Keeping it accessible & usable

Four Important considerations when choosing or creating a digital learning resource

Over the last few months in my role as Education Technology Specialist, I was tasked to run an induction training session for new teachers arriving in the UAE as part of the Ministry of Education’s English Department program. Groups of teachers were arriving each week and their experience with digital technologies varied greatly. I constructed a 3 hour “Teaching and Learning with Digital Technologies” training session based around these four considerations for choosing to use a digital tool to enhance or transform learning:

  1. It needs to be aligned to the current learning objectives
  2. there needs to be value added to a learning task
  3. Any content or delivery needs to be culturally appropriate for the learners
  4. The tool needs to be accessible to end users, in this case the teachers and the students

I will be writing more about accessibility and end users (point 4) in a separate later post

[Image above credited to http://www.bluehair.co/ ]

Google Quiz as an accessible and purposeful tool

Google added Quiz functionality to Google Forms during 2016 due to the high demand from teachers. For the training session I chose to use the Google Quiz tool. This was primarily because of its accessibility:

  • Teachers could use Google Quiz from a normal Google (Gmail) Account. Note: The UAE government schools were not Google Suite schools
  • Google Quizzes are easy to learn to create
  • Google Quizzes are accessible to learners via a shortened URL
  • Google Quiz is a tool that can be embedded to enhance current learning in a variety of ways
  • Using Google Quiz exposes teachers to even more readily available and equally accessible Google Apps platform of tools such as Docs, Sheets, and Presentation…etc.

Training Teachers – Modelling the learning

When training teachers I always try to model the learning process that they would use with their class, rather than teach how to use a technology tool. In other words, the teachers become my class of learners. In this session we:

  1. Identified the Four important considerations when choosing a tool (above)
  2. The teachers completed in groups a Google Quiz about the United Arab Emirates – Given to them via a shortened URL: goo.gl/Lv6x5x  
    This quiz on the UAE models a range of question types so it is worth having a go.
  3. Learners reviewed their own group results along with a graphical analysis of all previous submissions (anonymous of course)
  4. As teacher I presented my graphical insights along with how to download results to a google spreadsheet.
  5. We also discussed the purpose and effectiveness of the activity and what the actual learning objectives 

Distribution of quiz submissions

Purpose

When I created the quiz I had in mind the following objectives:

  1. learners will learn something new and interesting about the UAE while accessing previous knowledge
  2. learners will be reinforced with some of the key orientation information such as driving regulations
  3. Learners will collaborate and discuss the questions in groups or pairs
  4. Learners will be fully engaged in the activity
  5. Learners will complete a range of Google Quiz question types and formatting which can be referred to later
  6. Learners who have had little to no exposure to digital technologies in learning will be positive about trying to implement Google Quiz or another tool

Of course a quiz like this could be done to review information viewed or read after a lesson. It could be done at home by students say watching a video and answering a range of comprehension questions. You could combine a quiz with a survey to gather information for further learning. The beauty about google quiz is that it is easy to create, implement and interpret results.

 

Quiz edit features

Individual Activity – Make and distribute a quiz

There are plenty of quiz tools that can be chosen, but I like google quiz because of its simplicity to create. Sometimes there can be some frustration with the lack of functionality, but that needs to be weighed against the ease of use.

The next stage of the learning sees teachers individually making a quiz based on a topic of their choosing

Key learning objectives are:

  1. Think about the purpose of the quiz – how will it enhance learning
  2. Create a Google Form, Name it, and convert to a Quiz
  3. Create different Question Types
    • Multichoice
    • Multiselect
    • Short or Paragraph Answer (not self-marked) – Good for asking group name, or other unmarked feedback
  4. Insert resources such as images, reading texts, and video (using Titles and Sections)
  5. Assign correct answers and points
  6. Response and Quiz Settings
  7. Distributing Quiz – View Form & goo.gl URL shortener

Access Google Quiz Help here from Google

About digitally interactive video – a retraction

At this point I would like to say that teachers who completed this training often pointed out the advantage of being able to insert a video and ask questions. I agreed that it was nice and simple within Google Quiz, however at this point I would like to retract my recommendation in my last post of “Zaption” as an effective interactive video tool for blended learning. In fact, the entire premise that video needs to be made digitally interactive at all.

After writing the post I completed a Master of Education project investigating the effectiveness of digital interactivity in quizzes in a “face to face” learning environment. The evidence was conclusive that, when a class individually watched a video and answered questions using Zaption (or other equivalent tools), that they became disengaged from the teacher and each other for most of this process. This evidence, along with the ridiculous amount of time it took to create the “Zaption lesson” made the use of that particular technology totally ineffective. Of course Zaption might be effective in a fully online environment. However, it is interesting that Zaption disappeared mid 2016 after being bought out by another digital company.

Kahoooooot!

Every lesson needs some reinforcement. I used a Kahoot testing them on how to make a google quiz to finish up. Accessible here:

Kahoot – Teaching and Learning with digital technologies – Create a free account and login to Kahoot at create.kahoot.it and then use or duplicate this one create.kahoot.it/#quiz/2e2e6734-5bc6-43b0-a13d-646e389412ed

The Kahoot was a different tool that creates a lot of competition and excitement and can be completed by group or individually. Kahoot is easy to learn and use. The key difference between Google Quiz and Kahoot in this lesson, was that the Google Quiz was designed for learners to collaborate and discuss, while a Kahoot was an instant buzz to generate hype. Both are equally relevant given the right learning objective.

Summary

I guess it it simple really. When training teachers to use digital technology, always try to model the learning activity and question whether or not the digital tool enhances the learning. Most importantly, ensure that the tool is both accessible and usable by those using it.

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