For the final examination in eCampusLive Biology 12, I wanted to do something different, something that I'd never been done before and in a galaxy not so far away, my class.
For a bit of context, in Biology, final exams are always printed on paper in black and white. Dull... Colour copying is too expensive for a one-time test, and students always seem to draw on the pages. Without colour though, diagrams of circulatory system lack the ability to convey meaningful information about oxygenation. Also, differentiating green chloroplasts from other cellular organelles becomes a real chore. Those mitochondria typically depicted in red, lose their lustre. Let's face it, diagrams are impaired.
Why not move beyond diagrams, I pondered? Google Forms, in case you haven't tried them, let you create multiple choice questions and place images AND video preceding responses. That's right -- video in the form of small YouTube windows. Absolutely perfect in conveying moving processes like peristaltic waves of the digestive system, I was hooked. I had to include this kind of material in my final exam.
So, many hours later in constructing my Google Form (similar to the link in the video) with uploaded and online images, as well as questions with embedded YouTube content, the final exam was finished.
Okay, so it was amazing. With a DNA image as the background to the form, Google automatically matched the blue tones, providing a light-blue background. I was impressed.
So how does StarWars factor into my Biology 12 final exam? Look closely in the image above at the first question "Enter the Star Wars name provided to you..." To protect student privacy with Google Forms, I provided each student with a Star Wars name on the day of the final. No student knew what their name would be. And FIPPA-compliant, neither would the Internet... [Cheers and applause...]
As an added touch, I discovered how to program Google Forms' spreadsheet to automatically grade the exam. You see, Google Forms saves response data as a spreadsheet. Using spreadsheet formulas, each answer in the final was compared to the correct answers I provided. When the exam was finished, the scores for each Star Wars student automatically displayed in the spreadsheet. Now if you're interested in seeing how this is done, here's how it is done.
I know what're likely thinking -- how did you transplant all those final exam questions? Well, in part I copied and pasted data from PDF's of the exams. Then, there was a lot of typing and web searches for better colour diagrams and video content for questions. It was admittedly a sizeable task, but completely worth it.
On the day of the exam, when students received their Star Wars identities, I was a bit nervous. I provided the URL for the Google Form, highly classified data until the day of the test. I was worried there wouldn't be complications. For example, if students pressed enter, it automatically completed the form. Luckily, Google Forms has an option for the test-taker to return to the form and continue completing entries is this is the case. It's an important option to include when creating the form. I'll post more about that later.
Suffice it to say, the students completed the exam and had nothing but positive things to say. The test was completed in the school's PC wired lab, so there was little chance of flaky wifi-ness.
Post-exam, I matched students' Star Wars name to their score and was amazed I could analyze responses of all students. You see, Google Forms creates a Summary of Responses as pie graphs. This enabled me to see what students had answered for each question. I was understandably happy with the result.
So, if you're looking to create online Google Forms assessments, I highly encourage it. Check the links in this post if you're eager to get started. Later this spring, I'll post a YouTube clip explaining much more. But for now, I wanted to blog about how well the experience went. Will I create a Google Forms eCampusLive Biology 11 Final Exam? It's a secret and don't tell anyone, but the answer is HECK yes. :)
Three years into the eCampusLive Program at College Heights, and we thought we'd hit our stride. There's immersive role play, scientific project-based learning, and inquiry initiatives. From the "Dr. Awesome Medical Scenarios" to "A Curious Case Indeed," the goal of the program remains to create engaging learning opportunities, provide a la carte instruction, and maximize in-class interactions & teacher access. As a flipped classroom, marrying project-based learning to blended learning has proven very successful.
As eCampusLive evolves, change is the greatest constant. And, change is exciting, creating a vital opportunity to grow in important new ways. Having the recent opportunity to visit the InnovateBC K-12 Symposium, discussions about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) led to examples in action at BC schools. Without specifically realizing it and as conversations unfolded, I came to realize the eCampusLive Program at College Heights Secondary had always been a STEM initiative. Interacting with UNBC in partnerships such as "DNA for a Day" and most recently, "Botany at UNBC" were natural interactions between post-secondary education and the K-12 system. Realizing this was an important step. The next was to understand the bevy of experience, advice, and potential mentorship in reaching out and working with industry.
With a single trip, my outlook evolved overnight. The resulting vision will undoubtedly take time and commitment. There are lessons learned, valuable experience, and resources to move forward. eCampusLive offers a digital course and materials with a full host of Biology 11 & 12 lessons on YouTube. Formative assessment for learning is cemented throughout the program providing insight and opportunities for learners to perform at their best. Project-Based-Learning and inquiry remain rich experiences students have responded very positively to. Yet, in this regard, through STEM, I'm convinced we can do even better. Creating real projects that address vital issues through science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and more is the natural course.
It's exciting to steer in a new, but similar fashion with inquiry and project-based learning. If it weren't a bit uncertain, it probably wouldn't be worth considering. Making a dent in the universe, however, is worth it...
The night before the BC K-12 Innovation Partnership Forum, I thought I'd pen a few thoughts about social media as an immersive tool for learning. True to its moniker, social media provides a gateway for sharing ideas, conversations, thoughts, and products of learning.
Each year, I encourage students in eCampusLive to create a social media site that Carl Linnaeus, the father of Biological Taxonomy, would post if he were alive today. One part role play, another immersion within the context of biological classification, I've never been disappointed with student creativity and expression where role-play is concerned.
A recent iteration of this project demonstrates the fusion of social media, Facebook & YouTube, where Linnaeus rolls out & explains his classification system for organisms, while entertaining with an educational running monologue. This kind of grading is not only fun for everyone involved, but a great process to demonstrate learning with a bit of comedic flare :D
Welcome to the eCampusLive blog. I'm Jerry Bleecker. I teach Biology, Science, Information Technology, Computer Arts, and more. It's an exciting year to share our experiences with our flipped classroom endeavour.