Category Archives: Web 2.0 Tool

Online Tools

Free Technology for Teachers: Nine Popular Student Response Tools Compared In One Chart

Free Technology for Teachers: Nine Popular Student Response Tools Compared In One Chart. Good Comparison if you are deciding on using one of these tools. Goes along with my earlier blog entry. I forgot to add in my last entry that I also use Padlet, but mostly for posting discussion answers and photos. Great Lab tool!

Kahoot vs Socrative

Wow another blog entry and within a couple of days. Amazing! 🙂

This probably has been done before but I’ll put my two cents into the mix. This year one of the other teaching tools I have used is Kahoot. A game based response system hosted online, that’s pretty much what the website states. Socrative is another popular online response system. I’ve used both in class and found good and bad points for both

Kahoot makes the quizzing a bit more competitive, “game like”. My students actually like Kahoot. They are always trying to outdo each other and win the points competition. I’ve used this as a warmup to the daily lessons. Usually, quizzing students on the information presented in school the day before. It pretty much has very similar features to Socrative. Below is an example of the excel download for quiz results.


You can see the results for each student. Very useful feature. Kahoot also allows you to upload images and attach video to a question. Not bad. A definite minus for Kahoot is the limit on characters in your multiple choice questions and answers. These are the questions I usually use.  I have never used the discussion or survey functions. Tons of ways to use all these features and I’m hoping to try them out soon. Definitely a favorite among my students.

Socrative is bit different, but very similar in many ways. I like the Rocket Race, this is pretty close to the points feature of Kahoot. Kids love to use this feature when competing against one another. I do like the exit ticket feature, this can be a good tool when students need to be quickly assessed before leaving the class period. Socrative also has a way to import excel sheets with questions. You can download the template from the website. One thing, make sure in the properties dialog box (right click the file) you click unblock if you are getting a memory error. This happens with Microsoft Office 2013.


Quick question is another great tool. Good example I wanted to get a quick answer from the students about a lab and I used the quick short answer tool for it. Worked really well. I do like the options in the results feature. You can actually download them to your Google drive or view them as charts. The only drawback of Socrative is it is a bit clunky as they say when entering questions. You really do need to make sure your Java is working and certain features on your browser are enabled.

For the high school level, both are pretty cool tools to use in class. I’ll probably start using Socrative to see how that one works. I think the students like the Kahoot design better, more of a game. They actually are having fun learning something, go figure!.

Halfway Point….

Yep halfway mark is here and it came quick. As I start to get ready to take a break my mind continues to race along to the next semester. How can I improve on last year’s presentations, notes, labs etc.. But I’m also in one of those reflection moods, what went right last semester? Wrong? Not everything was perfect I can tell you that. I think that’s what the halfway point is about, looking back and reflecting on what happened, while looking forward to the New Year.

Lots happened since the beginning of the year. I’ll be brief or try to anyway. I forgot to post about our Robotics Kickoff which was an experience. It took place at CISCO and it was the first time I attended one. They unveiled the field at the time. Which by the way was pretty unique. Check out the game below:

It’s called the FIRST Tech Challenge Season Game: Cascade Effect. And that’s what started the year off. By the way we are hosting the FTC Qualifying tournament again for North Carolina at Gibbons on January 17th. As we get close I will post more information.

Class on the other hand took on a different look. I implemented more “Flipped” material this year. I was lucky and had my choice, should I stick with Discovery or go to Google Classroom. If you don’t have a subscription or availability to Discovery I can understand not using this tool. Google Classroom would probably be better. But you need to have an education account for this, which means your school needs to have accounts. So both have certain requirements.

I found for my class I preferred Discovery for a couple of reasons. Ease of grading, Google Forms need add-ons to grade. And it can get complicated. I’ve put in the “suggestion” box for Google that they make this a bit easier for teachers. There are tons of video tutorials that help you work with the add-ons like Flubaroo, Octopus and Goobric. All can be integrated with Google Classroom.  Not saying these tools aren’t great, because they are. A colleague of mine, loves them and has really utilized them in her physics classroom. Actually she has become quite the Google Guru. But I really haven’t had a chance to try these. I’m more of a Discovery person. Now that might change if the school decides to just go with Google. So eventually I’ll have to get better at it.

But for now I’ll talk about Discovery and leave Google for a later date. I used a couple of features in Discovery this year that really helped with the Flipped material. One was embedding the video in an assessment and having students answer questions on it. This worked great because it actually told me who watched the video. But one of the best things I came to find most useful was the Mastery graph and the ability to go over questions. The mastery graph was really helpful, especially on assessments.


The great thing about this is it is generated by discovery for all your concept assessments. You can see specifics when viewing the assessment report.


Again all generated by Discovery. One reason why I use it for my flipped material and other material. A bit easier than Google, I think any way. If you have the opportunity to try it I would. I believe you can utilize this even with a free subscription. You don’t need a paid subscription.

So those are the main reasons why I haven’t switched to Google like others. There are probably ways to do it in Google and trust me I’m going to find out when I have a chance. Not a bad idea to have another way of doing things just in case.

Well holidays are a welcome sight this year. I’ll be playing catch up. Trying to get ahead a bit. That would be nice for once. J

12 Free Microsoft Teaching Tools | DigitalChalk Blog

At least it didn’t take long for me to post again. 🙂

This really looks cool, I haven’t tried the apps yet. But the Interactive Classroom looks very good and I know teachers at our school use PowerPoint and OneNote.  Check them out. 12 Free Microsoft Teaching Tools | DigitalChalk Blog.

Thanks to Sarah Bright and her blog for this information Learn2Earn

5 Ways to Use Google Reverse Image Search ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

Its been a while since my last post. Sorry to anyone has continued to subscribe to my blog. For some reason this year seems busier than ever at school. I hope you will continue to subscribe, I promise to post more often. A resolution for 2015.

So here is an interesting little tool check out the article 5 Ways to Use Google Reverse Image Search ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.

Hit the Mark with Digital Media Exit Cards | Edutopia

Hit the Mark with Digital Media Exit Cards | Edutopia. I like  suggestions for digital Media Exit Cards. MixBit is something new. I’ll be trying that out soon, will post soon about it.

Free Technology for Teachers

Free Technology for Teachers. This is a good look at ThingLink which is a pretty cool tool. The guest blogger Shawn McCusker, really does a good job talking about how ThingLink can be used in the classroom. Gave me some ideas.

ISTE 2014

From Cleveland and NES, I went directly to Atlanta to the ISTE 2014 (International Society for Technology in Education). For three months we had planned this conference trip. And it finally arrived.

There were some good points and bad points to the conference. First if you are deciding on going next year here are a couple of hints. Do not go on the first two days, meaning the conference started on Friday, but the free workshops didn’t start until Sunday.  On Saturday there was the ignite session which was pretty good. But you had to watch it on TV because it was closed out.  In reality we both agreed (I had another person from our school attending with me) that you could arrive late Saturday and still enjoy some of the events on Saturday. We did get a chance to attend the celebration event. During the time there on Saturday we had a chance view some of the poster presentations. There were a variety of presentations. Poster presentations were topics being presented by different people about different topics.



Sunday and Monday were the best days for the conference, for us anyway.  One of the “presentation areas” of the conference that I thought was unique were the “playgrounds”. Here people presented various technology used in teaching different topics. For example, there was a playground named “Science and Math”. Presenters showed off some of the technology they used in their Science classrooms. These presentations were great because you had the freedom to walk around and talk to the presenters as they showed off their tools. Of course one of the presenters was NASA. Their table was constantly crowded. Nothing unusual about that.  Good resource for the magnetosphere mission called “Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission”. 

Both days had a number of presentations, but because of the amount of people who were attending the event seemed have a good many presentations closed because they were filled. We did get into the Expo on the first day and this was impressive. As a matter of fact this is where we got some up to date information about different tools. One of those tools was Google Classroom. I think this is going to be a hit among schools that use Google Apps and tools in their school.  During the conference you could ask for a demonstration of the tool. We did and were impressed. What was impressive was the way Google was streamlining all their apps so you could use them in one place. Also you could grade and do other assessment work in the classroom. Other talks introduced different ways you could use Google spreadsheets and draw.  I thought the best information of new tools were given out at each vendors presentation area. At Google, Adobe and Tech Smith. 

At Tech Smith I actually meet Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann, the guru’s of flipped learning. They introduced their new book “Flipped Learning Gateway to Student Engagement”  which goes beyond  “Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day.”  One of my goals this year is to improve on the flipped part of my classroom. So when I had the chance to obtain some advice from these flipped experts I took it. I got some really good ideas from Mr. Bergmann on how to introduce my students to vodecasts and note taking. Definite ideas for the beginning of the year and how to get them started on the proper way to take notes from the vodcasts. This was something I needed to improve upon.

The other really good presentation was by Microsoft and OneNote. It seems this program has made such improvements that more people are jumping on board with it. Gave me some awesome ideas for the upcoming school year since we are going 1:1.  Students could use this as their notebook, journal or even lab notebook. Take a look at some of the features at this website (Interact Café) and you might find some cool ideas.  Most of the tips are for OneNote 2013. Which I think is an improvement on the office products.



There were tons of other exciting material being given out at the conference, but of course we couldn’t see everything. The above were just a few of the highlights that I particular liked. I will say that we could have cut this trip down to 3 days instead of five. On Tuesday there wasn’t much to do. We did go to a couple of presentations, but we could have left in the morning. If you are going to this conference next year I would recommend you sign up for presentations that have pre-registration. Then you can always fill your time in with other workshops. Here are the numbers from ISTE, check out this graphic on the ISTE Blog. Hot smile

Pollinator Partnership

Pollinator Partnership. Pretty cool app for Android and iOS. Recommended by the USGS:

And then Bee Smart about pollinator plants with the Pollinator Partnership’s free app ( to help you plan and plant a garden that benefits pollinators of all kinds, including monarchs. USGS scientists are beginning research to figure out the best places in the country to focus monarch restoration efforts. Visit the Pollinator Partnership at and visit the Monarch Joint Venture at

Summer Action begins

So the year is finally over, grades in and room cleaned. We have a ton of new teachers coming on board so its going to be a really different school year next year. Meanwhile, the summer is starting and I’m looking forward to the beginning. The month of June is when all the action is occurring for me.  I first am off to New York my hometown to visit my old school Saint Anthony’s. An awesome school and I’m hoping to find out what they have been doing on the science front. I know they are building new labs so I can’t wait to talk to everyone. I taught at Saint Anthony’s during the early 90’s before moving to Cardinal Gibbons High School. Both are great schools by the way. Common theme the Franciscan Brothers. The other place I would love to visit and hope I get a chance is the World Trade Center Building. I was there a month after the 911 attack, would love to see the new building. Many people in our area lost their lives that day, would love to pay my respects.


After New York I come home and two days later I head to Cleveland Ohio and the Glen Research Center for NASA. I got the NES(NASA Explorers School)  teacher recognition trip this year. So I’m a bit exited since I have never been to this NASA center. Can’t wait. Also meeting up with 3 or 4 teachers I’ve been on PD opportunities with before. Plan on doing some reconnecting with everyone.  Hopefully I’ll be blogging each day about what we are doing. Never been to Ohio as a matter of fact and can’t wait. Once I finish this I then head straight to Atlanta, Georgia for the ISTE 2014 conference.  Now this is going to be amazing, I’ve looked at the convention center and all the presentations, what do you go to first??? I mean here is an example of the exhibitor floor plan. Amazing, I’ll be spending a ton of time in the exhibitor hall.  There’s over a 1,000 presentations going on. I’m just now sifting through to find things I would like to go to. They even have app for the iPhone and android for the conference. This should be interesting to find out about new technology and how tech is being used by other teachers in the classroom. Fits right in with my revamping of the curriculum. Might come away with some good ideas. I’ll keep everyone posted.

So, New York, Cleveland and Atlanta, all in June. And I thought this summer would be quiet, who knew. In July I hope to redo my curriculum using different strategies for different topics. I would like to implement a PBL for minerals and rocks. I think I need to do a better job presenting this topic. I’ve already decided to do a group project on local rivers and streams. Other ideas include coding and littlebits. So yeah many things to think about as the summer moves along. Thumbs up