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Entries in William Houge (3)

Tuesday
Jul052011

2011 TechDayPlus: By William Hogue 1/3

The following is a summary of the presenation given by William Hogue

Flip your classroom with Google

By William Hogue

I described a problem situation; university science students repeating a required English writing course in a computer lab with “materials” consisting of only PowerPoint slideshows (PPT). I reviewed a previous solution, that of converting the PPT materials to PDFs and then posting them to a shared folder on the university network. From there, students could print them or save them for self-study.  This was a reasonably successful approach, I believe because the PDFs were more accessible to the students than the PPTs, but I felt that more could be done with both distribution and content.

While researching possible solutions, I discovered Jonathan Bergman and Aaron Sam’s “Flipped Classroom”. These two high school chemistry teachers deliver their classes by “vodcast” (video podcast). They then devote class time to hands-on work (chemistry labs, assisting individual students). They report that this “flipping” of lecture and homework has resulting in substantial improvements in outcome. (See the videos embedded in the Google Presentation here: https://docs.google.com/present/edit?id=0AZBhVL1oR0oOZGhrNjhtcHZfMmRkN2NkN2Zk) I then reported using a Google Sites website to accomplish a similar flip. I provide course materials as web pages or as PDFs attached to those pages, but now I also include videos (from YouTube) and interactive grammar review lessons (from BBC Learning English). Class time is now used for “writing workshop” time. I also expanded the system to include two reading courses, using similar procedures.

Finally I showed photos of group work in reading classes and displayed some student writing samples in Google Docs. I reported observing students accessing the videos and interactive lessons during class and also going back to review earlier material during workshop time. Attendance in the “repeater writing” class is very good and the students do revisions online after I leave feedback.

Tuesday
Jul052011

2011 TechDayPlus: By William Hogue 2/3

The following is a summary of the presentation given by William Hogue

Course websites with Google Sites

By William Hogue

In this session I tried to assist everyone in getting started on building a class website with Google Sites. Google Sites offers privacy, ease of use, pre-made templates, and integration with YouTube, RSS feeds and Google Docs and all through a HTML-free interface (similar to blogging). I shared tips on setting up, developing and managing a Google Site.

Perhaps the most difficult and time-consuming task is setting up a Google account. Some of the participants had trouble with the email authentication loop, probably related to the use of spam filters.

We only had time to dabble with Sites in the most basic way. One interesting result is that the “choose a template” step was seen to be a lot more trouble that it is worth. This stems from the very large number of templates that are available with almost no mechanism to sort out which ones are most useful for creating a course site. In the end, the consensus was that starting with a blank template and adding content and styles would be a preferred procedure.

Once logged on and actually working with the content interface, most people agreed that Google Sites represents a big improvement over previous free website builders.

Tuesday
Jul052011

2011 TechDayPlus: By William Hogue 3/3

The following is a summary of the presentation given by William Hogue

Google Forms for homework?

By William Hogue

From the site building session I then looked at using Google Forms for homework assignments. These forms, part of the Google Docs cloud-based office suite, can be integrated into a website or they can be distributed by email. Responses are collected into a Google Docs spreadsheet and summary reports are automatically generated. I showed how I am using Google Forms for several kinds of homework, including book reports. I showed actual samples of student work that had been submitted through Google Forms.

I explained I set a homework deadline one day before the next class. I was then able to review the homework to adjust the next class to speak to any “issues” that became evident. I could also use actual (anonymous) samples of student work and the automatically generated summaries to kick off discussions that were grounded in actual student reactions.

Finally, I showed Google Analytics reports showing that students are accessing the course website from campus about half of the time and occasionally from areas outside of Kansai. Daily usage statistics show a double peak; usage is highest on Sundays and Tuesdays. I concluded that students are engaging with the Google tools and that they benefit from the faster feedback that using them permits.