As I got closer to the end of the school year, I always liked polling both students and parents about their favorite memories of Third Grade. I would create a Google Form, requesting three terms and sorted the parent and student responses in the spreadsheet. I would take the answers and dump them into Wordle, and then add screenshots of the Wordles to my final newsletter. It was always interesting to see the differences in parent and student responses.
I've written about word clouds in previous blog posts. Recently, Lisa Highfill and Andrew Schwab tweeted about another word cloud tool. AnswerGarden is a bit of a cross between Padlet and Wordle or Tagxedo. Padlet, because it captures and displays responses to participants in real time, and Worlde or Tagxedo, because it creates a word cloud as participants answer.
In a classroom, AnswerGarden is a great instant feedback tool. It can be used in any curricular area for brainstorming or to gauge student understanding. An AnswerGarden question is easy to create and there is no sign up required for you or the participant. A down side is that since you have no account, you'll need to save your AnswerGarden URL and responses. While AnswerGarden word clouds are rather utilitarian looking, responses can be exported to Wordle or Tagxedo where you can add color and formatting.
Another thing I like about AnswerGarden is the ability to send results by Twitter, making it another great way to invite parents into your classroom.
As with any tool that displays results in real-time without moderation, "that" student may try to take advantage of the situation and send an inappropriate word or comment to be displayed. While there is no way to prevent this, a quick walk around the room will show which student submitted the offending word since words the participant entered will be underlined on only their screen. Still worried? You can use Moderator Mode where each answer is submitted to "AntiGarden" and you can manually approve each response before it is displayed.
To give AnswerGarden a try, you can get started by going to their website or by downloading the free app from the App Store for iOS. Create a question. For example, "Which ed tech tool have you found most useful in your classroom this year?" Then, set the mode. I like Classroom Mode which allows one answer per submission and unlimited unique (to the participant) submissions. Set an Admin password so you will be able to edit the responses, and have a Reminder e-mail sent to yourself with the link and password if you think you'd like to access it again.
Create your AnswerGarden question. If you are using iPads, give your students the AnswerGarden ID number to sign in and participate. If you are using the web version, use the long URL to create a shorter one to give to your students. They can easily access AnswerGarden on their Chromebooks and begin responding. As students respond, your AnswerGarden will grow. Let's try it here.
When finished, you can Share the wordcloud on Twitter, Export to Wordle or Tagxedo, or create a QR code.
Teachers with iPads will love the iOS app, free in the App Store. Create a question and give your students the AnswerGarden ID number to sign in and participate.
If you decide to give AnswerGarden a try, let me know how you are using it. I'd love to share your ideas with other teachers.
EduWin/Nicole Moore and Kahoot
Nicole Moore found a great way to use Kahoot in her classroom. Using her class Android tablets, students used the Kahoot app and added the Game Pin. Once they were in, Nicole presented addition problems, giving her great formative assessment results, and giving the students a great time while reinforcing skills. Kahoot can also be used on Chromebooks, easily accessed on the USD Symbaloo page, or through the iPad by creating a bookmark.
If you haven't yet tried Kahoot in your classroom, you might like to give it a try to liven up those last days of the school year and review and reinforce this year's key concepts. Review an earlier blogpost to get started.
If you or one of your colleagues are doing something in your class that uses edtech tools, please let me know. I'd love to share it with other teachers.