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Showing posts from November, 2018

The Universe decides...

For a number of years now, instead of a fixed (or no) seating plan for my classroom, I've been using visibly random grouping (PDF) .  I have an Excel spreadsheet ( link ) that takes my class list and randomly assigns them to a 4-seater table (2 tables that seat two students). I project it at the beginning of class as they walk in.  And I use 5 plastic covered letters to randomly place the groups inside the space. Now, my classroom has one fixed projector and the rest of the room is either whiteboard or window -- both vertical surfaces are used to write on, and the tables have been explicitly purchased so that the surfaces are write-able. So while we do a lot of work seated they will also go to the whiteboards individually or in pairs (the table seating decide the pairs). While the pedagogical reasons for using visibly random grouping are laid out in the attached article above, I bring it up because of what happened the other day.  Someone else had used my room for a discussion

This is a Test... this is only a test...

This post wouldn't have been possible without Eric in our IT Dept -- he fixed a network setting that prevented us from using TakeATest last year... so a huge shout-out to him (he's likely relieved because I've been pestering him for the past couple of years!) Built into Windows10 (right from its initial release!) is the option to TakeATest -- a way to lock down the device to a single web address.  It shuts them out from any program or content on their device and restricts them to whatever webpage you direct them to -- the only way to exit is to CTRL-ALT-DELETE back to the login screen.  They can't do screen captures, can't open up other pages, print, etc. In most cases, this has been used to lock down the device and have the student take a Microsoft Forms based assessment ( how? click here ) -- the student clicks on the link to the Form and they answer the questions, typically multiple choice, short answer, sorting (all automatically graded) and long answer (not a

Post It Notes go universal

Microsoft recently began rolling out an update to their Post-It Note software, which they call StickyNotes - now at version 3.  You can get it in the Microsoft Store here .  For the sake of clarity, I'll continue to refer to them as Post-It Notes -- they're like Kleenex. What's nice now is that the Notes now sync between devices that are tied to the same Microsoft/Office365 account.  So my school laptop, my home desktop and my phone can now access all the same notes all the time. (I did use my personal Microsoft Account rather than my O365 account because I use them for personal reminders and not just academic ones.) The application is as simple and colourful as you'd expect.  You click the + sign to get a new note. You'll briefly see a little check mark as the note gets synced to the cloud.  There are some basic formatting ( bold , italic , underline , list ... and strike-out for when you get things done!).  And you can change the colour of the note by clic