when required
Data, all data, can be exported into at least one or all of the following formats: csv, tab, sql, or xlsx
Downloaded Data, all downloaded data, will only have encryption if the client chooses
APIs and other methods to sync real time data are optional; even if these tools exist, the data export requirements must be maintained
By insisting these standards be met by vendors, educational organizations will not only be able to constantly analyze all their data, they will be able to recreate themselves when they choose. Vendors will not hold the fear of data loss, or opportunity cost, over the decision makers.
The only remaining conundrum is: how do we show every school how to do this, and how to find opportunity within this new environment?
This is just a quick public service announcement and one not too new. We have seen a number of postings on a local listserv that says that students have been accessing pirated movies on Google Drive. All you need to do is search Google Drive + Popular Movie Title and that is about it. Check out the GIF below as I find Avengers: Endgame on Google Drive.There are a couple of items to be worried about.
Putting pirated movies on Google Drive is illegal and Google (not the school/district) could shut the account down – permanently
Putting movies that are protected by copyright on any server for a lot of people (or even just yourself) to view is simply illegal
Students looking for this content could accidentally find malware, viruses or phishing scams so be careful.
You can probably find this activity pretty easily by monitoring your network and filter by who is using the most bandwidth, but I would think twice about announcing this to students as there may be some who are unaware of the practice.
Back in 2014 I reviewed Kahoot! and was pretty harsh on it. I had sluggish performance, connectivity issues and I didn’t care for the teacher/presenter centric nature of the activity. Despite all those issues Kahoot! seems to have gone on to relative success! Just about any teacher I talk to has either heard of it, knows a teacher who uses it or uses it themselves. Since it is so popular I thought I would give it another go. I mean five years has passed – can it win me over this time?
What is Kahoot!
Kahoot is an interactive question and answer system. A question pops up on a screen and the student/participant answers the question as quickly as they can from multiple options. The faster they answer, they more points they receive. If the student(s) get the question wrong, they receive no points for that round.
At the end of each round it shows a scoreboard so you can see who is winning. It also has a catchy audio loop during the quiz. Did I say catchy? Well, you be the judge. I think it ages like an opened bottle of $2 wine.
There are two Kahoot! sites. One is for the teacher to create and manage Kahoots! and reports and the other is where the student(s) go to find the Kahoot! and start playing. Let’s take a look at the teacher side first. Here is the dashboard.
Pretty straight forward. You can create Kahoots!, browse through other popular Kahoots! and Host games of Kahoot!
For a Kahoot! you host, you can get a report of that game to see who played, how well they performed and so on. Pretty good metrics. To get this information just click on Reports from the top menu.
Then you have the option of downloading it as an Excel file. When you open it up, it does look better than it did five years ago. Notice the worksheet tabs at the bottom. Here you can navigate through more detailed information to figure out what answers were selected (correct and incorrect) and what points they received. The points will give the teacher an idea of how quickly they were able to answer the question.
Creating a Kahoot!
I have to give them points here. This tool is quick and easy to use, easy to navigate between different questions. Let’s take a look at what they offer.
As you can see it is pretty straightforward. Not a lot of explanation is needed. This is nice.
I wish they had a little more question types. Right now you can only pick a multiple choice or true/false. That is it? Why not matching? Why not fill in the blank? Why not ordering? I do understand that playing a Kahoot! is fast and fun and having to adjust to different questions takes a little more time but come on!
Also, once you add a question type you cannot change it. So if I have a multiple choice question and want to convert it to a true/false type I cannot do that. I can delete or duplicate a question only. Not a big deal but it would be nice to switch on the fly.
One feature that is sort of nice is the ability to add symbols to a question. This makes it good for math. I am not sure you are going to be able to throw some calculus up there but for elementary and middle school math this should be fine.
You can also change the general settings of the Kahoot!. You can give it a name, description (which is highly recommended), pick where you want to save it and who can see it. You also have the ability to add a YouTube video which is what people can watch while waiting for the Khaoot! to start. Make sure you click the Done button and your Kahoot is then ready to be played.
Playing my Kahoot!
As the teacher, you need to go to your dashboard, find the Kahoot! and click Play. This view is nice because you can also see all the questions and answers. This is nice so you make sure you didn’t click the wrong Kahoot! if you have many of them. Also, it is a quick way to check for mistakes.
Before you start the game you do have two options. You can either make it Classic mode (each person has their own device) or a Team mode where teams are against other teams. I’m just going to do the Classic. You also have the option of using a name generator. Kahoot! will create the name that is displayed for the user. If not the user can create their own name (be careful teachers of naughty students who). Luckily you will see all the names before it starts, but if someone has made and inappropriate name it will mean more waiting for the rest of the class.
So I ran the Kahoot! on my computer and joined it with my smartphone using the app. A colleague of mine also joined in on her computer. Before the teacher (me in this case) started the game I got to see that I had the correct number of participants. To join, I had to put in the game PIN on the app and my colleague had to put in the PIN on Kahoot.it Once we joined I started the game!
My pervious complaint is back. As a contestant or player I do not see the question on my smartphone screen and neither did my colleague. We both had to look at the computer that was hosting the Kahoot! Annoying and a waste of space for our screens. Check out a screenshot from my phone during a true/false question.
Also we can’t see the choices. Why? Why not put the question and the choices there? It seems like a no brainer but in five years they have not fixed this! Maybe it bothers me a little too much but it seems like such a simple fix.
Now for some reason there was no music playing during my Kahoot! Not sure if that was my computer having issues or if I somehow disabled the music. I went back in and played another Kahoot! and the sound started to play again, so I am pretty sure it was my computer the first time.
So when you get a question correct or incorrect it lets you know which is nice and in between questions is shows you who is winning. Also, you only have so much time to answer a question which does keep the game moving at a good pace.
The music is just as annoying as it was 5 years ago.
OK – there is a way for students to participate in a Kahoot! by themselves and actually see the questions and choices on their screen (one of my biggest gripes). It is called a Kahoot! Challenge. A teacher can set this up and give a time frame of when a student can complete the challenge.
From the same screen you start a Kahoot! you can select Play or Challenge. If you select Challenge you have to put an end date and time like you see below.
Then you get a URL link for the challenge and the Challenge PIN. You also can share it directly through a few services.
So, if you have the app on an Android device, an iOS device or some select Chromebooks (ones that allow Google Play store apps to be installed), the student just fires that up, enter the PIN and they are off. Here is what one of the questions looks like from my smartphone.
See that! It is the QUESTION! It is right there! Wait! I can also see the choices!! See, folks it is totally doable.
OK – I’m happy about that. Now, here is what I am unhappy about.
Hmmmm – that is from my MacBook. Maybe I messed up? NOPE! You need the app on a mobile device to play a Kahoot! Challenge. There is no way around it, even though they give you a friggin link to the challenge! Why give the link if you can’t access it from a Windows, Mac, Linux or Chromebook? Why can’t this be played in a browser like other a regular Kahoot?
After a Kahoot! or a Kahoot! Challenge the teacher can access a report and see who participated, their score, which questions people got wrong and which questions most people got right and if they got it wrong, which answer did they chose. This is good data for a teacher to be sure. It gives that person good information to go and investigate further and find out where there are gaps. The reports look good and even though it is in Excel format, you can open that file up with any modern spreadsheet program.
Kahoot! isn’t as bad as I remembered back in 2014 but that’s not to say that it is great either. If you use it, that’s totally fine. Teachers like reliable tools and if this is working for you keep on, keeping on, but I urge you to check out some other options out there such as Quizizz, Quizlet, Google Forms and more. They may not have that catchy tune and may not be as “fun” but they will all give you the same data and guess what it works with any device with an Internet connection.
Tony and Patrick are back for another great episode. We talk about mice, student information systems and more! Check out the talking points below and as always subscribe to us on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app.
Tony and Patrick are at it again with another great episode. We talk about some NFL news, some advice to homeroom/advisory teachers and much more including what constitutes cheating this day and age? Check out the talking points below.
As always, be sure to subscribe to us on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app.
Andrew Luck retiring
Keep it light and fun and don’t force participation
Presenting a slideshow? Keep it brief by Patrick Cauley
Plagiarism is serious issue for most high schools. It is rare to find a school without a detailed plagiarism policy. Most of these policies have a few tiers, because it is common for students to commit plagiarism more than once in their academic career.
Unfortunately, the tools educators rely on only cover a small portion of things students can plagiarize. In the last decade I have seen inauthentic:
Computer Science projects
Math internal assessments (IB)
Research papers with a perfect Turn It In score
Foreign language course work
In many of these cases, the student and their parents argued that the work was not plagiarized. These people had full legal ownership of the end product, because they paid for the work, or paid for someone to help guide the work.
The work is often a result of tutoring, where the student did technically do the work, but was aided along the way. Sometimes this support did result in the tutor physically contributing to the final product.
These situations are complicated. They are well beyond someone simply copying an academic paper.
Identifying Inauthentic Work and Projects
As soon as I mention plagiarism, people are quick to react. In every conversation, people ask me, “How did you know it was not their work?” or “How did you prove they did not do it on their own?”.
I find the first problem with most project-based planning is a lack of pre-assessment. Students need a baseline assessment. Teachers should be assessing projects on some sort of trendline. The measurements being used need to monitor growth, and not simply check off rubric boxes.
If teachers set baseline assessments for every project, they can clearly find students who are developing seemingly accelerated skills in a very short time. If the teacher suspects a problem, they can require all the students to do an in-class timed assignment. These assignments need to encourage the students to practice their skills without risking their grades. Students who have been submitting inauthentic work will most likely show signs of stress, become angry, and/or ask to leave the room.
Rubrics Can Be a Roadmap for Cheating
Rubrics should guide students toward a standard, but they should be flexible enough that the end result is a product of a student’s imagination and creativity. In fact, if a student has a great idea, the rubric could be put to the side (a discussion for another time.)
I have seen an increase in teachers providing students with highly detailed rubrics, designed to meet detailed criteria. In those cases, it does seem as if the teacher would like all the student work to be nearly identical. Those highly detailed rubrics are essentially a blueprint for a tutor.
Rubrics that leave no room for personalization, are going to increase cheating. There is a sense that students need to be trusted, and educators must trust students to make good decisions. However, schools usually do not let students use phones during exams, or walk into copy rooms with cameras. Why? Because they are young and impulsive. They will sometimes make bad choices, and simply using good practice to remove temptation is not a violation of trust.
Projects are Assessments, Plan them Accordingly
Many schools have an assessment calendar or planner. These are used to ensure students do not have three or four tests (or exams) on a single day. Projects are often left off of these planning documents. I have made this mistake numerous times leading project-based courses.
Project due dates are often pushed and changed, and therefore the final due date may shift. Adding a due date to an assessment calendar requires other teachers to plan their assessments around those dates. Changing those dates can create havoc. Not being able to change those dates can impact students who need more time, or were denied time due to some unforeseen past issue.
When students feel the pressure of a final project they might make the choice to seek outside help. Having a tutor is not plagiarism, but often project-based disciplines lead to the tutor doing the work on behalf of the student.
Planning projects with three or four important due dates allows student work to be assessed in stages and reduces the risk of missing the final deadline. I personally feel that having multiple stages reduces stress, although my evidence is purely anecdotal.
Current technology and online services cannot identify cheating within project-based courses. Teachers need to know their students, and plan accordingly to reduce those impulsive and misguided choices teenagers often make.
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