Wednesday, December 4, 2013

For All Rubrics: Create and Grade Rubrics on your iPad or Computer for Free

With For All Rubrics teachers can easily and quickly create online rubrics.  Unlike most other online rubric creators, you can directly assess students with this online tool.  Just click on the section of the rubric to record a grade, you can even add comments to the rubric overall, or just certain sections. For All Rubrics even works on your iPad adding a little more mobility to your assessments.

You can create accounts for students so they can go in and check on their rubric or email students their completed rubrics. You can even print a completed rubric if you need to have a physical copy.

Rubrics can be created from scratch, or you can select for many shared rubrics, and common core score sheets, as well as a selection of rubrics from the Buck Institute if you are doing Project Based Learning.  Teachers can share their rubrics, so there is also a large selection of rubrics that others have created. If you create a great rubric, you can choose to share it with others as well.

For All Rubrics can also provide great data about how individual students are doing or how a class is doing.  Reports can be generated by rubric, by student, and by class. This is a great way to track performance over time.

The short guide below should get you started using this handy online app.

The first step is to create a free teacher account and set up classes. You then need to add students to your classes. You can import a .csv or manually add your students.

The next step is to create a rubric from scratch or select your rubric from a template that you find in the "Libarary" tab.  Below is a presentation rubric that I selected from the Buck Institute and a rubric I created in my "Design" tab. I changed the name of the one from the Buck Institute to be for an assignment called "My Favorite Rescue".  Once I have rubrics in my design center I can copy and rename any that I use frequently. For example if I have a standard essay rubric I can just duplicate and change the name of it for each essay students are assigned.

Now we can assess students. Simply click on the "plus" next to a students name after selecting the rubric you would like to use from the menu. You will then see your rubric. All you need to do is click on the appropriate section to record a score. You can even leave comments for the assignment overall, or just particular sections.

You can now email students their results, print them out, or simply have the students log on to their accounts to check how they did.

Monday, November 25, 2013

BaiBoard - Free whiteboard collaboration across devices

Collaboration is key, and BaiBoard is a great FREE tool for student/teacher collaboration. With BaiBoard you an draw on a Mac or iPad and see, in near real time, the drawing appear across all devices. What I really like about BaiBoard is that you don't need to create an account in order to use it. 
To create a new BaiBoard you just open the App on your Mac or iPad. You will see all the BaiBoards that you have created along with all the "meets" that you are currently in.   You can then create a new Board or join a current meet (what they call shared Boards). Boards can be password protected, which is a nice feature since nearby boards show by default.

The editor includes plenty of tools including drawing, texts, shapes, and a grid for graphing.  You can even add PDFs to annotate together. Collaborating on PDFs is a little less than intuitive. Once you attach a PDF to a board you and other collaborators will need to independently open the PDF before you can annotate it.

I have not found a limit to the number of users that can be connected to a Board (maximum attempted has been 6). The number of shared PDF annotators appears to be limited to 4.

I can see lots of uses for Baiboard in the classroom. From working on math problems collaboratively to completing graphic organizers in partners. Baiboard can also be used for collaborative brainstorming and mind-mapping.

To make Baiboard even better, it's super easy to export a board or an annotated PDF.  Baiboard includes direct connections to Dropbox and Google Drive accounts. Students can also e-mail Baiboards. You can also use the Open-in function to export the Board to any app that works with PDFs. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

PowToon 4 Edu: Fun Animated Video Creator

PowToon is an online tool that allows anyone to make great looking animations and presentations. With PowToon animations are as easy as PowerPoints. The free version of the product allows you to create videos that are up to 5 minutes long.  Videos can include text, your personal images, images from a large selection of stock drawings, music, and voice overs. 

Free accounts allow you to export up to 30 videos a month to YouTube, or embed your video on another site. Students can email videos directly to teachers as well. Free accounts do have a limited selection of images and tools, but there are still plenty to chose from.

Signing up for a PowToon account is simple as teachers and students can use their Google Apps account information. Once you sign up, it's easy to get started. You can create a PowToon from a blank slate or use one of their great templates.

PowToon is a great tool for teachers, and a wonderful way to have students showcase what they have learned.  What I really love about PowToons is how easy it is to make really professional looking videos.  With PowToons students can focus what really matters, which is including great content.

Check out the PowToon I created in just 5 minutes:

For tutorials on how to use PowToon you can go to

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Newsela: Building Non-Fiction Literacy

Newsela  is a website that allows teachers to assign news that have been indexed to particular Lexile levels. The site also includes quizzes that are linked to the Common Core Standard for Reading Informational Text.  While in beta Newsela is free, the website indicates that they will eventually offer, teacher, school and district subscriptions. It's definitely worth checking out.

Once a teacher creates a Newsela account they can create classes. Students then create a Newsela accounts [they can use their Google accounts] and then register for a teacher's course using the code their teacher provides.

Once students and teachers are enrolled, it's easy to assign articles to students. Each article is written at five grade levels from 3 - 12. Based on content, not all articles are written at the lower grade levels. Teachers can add highlighting which students can see. Teachers can also view what students have highlighted in the article. The Newsela Knowledge base says that annotations and asynchronous threaded discussion boards will be added soon.

Newsela looks like a great way to get students reading across the content areas. If you are using Newsela let me know what you think in the comment section below.

Two more things:

If you are looking for articles with questions linked to particular anchors you can't search for them yet. But you can use the following link and replace the "2" with the anchor you are searching for.

Yes, you can use Newsela, and take quizzes using an iPad (they are still working on Android optimization).

Monday, October 28, 2013

Remind 101 - Free Private Messaging (updated)

I first wrote about Remind101 in March of 2012 while it was still in Beta. I thought that it was worth writing another blog post about it as they have made some improvements to the site and added a mobile application on the iTunes and Google Play stores.

Remind101 is a free service for teachers that allows students and parents to sign up for text or email notifications. The site keeps phone numbers private so teachers don't need to be concerned about sharing private information or gathering student phone numbers.

It's super easy to use.  Just sign-up with their service, create up to 10 classes, give students the enrollment instructions and start sending messages. Students can enroll for emails or texts depending on what they chose. All they have to do is send a message with your class code to the phone number they are given. It's that easy.  For younger students you can have parents enroll their phone number.

One of my favorite things is that you can schedule messages to be sent at a later time. The service also provides you with a record of all the messages that you have sent.  For now it is only a one way messaging service, but it's a great way to remind students about upcoming assignments, field trips, club reminders, etc.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Lucidpress: Collaborative Layout and Design free for Google Apps for Ed Schools

The folks at Lucid Software, the creators of Lucidchart have a new product Lucidpress and once again they are giving Google Apps for Ed users free licenses!   Here at Saucon we have added Lucidpress to our list of Google Apps for Ed which means that you can find a link on the Google Apps toolbar under "More" 

Lucidpress in a document creation tool that allows you to easily make great looking print and digital documents in a collaborative online environment.  

Lucidpress is a great alternative to Pages and Word when you want students to create great looking documents.  Because students have anytime anywhere access, they can work at school and at home regardless of whether they have a Mac or a PC. Additionally, students can share projects and work collaboratively in real time. The comment feature allows teachers to give all important formative feedback while the project in still in process.

But Lucidpress isn't just about recreating the typical print brochure or newsletter. It's all about digital, and with Lucidpress you can embed links, videos, scrolling text boxes, image galleries, and more.  These great interactive digital documents can be accessed on any device with a web browser! It's a great way for students to showcase what they have learned, and a great way to help students achieve the new Common Core standards for Digital Literacy. 

Because Lucidpress is integrate with Google Drive you can access text that you have already stored in a Google Doc with just one click, and all your Lucidpress projects can be stored in your Google Drive for easy access. 

Lucidpress isn't just for students to use. Imagine sending a home beautiful, dynamic, digital newsletter. 

Lucidpress in 60 seconds from Lucid Chart on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Answer Pad: Fast grading of your current exams

The Answer Pad and it's accompanying app TapIt are a great way to save time grading your assessments. With The Answer Pad students can submit their answers to your exams online either via The Answer Pad website of the free TapIt app for iPads. Additionally, the "Go Interactive" feature is a great way to incorporate real time formative assessments into the classroom.

While students use the App to complete the assessments, the teacher must create the answer sheets online via the Answer Pad website.  Sign up is free and teachers can use the basic functionalities of The Answer Pad with 8 separate classes and up to 200 students for no cost. Their are teacher and school level subscriptions available which include additional functionalities like the ability to annotate student answers, and the ability to show the exam questions to students (web browser version only).

Teachers using The Answer Pad will need to create an account and then create groups for their classes. Once you create a group you can either manually enroll students, or create a code for students to enroll in your course.  Teachers then need to create answer sheets for their assessments.

The Answer Pad does not show exam questions but simply the answer sheet. Think of it as an online version of the old fashioned bubble sheet, but with some great added functionalities. For example with TapIt, you can link answer sheets to Common Core standards and create standards based assessments!  Answers can be multiple choice, true/false, fill in the blank, number wheel, a coordinate grid, and more. These options can be modified even further by the teacher to create a large variety of options. Unfortunately their is no option for an essay answer that the teacher would grade, this would make for a great addition to keep all the exam results in one location.

Another great feature in "Go Interactive" which only works with the iPad App. With this, teachers can send quick formative assessments to students including the ability to make quick sketches that they can submit to the teacher.

One thing that I wish you could do was somehow "lock" students into the app. I'm not sure this is something that is even a technical possibility, but it would help keep students from quick app switching to their notes or websites.

You can see all of these features in a video by The Answer Pad here: