Given the opportunity to “borrow” 12 iPads this past week, I experimented with a program called Educreations. The results were pretty fantastic, and I can’t wait until I am able to have the iPads again!
My Spanish III students are approaching the end of a clothing unit, a pretty standard unit. In my district, students study the basic vocabulary in Spanish II, and then get a reinforcing unit in Spanish III. We add words such as tight, loose, striped, plaid, polka dot, vest, slippers, cleats, bows, belt, scarves, etc.or vocabulary that is beyond the basic pants, shirt, shoes. At the same time, I’m attempting to “sneak in” some imperfect tense verbs for the first time without making a big deal out of it. Traditionally, the performance based assessment for this unit has been an impromptu conversation with partners based on a shopping expedition. Students have practiced with various partners prior to the actual assessment, and then receive the prompt, randomly, from ones that they have practiced, on the day of actual assessment. I was looking for a more relevant, authentic way to assess learning, and discovered Educreations, a FREE program! With Educreations all student work, once they have enrolled in your course via your private code, gets sent directly to your computer, making grading the projects relatively easy….no paper involved!
With the iPads, students are able to take pictures and upload them, draw pictures on the iPad or upload images from the internet. They also are able to write or type text on or around their pictures. The final step is recording their voices. This last step is mandatory, as the project can not be saved until the student has recorded. As far as technology projects go, this one went very smoothly. There were a few bumps in the road: background noise is always a problem when recording individuals in large classes (there were 26 – 29 students working in each class), but all of the recordings make the recording student very audible. The biggest problem was discovering that if they wanted to delete their recording on one page and re-record, they could not change the order of the recordings on their pictures, meaning that the recording then did not match the appropriate page. And, of course, we could have benefited from more than 12 iPads (the number that my county had available to loan). Also, I would love to see an app for Educreations for Smart phones.
I allowed 2 days for this project: one day for the students to familiarize themselves with the features of Educreations, and to practice, and day two for the actual assessment. On the first day, students were directed to create a page using a picture they took, a page with an image from the internet, and a page that they drew. They wrote/typed on all pages and recorded on all pages. They were directed to include at least 4 articles of clothing on each page, 4 descriptors and they had to use verbs (present or past). I informally assessed their work based on the fact that they completed the majority of the assignment. On the second day, the day of formal assessment, I eliminated the internet image search because it just took too much time for some of them to find what they wanted. Instead, I had posted large color pictures of entire outfits (34 of them), many with celebrities (Big Papi, One Direction, Taylor Swift, Ray Rice, Luke Bryan, Romeo Santos, etc) around the room so that they could take that picture with their iPad. On the second day, they focused on taking two pictures (of themselves or the posted pictures) or one picture and one drawing. The parameters of at least 4 articles of clothing, 4 descriptors and verbs remained, with the recording on all pages shared by the students involved. I also gave them an example of what I expected.
I am not exaggerating when I say that all of my students were actively engaged in this project. There were no “slackers”. Most of them thoroughly enjoyed working on the project and have asked when they get to use the program again. The excitement and interest was real, and I wish that a supervisor had been officially observing!
Here are some examples of their work, with the good and the bad: good vocabulary, lack of noun/adjective agreement, some imperfect tense verbs!!!, and some mispronunciations: