Monday, January 24, 2011

Animate for Assessment

by Mike Kaechele

In my technology class the "content" is somewhat up to me and I don't give tests. I teach using projects as both the content and the assessment. Since I have some freedom regarding content I like to show students how to use on-line tools for learning integrated with other subjects. I try to work with other teachers in my building to tie into what they are doing in their courses. So I worked with the 7th grade science teachers to have students make videos about different kinds of waves. I showed students different examples and gave them many choices for ways to present. The following is one way.

You may have seen this animation from RSA set to a talk by Sir Ken Robinson. If not, it is worth the 12 minutes.

I showed part of this video to my class and told them that this was one choice for their presentation style. I would let them use a new tool, my livescribe smartpen. One group took me up on it.

First they wrote their script and practiced it on scrap paper. The smartpen requires special paper with micro dots printed on it that an infrared camera at the tip of the pen reads. They then recorded it talking while they drew. They did it in the hallway so there is a bit of talking in the background.

The really nice part about the pen is that you simply plug it into your computer and upload your program and you can easily put it on the livescribe site. From there you can get embed code to put it wherever you choose online. This next quarter I am going to have the whole class try making this style of videos.

So you like this idea, but have no money for a pen. Try using this online whiteboard from GE instead. It lets you email a link to 2 or 3 friends so multiple users can draw at one time. It records the drawing and allows you to play it back. Students can email their finished drawings to themselves or save them. Students could put them on-line using a screencast program such as Jing (requires free download) or Screencast-o-matic (online and easily uploads to Youtube in HD). You can get almost the same effect as the pen for the great price of free!


  1. I also teach a class very similar to this where I have control over what content I teach using technology. I love this project idea, but I am unable to see the video, do you have a link to the video your students created or could you post it somewhere? I am also "shopping" for other projects to do with my class and am open for suggestions if you have any. We are about to start working on Lemonade Day, for more information, which look really promising. I also do alot of project based learning too, we have incorporated gloster, prezi, and several other platforms that are free. I would love to hear back from you and pick your brain about what other projects you do. Thanks-Tabitha

  2. Tabitha

    Which video can't you see? Is it because they are on Youtube? Here is my wiki for the project. The videos are also posted there: Pencasts

    Most of my project ideas are also found on this wiki with some of them having separate pages and others under the grade levels.


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