Monday, January 10, 2011


Grockit is an academic study website which allows students to create profiles and track their learning.  It has levels for academy learning (grades 6-12), SAT, GRE, LSAT, and GMAT preparation and review.

The academy section has tutoring and practice tests in all areas of mathematics, from algebra I to calculus and probability and statistics,  and Language Arts, including analytic response, comprehension, sentence fluency, and conventions.

In addition to computer adaptive testing, where the computer learns your level and adjusts questions to focus on specific skills, Grockit also has online tutoring group sessions, one on one tutoring, and group study sessions.

Grockit also allows for 'game' type study sessions where you are attempting to answer the most questions correctly in a limited amount of time or pits you against other online learners. You can tag questions you answered incorrectly to review why they were answered incorrectly, focus future review sessions on similar question types, and create a practice test of flagged items, eliminating the need to focus on skills already mastered.

Another cool feature is the video tutoring sessions which are available for SAT and GRE review.  The related comment board allows for interaction with other students and tutors about material in the tutoring videos.

The community tab allows users to post questions about the various tests and get feedback from other users on the site.

Grockit truly is an all inclusive online learning community.

Check it out here:  GROCKIT


So I wanted to allow students to access a PowerPoint presentation that they may not have had an opportunity to finish viewing in class.  I had created it in kiosk mode, and students were moving through it independently in class, analyzing the images in relation to our novel.  Due to the two hour early dismissal, some students did not get to finish.

Screencast is an online site that allows free file hosting, and provides original web addresses for all material uploaded to its site.  Some files can be embedded right on the web or blog page, while others, like the PowerPoint, need to be downloaded by the student to access it.  Screencast is attached to Jing, which allows for creation of teacher lecture materials and videos that can be hosted and linked, too.

This site simplifies the process of linking materials on my blog.  In addition to linking, Screencast also allows teachers to send bulk emails with links to handouts for student use.  There is also an RSS feed option that sends notification to students if new media is uploaded.

Check out the link and use of Screencast here.

I am still learning the best ways to use Screencast to meet my needs, and as I go through the blog and try and use it more and more, I'm sure that there will be many ways to use Screencast beyond what I do now.  I can't wait to discover all its educational applications.

Here's what others say about the educational uses of Screencast:

Top Five Ways Educators Use

Here's a quick list of popular ways in which educators are leveraging the privacy of and how it's easy to get your content from a TechSmith product to where designated people can view it.
  • Host instructional videos and provide links to parents and students. Parents and students can view the videos 24/7.
  • Create a MediaRoll that is hosted on the class or school webpage. The MediaRoll is automatically updated when videos are uploaded to the corresponding folder.
  • Have students use Jing to explain a concept. These Jing videos or images are shared with just the teacher, the class, or maybe the world. Here's an example:
  • Host classroom "lectures" or any type of instruction or presentation with Camtasia Relay. Just record, and Camtasia Relay does all the processing. When the video is done, you're emailed the link to where it's hosted on
  • Host files (attachments) such as PowerPoint presentations, Word documents, and PDFs. Selected people are able to download the materials.
Check out Screencast here:  Screencast

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Class Blog

So, I have sold myself on the class blog idea.  I have decided to post the class content, discussion questions, extension material, and interesting thoughts on the blog for students to access to extend the classroom beyond the school walls.

Thus far, the biggest hurdle has been getting the students to follow the blog.  Although it hasn't been up for a month yet, I am still shocked that I have only gotten seven students to sign on.  I know a few other students have accessed the blog, but haven't made it part of their technological world.  I am hoping to see this change.

Since there is no guarantee that students have access to internet at home, I feel the need to limit the blog site to a summary of classroom content, and if I post extension material, I don't require kids to know it.  Therefore, I don't assess them on it.

So far, the biggest benefit of the blog has been for students who can't make it to the class.  I have a student on Home & Hospital instruction, and the blog has allowed him to keep up to date with what is going on with the class even though he cannot attend personally.  This will help make his transition back to class easier.

I do have to say that integrating the blog into my daily routine has been relatively simple.  I already create a digital agenda for each class, so it only required a few extra minutes to copy and paste it into a post.  The extension questions and materials were also digital, and copy and paste quickly put them on the site, too.

Check out my blog here: