Archive for the 'learning' Category

Android Apps for Spanish – categorized for your use

Many wonderful learning apps exist for the Android devices.  However, neither the Android Market or AppBrain list the apps within any categories. For example, a search for Spanish reveals a random listing such as a vocabulary app, then a grammar app, then another vocabulary app.

Therefore, I have created  a categorized and alphabetical within that category listing of Spanish Android Apps at  I have the categories of dictionaries, vocabulary, grammar, culture, and lessons. So far I have gone through all of the Android Market and am half through AppBrain.  I have not listed every app;  for example, I limited the dictionary apps to about 15.

I am amazed at the number of droid apps that exist for the learning of Spanish.  I am hopeful that newer apps will be context based and develop communication skills.

What are your favorite Android learning apps?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Why a physical textbook?

It seems so “yesterday” to use a physical  textbook such as in a Spanish classroom. Any instructor can easily find PowerPoints, Youtubes, etc. that teach and practice the   grammar and vocabulary in Spanish.  Any instructor  can easily find online sites that explain grammar and drill that grammar.  An instructor can find Internet sites that have vocabulary lists or can easily post such lists to a class  wiki.  Imagine if a department asked each instructor  to create one activity such as a spoken conversation or  a listening comprehension that takes the grammar and vocabulary to the level of communication. The instructors can find current pictures of the culture from Flickr and other sources.  Students can converse about the daily culture that relates to  the situations in the virtual textbook.  Students can communicate about the situations.

With a few handouts made in Google docs and the links to the grammar, vocabulary, communication activities, listening, reading,writing,  and culture, the instructors could run a whole course without a physical textbook.   All the resources can exist in the class wiki.  Students can have access to theses resources 24/7.   Since the resources come from various sources, there is more of widening  of the students’ learning. When instructors use  virtual textbooks, they can add more resources in areas where students demonstrate weaknesses (formative assessment).

In addition, students can contribute to the virtual textbook.  As they do activities such as writing five important questions about the situation, these questions  can be posted to the virtual textbook for other students to answer.   I believe that within a year, instructors could have a virtual textbook that outshines the limits of the physical textbook. I have used  a virtual text and feel that it best meets the needs of my students.   The virtual textbook can fit the specific goals of the instructors while meeting national goals. The virtual textbook can be easily modified as better resources become available.

The virtual textbooks will not cost any money! Also as students migrate to smartphones, their phones become a valuable learning tool in class.

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

10 Reasons to Use Online Practice Quizzes (Formative Assessment)

Students benefit greatly from being able to take online practice quizzes. These quizzes focus on the critical lower-level thinking learning for the students. The students can practice these activities on online quizzes, therefore, freeing up class time for higher-level thinking activities. Here are some reasons based on my use of Quia.

1) Students do not have to wonder if their answer is correct or not as they answer a question, the quiz programs tells the student.  Students get immediate reaction to their answer; they do not have to wait until the next class which may be 24 hours, 48 hours or more away.

2)  The online quiz program focuses on parts of the learning goal details that students might have overlooked.  Spanish students soon realize that they need an accent on a the preterite tense  such as hablé.  English students see that difference between “metaphor” and  “analogy”.

3) Students can read the teacher-provided strategy for improvement for each wrong answer.  The students do not just know that they are incorrect but they see an explanation of how to improve. They learn how to do it right;  they improve through formative assessment.

4)  Students can begin to use their new strategy  as they encounter a problem using the same concept that they just missed. They can verify if they are applying the strategy correctly.

5)  Students can answer without  feeling badly about having a wrong answer as can happen in a class. No other student knows.

6)  Students can retake a practice  quiz as often as they want to improve their score. The program can be set to keep the highest score.  If the practice quizzes are truly formative, then no grade will be taken.  Students will demonstrate their learning in classd and on  summative tests.

7)  Teachers can quickly analyze in what areas students are successful and in what areas they have demonstrated  learning gaps. They can select an appropriate learning strategy for each student for class.  The teachers can use the online quiz’s graphing analysis to see if any learning gaps are class wide. Such real time data improves the formative assessment process.

8)  Teachers do not lose time in going around the  classroom physically checking in homework. I figure that I save 10 minutes for my college class. 10 x 30 classes = 300 minutes, 5 additional hours of class time, or 3.7 additional class periods. Therefore, teachers have more time in class to help students improve and to work on higher level skills.

9)  Likewise, if teachers do go around the room checking in homework, they do not have the time to check each individual answer of each student. If students do twenty five questions, the teachers can only glance over the homework. The teachers probably do not have time to explain individually to each student which answers are incorrect and what strategy will work for each incorrect answer.

10)  Both  students and teachers can see the students’  progress over time as they see the online quiz scores.  In addition, teachers may notice patterns such as Tom does well on vocabulary quizzes but has trouble on grammar quizzes; teachers can then determine how to help Tom with his general learning problem of grammar.

How do you use online quizzes as part of your formative assessment?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Web 2.0 Use May Not Be Formative Assessment

As I look at articles, blogs, and conference sessions, I see titles like

Formative Assessment Through Clickers

Formative Assessment Through Cell phones

Formative Assessment Through the Class Blogs/Wikis

Formative Assessment Through Online Quizzes

Formative Assessment Through Twitter

Formative Assessment Through Flickr

These people are generally  using Web 2.0 tools to monitor students, the first stage of formative assessment.  They collect information about where the students are  academically.

However, formative assessment moves from the monitor stage to the diagnosis stage.  How does the students’ present status compare to the desired learning goal?  If there are learning gaps, what strategies will help the students overcome those gaps?

If teachers or Web 2.0 programs do not offer improvement strategies based on the students’ specific learning gaps, then formative assessment does not occur.  Formative Assessment is much more than just seeing how many questions the students can answer;  it helps students to improve through providing new strategies for learning.

For example, if students take an online quiz about a certain learning goal, what happens next? Do the teachers diagnosis the results to see how individuals do on each item? Do the teachers determine which minor goals the students have yet to learn? Do the teachers determine which strategies will best help each student? Do the teachers give formative feedback to each student? Do the teachers build in class time for the students to practice their new formative strategy?  Do the teachers re-assess the learning?

Tuttle's Stages of Formative Assessment

Do you use Web 2.0 tools to go beyond the monitoring of students to a full formative assessment?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Students vote to improve -Formative Assessment

I teach a freshmen college  English course. I’ve been using formative assessment throughout the course.  We do at least five very structured formative assessment peer reviews before we even write a draft (Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment).  During today’s class, we  peer reviewed a draft of their contrast essay.  I asked the class to vote whether they wanted 1)  to hand in their essays the next class which was just before  the vacation or 2) to do another  peer review  and have the essays due after Spring Break. I told them I would do whichever they wanted.  90% voted to have their essays peer-reviewed again. They wanted more formative feedback so that their writing could improve!  One student even boasted as he showed me  his peer-reviewed draft, “Look at all the ways I can do better!”

How do you use formative assessment to constantly assess students and to “instantly” help them to improve?











My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Check Lower Level Learning Immediately (Formative Assessment)

We all want our students to be learning at the higher levels of thinking.  However, they first have to learn  lower level information.  For example, Spanish students want to converse in the language but until they learn basic vocabulary and grammar such as the present tense; they cannot converse.  We can change the format of class so that after we have introduced the lower level learning and have them practice it enough to know whether they understand the concept, then we can have them practice the lower level learning at home.

If we have them use an online program that “drills” them, shows them the right answer, and shows them  how to get the right answer,  they can immediately know how well they are doing and be given the opportunity to improve.  They do not have to wait until the next day (or in terms of a college course five days or week) to find out if they can do this lower level thinking.  Since the teacher has put in the program   a full explanation of how to get the right answer, the students can overcome their learning gap (formative feedback aspect of formative assessment).  They can redo the program to verify that they can do this lower level activity well.  They feel successful.  They have practiced this learning in the safety of their homes.

Then, in class, the teacher  can move the students to higher levels from the lower level.  For example, the Spanish students can tell what activities they do that day, can describe the various activities of their family members, and ask others what they things they do during a day.

So how do you practice lower level learning so that students know immediately if they are right or wrong and if they wrong,  do they learn how to change their thinking to get right answers? How do you  use formative assessment to move your students forward in their learning?

My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

Skill of Meeting Deadlines as 21st Century SKill

I recent had the opportunity to talk with several business people, mostly managers.  I asked them about what skills they look for in new employees. They mentioned the usual 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, and problem solving. One stated that a critical skill is that of timeliness or meeting deadlines.  She explained  that numerous young employees do not meet deadlines. They see these deadlines as the beginning of the deadline, not as the final date for the deadline.  The other business people added that they had fired new employees for not meeting critical deadlines.

I have noticed in many of my college students the attitude of  “if I get it  in before the end of the semester, it’s OK” even though there are fixed deadlines throughout the course and penalties for handing materials in late. My course is a cumulative course in which each unit builds on the previous one so that it is crucial that students do work in a timely fashion.

We can help prepare students for the 21st century by teaching them about meeting deadlines.

What is your class policy about deadlines?


My book, Formative Assessment: Responding to Your Students, is available through Eye on Education.

Also, my  book,  Successful Student Writing Through Formative Assessment, is available through Eye on Education.

RSS Education with Technology

  • Digital Badges: Naming the Badge October 29, 2015
    Once teachers have selected what learning and what digital badges (individual or category badges; see previous blog), the teachers encounter another decision. What will they name each badge? Will they use the full name of the Common Core Standard or the national proficiency? For English, under “Speaking and Listening,”will they write out SL.2 “Integrate and […]
  • Digital Badges: Better Than Grades? October 19, 2015
    Teachers understand that the grade in a course consists of many different factors such as homework, participation , projects, tests, etc. Blodget observes that sometimes grades reflect attitude, effort, ability and behavior ( Equally important, a letter […]
  • World Language Students Use of Mobile Devices in the Classroom October 5, 2015
    Do world language students use technology n the classroom? Do their  teachers go beyond having their students use technology simply for the drill and practice in vocabulary and grammar? Students can use laptops and mobile devices to hear authentic language, read authentic texts, read tweets about famous performers, see up-to-the-moment culture,  watch video […]
  • Digital Badges: Individual or Categorized Learning Badges? September 12, 2015
    The idea of digital badges sounds appealing for the digital children in classes. As teachers start thinking about digital badges, they have to figure out what badges will be awarded. The teachers can award social or academic badges. If teachers decide to use academic badges, then the teachers may base their badges on the Common […]
  • English +Common Core +Mobile = Success (ISTE2014 Poster -details) June 30, 2014
    Here are the ten examples I showed at my English + Common Core  + Mobile ISTE 2014 Poster Session: Based on CCSS Anchor Statements: L.2 Take a Conventions Mobile Online Quiz  to pick the  incorrect sentence from four choices (capitalization) SL.2  Evaluate audio recording of a  book chapter on mobile and predict for next chapter. […]
  • Global Cultural Learning Using Mobile Devices (ISTE Mobile MegaShare Presentation) June 28, 2014
    Based on my presentation at ISTE 2014 Mobile Megashare Why teach about other countries? Location: Large view to small on maps. Culture or culture. Find six similarities in a  mobile picture from another culture (“Wars are caused by differences, not similarities.”-Tuttle.) Tell one piece of information from each different Internet visual from a place in that […]
  • English + Common Core + Mobile = Success in Learning Poster Session at ISTE 2014 June 25, 2014
    In my ISTE Sunday 8-10 am poster session, I demonstrate many diverse mobile activities to help students achieve the English Language Arts Common Core Anchor Statements through mobile devices. The mobile activities focus on free common tool apps that are available on both the Android and the iPad. The students use the apps as a seamless […]
  • English Common Core Mobile Activities ebook June 18, 2014
    I recently published English Common Core Mobile Activities ebook. Use these 150+ different mobile activities to guide your students in learning and demonstrating the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Anchor Statements in Language, Speaking and Listening, Reading, and Writing. The activities, organized by Anchor Statements, actively eng […]
  • Giving Students a Voice in App Selection January 8, 2014
    Traditionally, teachers research apps for their class. They assign apps to students.  The teachers assign a specific app or give students a choice of several pre-selected apps.  As a Modern Language teacher, I suggested apps to my students in the early part of the year. However, in January, I let my students select which apps […]
  • Considering Home Learning When Doing Mobile December 14, 2013
    Many schools are going mobile or one-to-one.  Schools sometimes make decisions without thinking about the full consequences such as mobile and home learning. If schools supply mobile devices to the students, do the students take the mobile devices home?   If students do not take the mobile device home, then mobile is only considered an […]

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