Blog Post Four
I chose to make an informational presentation highlighting Quizizz for fellow educators. Most of my artifacts up to this point have been for classroom use with my own students. I wanted to instead focus on speaking to fellow educators. I know that some educators still have reservations about incorporating technology in the classroom, so I wanted to highlight how easy Quizizz is to use, while also highlighting aspects that it provides that are important to all educators. My hope is to be able to have presentations like this to share with educators that I may work with as a potential future IT. This will help open the door to build a relationship with those I may be helping and training.
First, I am a big Adobe fan and have been using their products for a long time. This was my first experience using Spark. I use Office 365 quite a bit, and it reminds me a lot of Sway. A strength of Spark is the integration of the image search, and I loved how it credited the author of my image without me having to do anything! I can see how this could be appealing to teachers who may want to use images but are concerned about fair use. I do not recall Sway having that feature.
The mixed modality of presenting images alongside text, like Spark and Sway, could certainly help ELL students to help them with comprehension. Combining Spark with Google Extensions and 0365 Add-Ins could certainly assist with a huge group of students who struggle with everything from dysgraphia to English as a second language.
Another area where Spark could help strengthen project-based learning is differentiation through the ability to view a presentation as many times as needed, synchronously or asynchronously. I demo things often in class, and it is a life saver to have resources to post for students to view to help clarify concepts and gather context for projects.
I can see how these tools can support collaboration and communication, but it supports communication the most. Comprehension and interpretation can be an issue with everyone. I love how much progress Microsoft has made regarding accessibility in Edge. Natively, the browser supports read aloud, immersive reader, and translating the content to a second language. I have even shared this with some of my students recently, and one of them told me that I was the best technology teacher she ever had! I discovered some of these resources in a project I did earlier in this program for a special education student I worked with, but this module provided even more options, and a variety as well. Just the Control Alt Achieve article alone was mind blowing!
I decided to download two Chrome extensions: OpenDyslexia and Mercury Reader. I tried them both and OpenDyslexia worked as advertised. It converts everything to a specific font to help dyslexic students be able to read better, but I need to research it more. I am assuming it is recommended to be used along with other strategies like read aloud and concept mapping, because dyslexia is such a complex issue. I worked with a dyslexic student earlier in another class for this degree and wish I would have known about that before, so I could have tried it. I know the student’s mother well and will let her know about it if they may want to try it. Mercury Reader was the second extension I used, and it worked well with individual articles, but not as reliably with other pages, like home pages that lead to secondary pages. Interestingly, Mercury Reader detected that, and sent me a message telling me that it works better with individual articles. The extension also had some personalized settings integrated that were useful, like changing font size and contrast. I love having the extension information at my disposal, but I am not a fan of extensions. However, regarding supporting students with a need, I can certainly see the benefits. As I mentioned earlier, I like that Edge has many of those features built in already.
As far as how these tools can support students with disabilities and provide differentiation, I feel I have covered a lot of that already. There are areas that could improve in the future. For example, I converted the text of a web page to another language, and it worked great! But then I tried to read aloud that same text using Edge’s Read Aloud feature and it was not the most elegant reading. I know Immersive Reader does read text in various languages, but it would be nice if you could just have that available without sending it to the Immersive Reader.
Features like Read Aloud, Microsoft’s Translator, adjusting fonts, contrast, and text size all are helping bridge gaps in communication and student disabilities. I just think you must be careful regarding how much you customize your applications, or they can create the problem they are meant to help solve. Do you really need to order an Uber or a coffee from Starbucks inside Microsoft Word? Is that increasing productivity?
Curtis, E. (2016, October 8). Chrome Extensions for Struggling Students and Special Needs. Control
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Gonzalez, J. (2018, April 15). 4 Ways Microsoft is Making Learning More Accessible. Cult of Pedagogy. Retrieved February 28, 2021, from https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/inclusive/
Hobgood, B., & Ormsby, L. (n.d.). Inclusion in the 21st-century classroom: Differentiating with
technology. Learn NC. Retrieved February 28, 2021, from
Microsoft. (n.d.). Using Microsoft Translator for Education. Retrieved February 28, 2021, from
3/13/2021 03:53:54 pm
Though I have not fully embraced using Sway, I can attest to the things you like about Spark. I like the worry-free of fair use. I also like the flexibility of redoing a slide as often as needed. It is user-friendly. This tool has been the easiest to use with my students. My students use Spark Video to create a PSA. In the past, students used Flipgrid to create their PSA. Spark is way better, in my opinion. My ELL from China was able to develop his PSA with a bit of assistance. It is incredible how resources have gotten better when it comes to helping students who are struggling. The add-ins and extensions have positively shifted my teaching. From the first, I communicated with my non-native-speaking student using the translator for Microsoft edge. I feel like I can better help all my students in the classroom.
3/14/2021 03:29:41 pm
Alex, I definitely enjoy using quizizz in the classroom. As you said, most students in the middle school have a device so we are able to use it with BYOD. I also really enjoyed adobe spark. I plan to use it in my classroom when I'm able to get my hands on technology for my students.
3/16/2021 04:13:40 pm
I love that you chose to create a presentation for your colleagues. Quizzes is become very popular at our school but I have not joined on the bandwagon yet. Your video was very informative and made Quizzes seem very easy to use.
I never have had my students use either, but I agree that Spark would be my go-to. I have used Sway for presentations for my lessons. It does have some cool interface elements, but Spark would appeal to young people more I believe. I am trying to think of ways to integrate Spark into my curriculum. Whatever you do, you need to teach them how to use the resource, and in the past, I was teaching for nine-week quarters. Now that I am on semesters again, I have time to dedicate to teaching them how to use the application, and then they can apply it to their larger project. I have a project coming up soon where they will work in groups to choose a real-world problem to try and solve. An interesting approach might be to give them the autonomy to choose PowerPoint, Sway, Spark, or a poster (some of my artsy students choose this option) to illustrate their solutions. What do you think?
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