02 December 2012

Part3: Classroom motivation and assessment : Infuselearning

In two blog postings (Part 1 / Part 2) from January 2012, I presented several options for classroom evaluation and activities using computer-based sites and hand-held devices. Included in that discussion was the web-based "Socrative" that can be used on any device (computer, phone, tablet) and that is available as an iOS app

Over the Thanksgiving week-end, Kathy Schrock tweeted that she was demonstrating a new student response site, Infuselearning.  What captured my interest the most about this tweet was the TwitPic of the participants' pictures that they had made using Infuselearning. I often use whiteboards in class to assess student comprehension through drawing. Additionally, 1st and 2nd year students draw their vocabulary in their notebooks. Sharing student drawings involves soliciting volunteers and projecting with the document camera. This practice has worked well, but I was interested in saving student work for others to see. 

I visited the Infuselearning site, signed up for an account, and spent roughly two hours exploring the site and its capacities. My main concern: How did this site compare to Socrative, a major favorite for me and my students? My criteria included:
1. Tracking student progress through downloadable reports.
2. Multiple assessment options including short text, multiple choice, and true/false.
3.  Option to uploaded images to the assessment.
4. Room number/identifying code for the classroom. Students prefer to log in with the same room code each time. Infuselearning provides this code at the top left of the teacher screen. (See dashboard picture below.)
5. Student opinion of the interface. Their opinion is important as they are the end users. 

Infuselearning offers intriguing options to assess student comprehension. From the dashboard, teachers can choose to do "Quick Assessments" for on-the-fly type questions or they can build and save quizzes for later use. The Quick Assessment options include: Draw Response, True/False, Multiple Choice, Sort and Order, Open Ended Text Answer, Numeric, and Likert Scales.  


As I was most interested in the drawing component, I explored that option first. When students log in to the system with the provided classroom code, the teacher is able to "push/send" out tasks to everyone who is connected. Participants do NOT need to be in the same room. This could be done from miles away. 

When the teacher chooses the "Draw Response" option, participants automatically see this screen. It allows users to change the colors and the size of the brush. They may rotate the drawing and erase what is not wanted. When the drawing is completed, it is uploaded to the teacher dashboard by pushing the download arrow button. It's the last arrow on the left side. 




As the participants send their drawings, they appear on the teacher dashboard for all to see. These drawing can be saved as PDF files directly to the teacher computer. This is a view of the teacher dashboard with one picture submitted. 


Under the Interactive Tools option (right side of the dashboard), teachers are able to push/send pictures and links to student devices. The two options are: Infuse Draw and Infuse Link. This is a remarkable option that I greatly appreciate. When working online, students are not always easily able to navigate to a Web site. They may spell the URL incorrectly or not know how to use the address bar correctly. The teacher may send the students to a video or a Web site. 


Under the Infuse Draw option, users can upload a picture to the teacher dashboard, draw/highlight the picture and send it to the student devices with a question. In this example, I took a picture of a nose, circled it in red, and chose the "Text" question option. The student device displayed the exact picture and offered a space to write an answer for the picture. As students submit their answers, the teacher is able to collect and save them. 



Under the Quiz Management bar, teachers can prepare assessments using a variety of question types. Again, the ability to use multiple assessment types is highly desired. Students are able to demonstrate their knowledge in various ways. If they are weaker in spelling, multiple choice and true/false type questions will allow them to convey their knowledge. Please note: At this time there is no option to draw in the student-paced quiz. Infuselearning has noted on their site that this is option will be available in the near future. Students may skip a question and return to it later. As an added option, students may listen to the words on the quiz by clicking the sound button. At this time, this option for language teachers is not ideal. If you don't switch the language at the bottom of the page, the phrase will be read in English. If you do choose the target language, the system changes the written text. In this picture, my answer options included the French word "bras" (arms). When I changed the language to French, the word "bras" was interpreted as the French word "soutien-gorge" was means "bra/undergarment." I will be sending Infuselearning a suggestion that they allow quiz makers to select the language of the quiz before they distribute it. However, as pointed out on the Infuselearning site, non-proficient speakers of English could use the language option to help them understand the question better. 


As students progress through the quiz, the teacher is able to watch the progression of correct and incorrect answers. If a student demonstrates too many red marks, the teacher could intervene immediately to help the student. It is suggested that the LCD projector be frozen or not in use during a quiz as this information is sensitive and private. 


Under Class Setup, teachers are able to build classes with student names. I have only added the classes, but no students at this time. It seems that is possible to track student progress when they sign in (not using open enrollment) with the name that has been entered, but I have not been able to find how to do this yet. I will be exploring this option more over the Winter break. 


Lastly, under the "Preferences" link, Infuselearning allows users to modify their preferences for quiz navigation (skipping questions), audio, and translating. There are several helpful video/presentations under the "Help" button and the option to send a help ticket to the support team.  By following the support team on Twitter (@InfuseLearning), users may send questions to the support team. I received a reply to my first inquiry within a few minutes on a school day. 

Issues: As I test piloted with my French IV group, we found a few buggy moments. None of their pictures appeared during a Draw Response question. We refreshed the site and tried a second time and it worked. This happened a few other times with the Draw Response. The support team sent me some pointers on how to avoid this error. 

Using iPod Touch devices (we have 21 in our classroom) works well for the quizzes, but not as well for the drawing. The surface is a bit too small and the tools take up some room on the canvass. Nonetheless, the students LOVED the drawing function. Students who have SmartPhones are able to connect easily, but I would advise that they use the WiFi (if your school has it), as data plans are expensive. Students can log out and share devices if not everyone has a phone, tablet, computer, or iPod Touch. 

I highly recommend Infuselearning to World Language teachers. The various types of assessment options, the easy of use, and the ability to share quizzes corresponds exactly to our needs. Pictures, both uploaded and student-drawn, are exceptional ways to communicate language and culture. 

Please let me know if you have any questions about using Infuselearning or any other interactive student assessment tool. I have been piloting them for over a year and feel fairly confident on recommending options. 

If you have an iOS device, explore an app that was recently suggested to me on Twitter, "Nearpod."

Bon surf à tout le monde!
Catherine Ousselin: Co-Chair for the Commission on Technology, AATF 

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