18 Aug 2017

Administer Automated Offline Quizzes with Moodle

If you are like most educational institutions, you are most probably still using the tradidtional paper and pencil testing for students, although a growing number of institutions are opting for a computer-based or online Moodle tests. The paper-and-pencil tests pose many challenges to administer for students. They can be very time-consuming to correct, even though they are multiple choice questions, and are susceptible to student cheating, unless you have the time to shuffle the answers and questions and correct the different versions. Thankfully, Moodle has a remarkable plugin Offline Quiz, contributed by Academic Moodle Cooperation.

After installing Offline Quiz Moodle plugin use the embedded cheat sheet below to help configure and administer a successful offline tests.

The Offline Quizzes plugin works much like an Optical Mark Reader, which reads the shaded bubbled or checkboxes and grades the tests based on that. The Offline Quiz plugin provides the PDF or Doc version of both the question sheet and the answer form. What is really remarkable is that it can give up to six groups of shuffled questions and answers, a great way to lessen cheating. Each student will get his pre-filled answer form with his ID as configured using the plugin. After the papers are scanned, students and teachers, based upon the teachers’ preference can see the errors after they are imported to Moodle and become part of the Moodle Gradebook.

More precisely, a complete offline quiz consists (at least) of the following steps:

  • A teacher creates an offline quiz in Moodle and adds multiple-choice questions, all-or-nothing multiple-choice questions or description questions (text) to the quiz. This is very similar to creating online quizzes (standard Moodle quizzes).
  • From the question lists the teacher creates question sheets and answer forms as PDF (DOCX) documents using the module. 
  • The question sheets and answer forms are handed out to students for the actual quiz. The students mark the answers they think are correct in the answer form.
  • The teacher scans the filled-in answer forms and uploads the resulting images into the offline quiz. The scanned answer forms are evaluated and graded automatically by the module. 
  • If necessary, the teacher corrects errors that might have occurred due to mistakes made by the students or due to bad scan quality.

After results have been created in an offline quiz, students can review their result as usual. If the teacher allows it, students can also see the scanned answer forms and which markings have been recognized as crosses.

The module supports up to six groups which are not related to Moodle course groups. Each group can contain a different set of questions in a different order. Separate question sheets and answer forms are created for the different offline quiz groups.

The module also supports lists of participants which are useful for checking which students actually took part in the exam. Lists of participants are pre-filled with students in Moodle. PDF versions of those lists can be created in the module for easy marking during the exam. The marked lists can be uploaded and evaluated automatically.

Admin Settings

As an administrator you can set the default values instance-wide on the settings page for administrators in the MC Offline quiz module.

  • formula for participant identification (text field)
  • mix questions (checkbox)
  • mix answers (checkbox)
  • logo URL (text field)
  • copyright indication (checkbox)
  • settings for exam inspection (checkbox)
  • decimal places (drop down)
  • paper’s white level (drop down)
  • 1-click inscription (checkbox)
  • role for inscription (drop down)
  • saving days (text field)

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15 Aug 2017

Best 5 WordPress School Management System Themes & Plugins

It’s a fact that WordPress powers more than 27% of all sites across the web. Therefore, it is not surprising that we are repeatedly approached by schools to ask for an over the counter school management system built in WordPress, or we are asked to develop one for them. Although we do not support this notion for many reasons beyond the scope of this post, here is a list of the best WordPress school management system themes and plugins. These themes  and plugins can be customized based on the school’s needs, but they do have some customization limitations. We would recommend them for small to medium sized schools and that do not have a complex operations system, sort of traditional school workflows.

1. WPSchoolPress

WPSchoolPress is a complete school management WordPress plugin. It claims to make the school operations transparent. As with all the other plugins and themes listed here, there are four roles: Admin, Teachers, Students, and Parents. Each has a definite access privilege and dashboard. WPSchoolPress  can help the school manage attendance, classes, subjects, marks, exams, events, Time table, and transportation. It includes a  notification system and sms API integration. WPSchoolPress is subscription-based.


2. Schoex

Schoex claims to be the ultimate WordPress school management system. It is built on Larabel 4 and AngularJS, which give it greater flexiblity and robustness. In addition to WPSchoolPress plugin features, it has payment and accounting, online exams. polling, public registration and approval by admin, assignments, media center, study materials, generate mark sheets, and much more.




3. Inilabs

Though less visually appealing than the others,  Inlabs is really robust under the hood. Unlike the others, it has unlimited role permissions. This is great for many schools that have different personnel categories like support staff : ITs, librarians etc. Inilabs supports online payment, easy student promotion gateway. IT can mange expenses, has a report card system, and includes a syllabus. This is in addition to the conventional modules.



4. Ekattor Pro

Ekattor has been on the market for a while. It has an all-in-one dashboard. It has study document distribution based on classes/teachers, exam marks management, vivid class routine schedule, invoice management, RTL support, and product language management. It has the most sales among the rest, perhaps this is due to its longevity on the market. However, it does have some negative reviews in terms of support. Ekattor also has a WordPress plugin in case you do not want to opt for a theme.



5. School Management System Plugin for WordPress

School Management System Plugin is an ideal way to manage complete school operation. The system has different access rights for Admin, Teachers, Students, and Parents. It has a front end student registration, followed by Admin approval, online fees payment, Library module, front end modules for parents, teachers, and students. It also has grade, class, and subject modules. It has a class route, reports, payment module, student migration module, Hall List, transportation and event-notice modules. You can combine it with WordPress Learning Management System plugin and Paymaster plugin to have an all star school ERP and learning management system.



No school needs are the same. So, you need to know what your school needs, and see if the theme or plugin can grow up as your school operations become more complex. Is it salable? IS it sustainable? Is it secure? Does it meet the special needs of your school? These and many other questions should prompt you to choose the right school management system and any other plugin that extends its features.

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12 Aug 2017

The Importance of Sound Pedagogy while Using Moodle: A case of one college

Moodle pedagogyAs much as I am always excited working with Moodle, the truth is that many Moodle users do not use sound pedagogy to have an impact on student achievement. Moodle HQ understand it very well, or are at least beginning to know the importance of sound pedagogy. That’s why they appointed a new pedagogy Adviser (read the interview). The main Moodle site also includes some pedagogical resources. Moodle also gives annual MOOCs for teachers and instructors to learn how to use Moodle from a pedagogical approach. There is however a problem when Moodle partners deliver those professional development sessions on Moodle as these sessions tend to be heavily reliant on Moodle features. They are not crafted to meet the professional needs or open possible opportunities for educators attending those sessions.

This post will discuss how one college, through a review study of their Moodle use, has unrightly come to the conclusion that Moodle is viewed as unsatisfactory for faculty members and students. Reading the study results, it is clear to me that the problem is not Moodle per se but how it is used by faculty members and students. Moodle itself claims to have been developed from a social constructionist stance and purports that “finding balance” is necessary. In this college LMS review highlights below, you will see that Moodle was not used for what it was intended too. You can extrapolate this to many other institutions that do not leverage the power of this “Swiss knife”. Let’s start.

Carleton College Moodle Evaluation and Needs Review

This evaluation and needs review was incited by reports and blog posts from both faculty members and students. The general feeling towards Moodle was this

Moodle is not fulfilling the curricular technology needs at a satisfactory level.

With the support of Future Learning Technologies Groups, the college conducted a campus-wide evaluation of the use of Moodle. In 2016, students and faculty were invited to participate in an online survey to gather data. The survey focused on assessing the satisfaction and importance of various features supported in Moodle 3.1. At the same time, the college investigated analytics from Moodle server to give more information about how and what is being used in Moodle. Finally, they conducted a focused group interview to gather more in-depth feedback.

Satisfaction and Importance Survey Results

All faculty were invited to complete an online survey asking about their use and satisfaction with Moodle. Faculty who indicated that they did not use Moodle at all were only asked to indicate the value they placed on various features that are typically provided by the learning management system (LMS). Those who indicated they did use Moodle were also asked how satisfied they were with how Moodle provided those same features.

Students were also surveyed on their satisfaction with Moodle and how it was used for their courses. A sample of 900 students were invited to participate in the survey.

Faculty who responded indicated that most of the communication activities listed were important to their work, and that they were quite satisfied with how Moodle performed these activities. As for assignment activities, the majority of faculty members do not use them, and those who used them were satisfied with them. Faculty placed a lot of importance on most course administration activities listed, and those who used Moodle for these activities were generally satisfied with it. However, a over half of respondents did not use Moodle for grade calculation, combining materials for separate sections of a course, or for controlling access by groups of students. There was some importance placed on interactions such as online discussions, signup sheets or peer review activities, but most faculty did not seem to use Moodle for these types of interactions.

The student survey was separated into five sections – Individual Course Information, Course Information Across Multiple Courses, Assignments, Grading & Feedback and Non-Course Activities. Students placed a lot of importance on most of the features relevant to individual course pages, particularly access to course readings and syllabus information. They were generally satisfied with their experience with most of these features in courses that used them, but seemed to be less satisfied with notification options from Moodle. Student comments indicated that there was a desire to retain access all past course sites and have a consolidated calendar of assignment due dates. Several students indicated that they were unaware that Moodle could provide a consolidated calendar of dates, and a few indicated confusion over how to navigate within Moodle. Students placed a lot of importance on assignment features such as accessing assignment prompts and uploading their submissions to assignments, but less importance on collaborative activities. Students indicated that they were generally satisfied with assignment prompts access and submission upload, but collaborative features have not often been used in classes they took. Students placed a lot of importance on accessing grade and feedback information, both at the assignment and course levels. However, there was uneven satisfaction levels with these features, with some students indicating that they have never had a course that used them. Few students answered these questions because they had never used Moodle for non-course activities (such as student organizations, etc). Those who did indicated that features for these situations were generally important, however most indicated that they had never used Moodle for these purposes.

Focus Group Results

Seven focus groups sessions were conducted with faculty and staff to discuss opinions of Moodle and the importance of curricular technologies, in general. Twenty-three people attended the discussions. The comments were split into sub-categories as listed below:

Course Needs

  • Adaptive Lessons or Quizzing – activities involving adaptive lessons or quizzing
  • Archival – using Moodle to archive information about the course
  • Communication – using Moodle to communicate course information with students
  • Desired setting or feature – request for a specific feature or function that is not currently available
  • Discussion – using Moodle to host online discussions in addition to in-class activities
  • Information distribution – using Moodle to distribute course information to students
  • Online interactions – using Moodle for other online interactions, such as getting student feedback or conducting peer review
  • Organizational – using Moodle to organize the course information for students
  • Scheduling – using Moodle to schedule appointments, tutor sessions, presentations, etc
  • Specialized Tools – using or linking to Moodle for discipline-specific activities or features
  • Tracking & Grading – using the assignment grading, gradebook, or other ways to track student activity

Support Needs

  • Dissatisfaction with current status – expression of dissatisfaction with current features, or the way features work
  • Lack of information – comment on how information is not available or accessible to those who need it
  • Lack of interest – comment demonstrating a lack of interest in using the features of Moodle
  • Lack of time – comment on how there is not enough time available to use Moodle well
  • Recommendations for support techniques – recommendations for how ITS could better support faculty use of Moodle
  • Support preferences – expression of which support materials are preferred


Moodle Database Results

This analysis was done on the data available in the Moodle databased for course pages used during the academic year from Fall 2014 through Spring 2016. This analysis included about 5130 course pages,

Overall Moodle Usage
  • 42% of all objects added to Moodle course pages are Files.
    Count of all Objects by Module Type (Moodle Eval 2016)
  • Other forms of information distribution make up another 36% of all objects
  • added to Moodle course pages
  • Other modules commonly used include Assignments (9%), Forums (8%) and Quizzes (2%)

Conclusion: The primary use of Moodle is to distribute information and resources to students.

The Moodle server reports also included in-depth view of forum usage reveal that they ere used almost exclusively for distributing information, and rarely used for interactive discussion. The Assignment module was sometimes used, but it was not often used to return feedback to students. The primary use of Moodle was to distribute information and resources to students. Gradebook is not often used to calculate or share grades with students.

The Moodle interaction analysis showed that

  • Students were mostly viewing Moodle sites, with the most views being of the main course pages, module pages, assignment submissions and discussions.
  • Student use of Moodle increased as the content available on the Moodle site increased, with student usage increasing quite a bit for course pages with the most content.
  • Teachers were mostly viewing Moodle sites, although not as much as students. The most views were of the main course pages, user lists, module pages and grade reports.


Based on the triangulated college Moodle review above, there is a clear indication of the disparity between faculty use and faculty perception of Moodle. This indicates that this college faculty professional development on using Moodle, instructional design faculty professional development, and ,as a result, faculty technology integration attitudes need to be addressed. The faculty members were mainly using Moodle as a file repository. This is fine as a start, but this was not why Moodle was built. The most important activities and modules in Moodle like discussion forums, lessons, workshops, groups and groupings etc. were not used, and if they were , they were sporadic and not based on sound pedagogy. As a result, students did not appreciate the Moodle platform because there was no community of inquiry present.

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10 Aug 2017

8 Free Interactive Video Tools to Impact Student Learning

As educators, we all know that videos engage students more than reading texts. Although having students analyze and reflect on videos should be balanced with textual analysis and interpretations, videos do have the added value of using the visual and auditory channels to help students retain more information so that they can be in a better position to  deconstruct the messages encoded in the video, reflect on it, and discuss with peers. However, like reading texts, especially long intricate texts, students need embedded formative feedback. Watching a 20 minute video for example might disengage a student, or might include more information than the student can retrieve. The best solution to help students think about the video they are watching is embedded questions and discussions.

This is why we have listed 8 free video tools that can help you, more or less, build activities or questions around videos students watch at home as part of a blended, online  or flipped learning course/class. We are presenting them in preference of open source technologies as we support and acknowledge the efforts put into open source technologies as opposed to for-profit edtechs.

1. H5P (open source)

2017-08-10_23-32-41H5P is much more than an interactive video platform. It has so many possibilities. But for this post, we are only discussing its interactive video feature. H5P Interactive video is an HTML5 based interactive video content type allowing users to add multiple choice and  fill in the blank questions, pop-up text and other types of interactions to their videos using only a web browser. What we also found awesome is that  you can make your videos more engaging with H5P and interactive video on WordPress, Moodle and Drupal; and it lets you track student performance. Here’s an example we did some while ago.

Here’s another example.

2. Videonot.es (open source)

Sometimes you just want to have you students take intermittent notes on particular time lapses of the video. Whether note-taking, posing questions, self-questioning, reflecting, or just summarizing, students use these techniques to improve their performance. Videonote.es is a powerful online video notes tool that lets students take all the notes they type automatically synchronized with the video. Later, they just click on a line for the video to jump to the relevant part. Videonot.es is integrated with Google Drive. So any student can save their notes to Google Drive. Students can share their Video.notes file on G Drive to share with teachers for assignment feedback.

3. Office Mix (free)

2017-08-10_23-29-52I know you adore PowerPoint. Don’t we all?Fortunately,  Microsoft has added a PowerPoint add-in, Office Mix that turns your PowerPoint presentation into an interactive video, for free. Yup! for free.

You can add audio, video, and digital ink; create polls and interactive apps; create quizzes and simulations; design assessments and get reports; gain insights and analytics of video interactors; and it can playback on any device. Microsoft has created a decent set of tutorials for Office Microsoft. It also has a page just for educators to support their classroom teaching for blended, flipped or completely online instructions. Download and install it here. Here’s an example.

4. Vialogues (free, registration needed)

2017-08-10_23-35-39Short for video dialogues, Vialogues claims that it helps anyone to start meaningful discussions around videos. Being built by Edlab, Teachers College at Columbia University, we don’t have any reason not to believe it delivers what it promises. Vialogues includes 4 easy steps to get started: Create, Invite, Interact, and Share.

An award-winning discussion platform that proves that videos are both powerful teaching resources and the ultimate conversation starters. Vialogues provides a space for users to hold meaningful and dynamic time-stamped discussions about videos.

5. Videoposit (freemimum for individual account)

2017-08-10_23-45-09Lately, I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback on Videoposit by teachers. Based on the language used on Videoposit website, it seems it is mostly geared towards higher education and corporate settings, although they claim that k12 school setting is also supported. Videoposit claims to improve professional development and on-boarding of instructors/employees. It says it renders effortless authorship, learner engagement, accountable tracking, and seamless workflow.

I wouldn’t trust a website that uses its owner’s pet dog as a logo, but you are welcome to try it anyway.

6. Edpuzzle (freemimum for individual account)

2017-08-11_0-10-53Edupuzzle claims it is the easiest way to engage students with videos by picking a video, adding a magical touch and tracking students’ understanding. Edpuzzle saves time and improves student learning by taking an already existing video on Youtube, Khan Academy, Crash Course etc. or uploading your own, by enabling self-paced learning with interactive lessons, adding one’s voice and questions along the video, and by knowing if your students are watching your videos, how many times and see the answers they give. Edpuzzle is also available as an Android and iOS app, and ass a Chrome extension, a Youtube extension.

7. TEDed Lessons (free)

2017-08-11_0-20-23If you are like me, you would binge watch TED talks. They are tremendously inspiring. TEDed Lessons was created to build lessons around TED videos, or any other video as well. The video questions are sorted into four categories: Watch (student watches video.), Think (student answers multiple choice questions.), Dig Deeper (Student answers a subjective question or follows some additional resources.), and Discuss( Students discuss the video with peers.). This categorization is a great way for differentiating learning in terms of cognitive processes. The technical difference between TEDed lessons and Edupuzzle, Videoposit, and H5P above is that the questions in TEDed lessons are not embedded in the video. The student watches the whole video and answers the questions, although toggling between watching and answering questions is an option too (perhaps it is better for students to choose whether to answer questions whilst watching or later?).

8. Google Forms? (free)

2017-08-11_0-22-27I know what you are thinking! Again? Back to Google? Well, the generic aspect of G Suite is that it can allow you to remix anything you want to produce what you need for your instructional objectives. Using Google Form Quiz template, you can embed a YouTube video followed by questions on the video. Although the questions are not embedded in the video, itself this helps students check their understanding and think deeper about the issues in the video. You can also add YouTube video questions at consequent times in the video so that students watch the video and answer questions before moving on to the next part of the video. For example, question 1 would be a YouTube video that starts at 0 sec. and ends at 1 min. Question 2 includes the same video start time at 1 min. and ends at 3 min. and so on (see here on how to do it).

We hope you liked the interactive video tools above. Have you used any of these before? Are they new to you? Are you willing to try one this school year? Share your thoughts in the comment box below

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07 Aug 2017

Improving Student Learning with Effective Learning Techniques Part 3: Summarization

Students often need to read and understand a lot of information by extracting the more important ideas. This requires discarding less important ideas and connecting ideas within a text. Accomplishing these goals requires student to write summaries of to-be-learned texts (often as part of or pre-requisite to  text analysis and evaluation). Although summarizing a text is considered an instructional goal of its own right, the post is only concerned whether improve student performance on subsequent criterion tests on the same materials.


Description and Why it should work

As an introduction to the issues relevant to summarization, we begin with a description of a prototypical experiment. Bretzing and Kulhavy (1979) had high school juniors and seniors study a 2,000-word text about a fictitious tribe of people. Students were assigned to one of five learning conditions and given up to 30 minutes to study the text. After reading each page, students in a summarization group were instructed to write three lines of text that summarized the main points from that page. Students in a note-taking group received similar instructions, except that they were told to take up to three lines of notes on each page of text while reading. Stu- dents in a verbatim-copying group were instructed to locate and copy the three most important lines on each page. Students in a letter-search group copied all the capitalized words in the text, also filling up three lines. Finally, students in a control group simply read the text without recording anything. (A subset of students from the four conditions involving writing were allowed to review what they had written, but for present purposes we will focus on the students who did not get a chance to review before the final test.) Students were tested either shortly after learning or 1 week later, answering 25 questions that required them to connect information from across the text. On both On both the immediate and delayed tests, students in the summarization and note-taking groups performed best, followed by the students in the verbatim-copying and control groups, with the worst performance in the letter-search group

(see Fig. 3).




Bretzing and Kulhavy’s (1979) results fit nicely with the claim that summarization boosts learning and retention because it involves attending to and extracting the higher-level meaning and gist of the material. The conditions in the experiment were specifically designed to manipulate how much students processed the texts for meaning, with the letter-search condition involving shallow processing of the text that did not require learners to extract its meaning.

More than just facilitating the extraction of meaning, however, summarization should also boost organizational processing, given that extracting the gist of a text requires learners to connect disparate pieces of the text, as opposed to simply evaluating its individual components (similar to the way in which note-taking affords organizational processing;

So how strong is the evidence that summarization is a beneficial learning strategy? One reason this question is difficult to answer is that the summarization strategy has been implemented in many different ways across studies, making it difficult to draw general conclusions about its efficacy.

Studies show that “summarization is not one strategy but a family of strategies”. Depending on the particular instructions given, students’ summaries might consist of single words, sentences, or longer paragraphs; be limited in length or not; capture an entire text or only a portion of it; be written or spoken aloud; or be produced from memory or with the text present.

The focus on training students to summarize reflects the belief that the quality of summaries matters. If a summary does not emphasize the main points of a text, or if it includes incorrect information, why would it be expected to benefit learning and retention? Consider a study by Bednall and Kehoe (2011, Experiment 2), in which undergraduates studied six Web units that explained different logical fallacies and provided examples of each. Of interest for present purposes are two groups: a control group who simply read the units and a group in which students were asked to summarize the material as if they were explaining it to a friend. Both groups received the following tests: a multiple-choice quiz that tested information directly stated in the Web unit; a short-answer test in which, for each of a list of presented statements, students were required to name the specific fallacy that had been committed or write “not a fallacy” if one had not occurred; and, finally, an application test that required students to write explanations of logical fallacies in examples that had been studied (near transfer) as well as explanations of fallacies in novel examples (far transfer). Summarization did not benefit overall performance, but the researchers noticed that the summaries varied a lot in content; for one studied fallacy, only 64% of the summaries included the correct definition. Higher-quality summaries that contained more information and that were linked to prior knowledge were associated with better performance.

Several other studies have supported the claim that the quality of summaries has consequences for later performance. Garner (1982) showed that the quality of summaries matters: Under- graduates read a passage on Dutch elm disease and then wrote a summary at the bottom of the page. Five days later, the students took an old/new recognition test; critical items were new statements that captured the gist of the passage. Students who wrote better summaries (i.e., summaries that captured more important information) were more likely to falsely recognize these gist statements, a pattern suggesting that the students had extracted a higher- level understanding of the main ideas of the text.



Learning conditions

Many different types of summaries can influence learning and retention; summarization can be simple, requiring the generation of only a heading or a single sentence per paragraph of a text , or it can be as complicated as an oral presentation on an entire set of studied material . Whether it is better to summarize smaller pieces of a text (more frequent summarization) or to capture more of the text in a larger summary (less frequent summarization) has been debated . The debate remains unresolved, perhaps because what constitutes the most effective summary for a text likely depends on many factors (including students’ ability and the nature of the material).

One other open question involves whether studied material should be present during summarization. Few studies pointed out that having the text present might help the reader to succeed at identifying its most important points as well as relating parts of the text to one another. However, summarizing a text without having it present involves retrieval, which is known to benefit memory, and also prevents the learner from engaging in verbatim copying. The answer to whether studied text should be present during summarization is most likely a complicated one, and it may depend on people’s ability to summarize when the text is absent.


Student Characteristics

Most of the research on individual differences has focused on the age of students, because the ability to summarize develops with age. However, younger students (e.g., middle school students) can benefit from summarization following extensive training and this benefit was linked to improvements in note-taking. It also it seems plausible that students with more domain-relevant knowledge would be better able to identify the main points of a text and extract its gist.



For the most part, characteristics of materials have not been systematically manipulated, which makes it difficult to draw strong conclusions about this factor, even though 15 years have passed establishing its importance.


Criterion tasks

The majority of summarization studies have examined the effects of summarization on either retention of factual details or comprehension of a text (often requiring inferences) through performance on multiple-choice questions, cued recall questions, or free recall. Other benefits of summarization include enhanced metacognition (with text- absent summarization improving the extent to which readers can accurately evaluate what they do or do not know and improved note-taking following training.

Whereas several studies have shown benefits of summarization (sometimes following training) on measures of application, others have failed to find such benefits. One week after learning, students who had summarized performed no differently than students in a control group who had only read the passages in answering questions that tapped a basic level of knowledge (fact and comprehension questions). Students benefited from summarization when the questions required the application or analysis of knowledge, but summarization led to worse performance on evaluation and synthesis questions.

Across studies, results have also indicated that summarization helps later performance on generative measures (e.g., free recall, essays) more than it affects performance on multiple- choice or other measures that do not require the student to produce information. Because summarizing requires production, the processing involved is likely a better match to generative tests than to tests that depend on recognition.

Finally, concerning test delays, several studies have indicated that when summarization does boost performance, its effects are relatively robust over delays of days or week. Similarly, benefits of training programs have persisted several weeks after the end of training.


Implementation Issues

Summarization would be feasible for undergraduates or other learners who already know how to summarize. For these students, summarization would constitute an easy-to-implement technique that would not take a lot of time to complete or understand. The only concern would be whether these students might be better served by some other strategy, but certainly summarization would be better than the study strategies students typically favor, such as highlighting and rereading. Relatively intensive training programs are required for middle school students or learners with learning disabilities to benefit from summarization.


Overall Assessment: Low Utility

On the basis of the available evidence, we rate summarization as low utility. It can be an effective learning strategy for learners who are already skilled at summarizing; however, many learners (including children, high school students, and even some undergraduates) will require extensive training, which makes this strategy less feasible. Although summarization has been examined with a wide range of text materials, many researchers have pointed to factors of these texts that seem likely to moderate the effects of summarization (e.g., length), and future research should be aimed at investigating such factors. Finally, although many studies have examined summarization training in the classroom, what are lacking are classroom studies examining the effectiveness of summarization as a technique that boosts students’ learning, comprehension, and retention of course content.




Bretzing, B. H., & Kulhavy, R. W. (1979). Notetaking and depth of processing. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 4, 145–153.

Bednall, T. C., & Kehoe, E. J. (2011). Effects of self-regulatory instructional aids on self-directed study. Instructional Science, 39, 205–226.

Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K. A., Marsh, E. J., Nathan, M. J., & Willingham, D. T. (2013). Improving Students’ Learning With Effective Learning Techniques: Promising Directions From Cognitive and Educational Psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14(1), 4–58. https://doi.org/10.1177/1529100612453266

Garner, R. (1982). Efficient text summarization: Costs and benefits. Journal of Educational Research, 75, 275–279.



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07 Aug 2017

10 New Google Classroom and Form Features for the New School Year

G Suite for Education developers are used to roll in new features before the beginning of the school year as they listen to educators’ suggestions for improvements. This makes G Suite, and particularly Google Classroom, more of teachers’ choice for technology enhanced learning. Google Classroom and Forms have added 10 exciting new features for this year.




1. Single view of student work: To help teachers track individual student progress, a dedicated page was created for each student in Classroom that shows all of their work in a class. With this new view, teachers and students can see the status of every assignment, and can use filters to see assigned work, missing work, or returned and graded work. Teachers and students can use this information to make personalized learning decisions that help students set goals and build skills that will serve them in the future.


2. Reorder classes: Teachers can now order their classes to organize them based on daily schedule, workload priorities or however will help them keep organized throughout the school year. And students can use this feature too. “For teachers and students, organization is important, and being able to reorder class cards allows us to keep our classes organized in a simple and personalized way,” notes Ross Berman, a 7th and 8th grade math teacher. “Students can move classes around so that the first thing they see is the class they know they have work for coming up.”


3. Decimal grading: As teachers know, grading is often more complicated than a simple point value. To be as accurate with feedback as possible, educators can now use decimal points when grading assignments in Google Classroom.


4. Transfer class ownership: Things can change a lot over the summer, including who’s teaching which class. Now, admins and teachers can transfer ownership of Google Classroom classes to other teachers, without the need to recreate the class. The new class owner can get up to speed quickly with a complete view of past student work and resources in Drive.


5. Add profile picture on mobile: Today’s users log a lot of hours on their phones. Soon, teachers and students will be able to make changes to their Classroom mobile profiles directly from their mobile devices too, including changing their profile picture from the Google Classroom mobile app. Ready the selfies!


6. Provision classes with School Directory Sync: Google School Directory Sync now supports syncing Google Classroom classes from your student or management information system using IMS OneRoster CSV files. Admins can save teachers and students time by handling class setup before the opening bell.


7. New Classroom integrations: Apps that integrate with Classroom offer educators a seamless experience, and allow them to easily share information between Classroom and other tools they love. Please welcome the newest A+ apps to the #withClassroom family: Quizizz, Edcite, Kami and coming soon, Code.org.


8. Display class code: Joining Google Classroom classes is easier than ever thanks to this new update. Teachers can now display their class code in full screen so students can quickly join new classes.


9. Sneak Peek! Import Google Forms Quiz scores into Classroom: Using Quizzes in Google Forms allows educators to take real-time assessments of students’ understanding of a topic. Soon, teachers will be able to import grades from Quizzes directly into Google Classroom.


10. Add feedback in question-by-question grading in Quizzes: More than test grades, meaningful feedback can improve learning. At ISTE this year, G Suite launched question-by-question grading in Quizzes in Google Forms to help teachers save time by batch grading assessments. Google is taking it one step further and now, teachers will have the option to add feedback as well.





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04 Aug 2017

Take Our School Administrator’s Technology Leadership Self-Assessment Survey

We have developed the free School Administrator’s Technology Leadership Self-Assessment survey as a unique and impartial survey that reflects the specific goals and standards presented in the National Educational Technology Standards for School Administrators and the National Educational Technology Plan. School administrators should use it to better determine their technology use and preparedness for implementation in their schools and districts.

This is self-scoring survey for the respondents to complete. School administrators who rate themselves and their schools or districts with scores of 5 and 4 are already meeting the standards indicated in those items.

Ratings of 1 or 2 would indicate areas of needed professional growth by either the school/district, or the school leader, or both in order to meet the NETS.A standards or NETP goals.

This instrument is a useful pre-assessment tool for instructors or professional development facilitators. Low ratings would indicate areas where additional attention is needed. For example, if graduate students or workshop participants indicate that either they or their schools do not use electronic portfolios of student work effectively, then they will want to explore additional resources and professional development on that topic. You can fill out the survey individually or you can sit with school administrators and decide on one rating.

There are 6 areas for self-assessment:

  • Technology Planning
  • Leading Instruction with New Technologies
  • Teacher Supervision and Professional Development
  • The Technology Infrastructure
  • Systemic Change with Personnel and Partnerships in Technology
  • Legal and Social Issues in Technology

    There are 6 questions in this survey.

Ready to take the survey? Click here.

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