pegeeks,  Teacher Reflection

Speedgeeking at VTC2013


Tas in Teaching Tech

T as in Teaching Tech by Kalexanderson CC BY NC SA


Speedgeeking takes the idea of speed dating and blends it neatly with an Educational/Tech setting. The idea here is that in a large space, 7 presenters share their session 7 times (with a 20 second break between each) for 7 minutes. After each 7 minutes, the audience moves one space over to the new presenter. The audience then comes out with 7 new things that they can either learn more about or follow up on without having to sit through a whole hour on something that they weren’t really interested in. If you repeat this experience twice you can have each presenter also learn from 7 others, or each participant coming out with 14 new (or not new) ideas and people to talk to about them in less than 2 hours.

Ideas from this speedgeeking to share with you:

  • Symbaloo logo-SymbalooEDU– is a web-based program that allows you to bookmark sites.  The format looks like apps on on Apple device, so it is very visual and you can create different ‘boards’ for your bookmarks.  For example you could have a ‘board’ full of media bookmarks, or blogs you like, or create a class ‘board’ to share when looking for something that you are researching.  This also means that if you are at a school where your tablet or laptop is re-imaged or owned by the school, you can keep your bookmarks – you can also see them on any other computer or device you share with yourself or your students – all great ways for saving your bookmarks.  Click here to see the speedgeeking video.
  • Autocrat – this nifty script from Andrew Stillman can be added to your Google spreadsheet to provide the option to merge content into a template for you to then have individualised work or information for each student/teacher/parent/insert other.  I use this to create student pdf documents that contain their grades from our most recent unit.  The template contains the assessment rubrics/information on the unit etc. and then autoCrat allows me to filter in the individualised data resulting in student specific information ready to be emailed or dropped into student portfolio. Another example of use can be found here.  Click here to see the speedgeeking video.
  • Flubaroo – is another Google script by Andrew Stillman (notice a theme here?).  It allows you to set up the script so that your marking is automatically graded!  This program was working on the old format of Google forms, with the recent upgrade we have seen this script stop functioning, but we are assured that Andrew is on the case!  This allows you to have your work graded and to give you stats on the responses of your students so you can focus on the kids who need your full attention instead of on the grading. Click here to see the speedgeeking video.
  • explaineverythingExplain Everything – An iPad application that allows you to create story boards with screencasting over the top.  The example we had was from a Kindy teacher who had taken photos of her class explaining the process of making playdough.  They then put the photos into the slides, screencast over the top explaining what was happening and then created this fantastic resource for other classes and parents.  Super great for those who can and can’t read and very easy format to use.  I can already see many places that this would be wonderful for our younger PE students to explain about technique or resources or dance steps.  
  • Blubbr – a nifty web program that allows you to create quizzes within a YouTube clip.  The idea being that you can pause the clip, have the question pop up and then give your students time to answer.  This could be a great way to check understanding, ask them to watch something specifically if you are using that clip as a homework piece or other.  Blubbr are also big on feedback and further development for Educational purposes, so a new idea to try and then to report back to make this stronger for others.
  • Widgets on your blog – Widgets are those cool little gizmos on the side of blogs that can do super nifty things for you.  Add a Twitter feed; count the people that visit your blog, display the weather or a Word cloud, the ideas are endless.  Students enjoy searching for new widgets to make their blog attractive and unique and for adding new ideas or information to attract their readers.  Add widgets by going to your dashboard and then to the ‘Appearance’ section to see what is around.  Click here for WordPress widgets.
  • Surveys in your classes – if you use surveys, consider using some of these to get student responses.  Google Forms allows you to create surveys and then get analytics on the results; Survey Monkey has a free and a paid option allowing you to create a variety of different surveys to share with your students as well.  You also have access to great analytics and the option to upgrade and use templates and more.  I like to use surveys to ask for student feedback on my teaching and the units we study, we also use a PE survey as teachers to collect data on the units we have been teaching (eg. was it long enough?  was there enough equipment? did you have enough space? etc) so we can look at the need for changes in our program the following year.

What might you consider trying out with your classes?  I hope that one or more of these was useful to you, if so, perhaps you could share your ideas/thoughts here for others.

A thank you to the VTC crew and also Brian Lalor for sharing his YouTube clips of the Speedgeeking sessions.

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