The Reflective Educator

Education ∪ Math ∪ Technology

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Day: November 19, 2009

Using Google docs for student report cards.

Here’s the basic idea.  I create 31 identical (one for each of our 11th and 12 grade students) Google Documents using a agreed upon template.  The teachers have access to edit the documents, and add their grades.  Our IB diploma coordinator adds comments to the documents, and then we download the documents as PDF files, ready to be emailed to the parents.  We could do this entirely electronically, but we are also going to print a copy to mail to the parents for their records.

The trickiest part is making sure that the documents that are formed will look good when converted to a PDF.  I suggest using a very simple structure of the documents, in this case less is more.

Our document has our school logo at the top, a space for a generic comment about our program, a simple 2 column table to report grades in subjects, space for a more specific comment about the student’s performance, and then space for our IB coordinator to sign the report, which he’ll only be able to do once it’s printed.

See a sample of the report here:

http://is.gd/4Z8Oj

See what it looks like as a PDF here:

View sample as PDF

 

Student created videos using free Windows tools

So today I tried an experiment out.  I wanted to see if I could use Windows tools, freely available, already installed on our school’s computers, and produce reasonable student videos.  I succeeded, and I’d like to share my success here.  The process is pretty simple, and not too time-consuming, and best of all, student friendly.

For those of you who like the quick and dirty, the basic steps are:

  1. Create individual frames in Microsoft Word (or any text editor).
  2. Take a screen-shot of each of these frames.  Generally this is done by pressing the ‘Prt Scr’ or ‘Print Screen’ button on your keyboard.
  3. Paste the individual screen-shots into Microsoft Paint, one at a time and save each as their own file.  You want all of the images to have the same width and height (400 by 300 is good or 800 by 600).
  4. Open up Windows Movie Maker and import all of the image frames created in steps 1 to 3.
  5. Drag the images and order them into the movie time-line below the collection of images.
  6. Add special effects, like video transitions, subtitles, narration, whatever.
  7. Save the project (so you can edit it later) AND save it as a movie as well. 
  8. Upload to your favourite video sharing site (Youtube, Vimeo, Pixorial) and share it with whomever you want.

Here’s an example video done by a student in a single 85 minute period (they actually had about 70 minutes to work on it because of pre-activity instructions).