Thursday, September 22, 2011

Testmoz = free and easy online test generator

At yesterday's NICE meeting I learned about several great websites and tools for using technology in teaching and learning. These will be summarized and posted to the NICE Blog ( and the NICE website Resource page ( shortly.

But, until then, you may be interested looking at this...

  • Testmoz is a test generator that sports 4 question types (True/false, multiple choice, multiple response, and fill in the blank questions), automatic grading, a really simple interface and detailed reports (download as csv file).
  • Students get instant feedback on their score, and you can choose whether or not to display the correct answers.
  • Answers can be automatically randomized
  • Testmoz is free, and does not require you (or your students) to register.
  • You can build a fully functional test in about a minute.
  • Testmoz is a simple test generating application created by Matt Johnson, an undergraduate student at Washington State University, Vancouver.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Secrets to Success in Learning and Life?

Paul Tough's article in the 9/14/11 NYTimes, What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?” speaks about the development of character for successful learning, as well as success in life. Can character be taught? We have an SEL initiative ongoing at our school, and there are many discussions, and learning targets designed to reinforce students social awareness and interpersonal skills.

Educators at two venerable New York City schools, KIPP and Riverdale Country School, are forging a new frontier in character education.

Tough's article mentions Angela Duckworth’s research:
People who accomplished great things, she noticed, often combined a passion for a single mission with an unswerving dedication to achieve that mission, whatever the obstacles and however long it might take. She decided she needed to name this quality, and she chose the word “grit.”
"Grit” is one of 24 character strengths that are now evaluated on student report cards. What would it look like if we also reported our observations on the strengths of students' character?

Riverdale’s headmaster, Dominic Randolph, explained that, “The idea of building grit and building self-control is that you get that through failure. And in most highly academic environments in the United States, no one fails anything.”

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Education: 10 years ago vs. 10 years from now

The NY Times article "What Will School Look Like in 10 Years?" states that "Computers, electronic whiteboards and other interactive technologies are fundamentally changing American education. That’s the view of the experts whom The Times spoke with about what the classroom will look like ten years from now. Listen to excerpts from their predictions below, and share your own thoughts in the comments section." (Visit the link to hear audio interviews).

As I read this, I think back to 2001 -- the 3rd year of our PowerRanger Professional Develoment program, and the year we added 102 teachers (the pilot began in 1999). Laptops were 12" white iBooks, with the slide-out CD drawer and no floppy disk drive, and we were learning iMovie 2. There was no Google, no Facebook, and wikipedia was just beginning. Apple introduced the iPod and the first version of OSX. Stevenson teachers connected their computers to the TVs in the classroom to project ClarisWorks slideshows. Classroom webpages were created with Pagemill and Grades were posted online using an export feature in the Making the Grade program. (Setting up electronic gradebooks involved downloading student names from ClassXP and importing the names into the gradebook.)

How has instruction and/or student learning changed in the past 10 years? If you were teaching in 2001, are your student "products" much different today? What about the process?