Automated formative assessments – the Quiz Tool

Online quiz software comes in many varieties and flavors, making it difficult to compare applications. The proper online quiz software will help you improve efficiency while the wrong software can frustrate teachers to no end.Here is  some simple guidance to choose the right online quiz software.

What do you intend to use the online quiz software for? This is one of the key considerations when purchasing online quiz software application. Make a list of the needs you’d like the software to address. Your needs list should consist only of the features absolutely necessary in order for the software to work for you. For instance, you may need SCORM compliant Flash quiz output in order to use for your learning management system. Then, the SCORM feature is the primary factor when you picking out online quiz software.

Next, calculate how much you can afford for the online quiz creator software. The price of online quiz software varies,  so identify the budget before choosing the software.

Ease of use is the important factor when you choose a software application. “Time is money”, we all know that. The original intention of utilizing software is  to help you work more smoothly and simply. Just assuming that you should make a test for tomorrow’s testing, your work will become more complex and inefficient if you have to spend a lot of time in learning how to use the quiz software and asking for help from customer support.

The more smoothly the software runs, the better it will be  adopted. The quiz creation process will be more smoothly if the quiz software runs stably, no errors alert frequently. Teachers should be able to create quizzes  quickly, easily without hogging up computer resources.

Productivity will be doubled if the online quiz software has multiple uses. Often times teachers desire formative assessment to understand where the students are at.  Item banks of questions should be available and shareable. Teachers should be able to partner and learn within their professional learning communities..

Online quiz software should provide an easy way to make quizzes for online usage. Here are some features you should consider: Quiz output. HTML, Flash, Word, Excel or Text format. If you want to use quizzes in your LMS question type are True/False, Multiple Choice, Multiple Response, Fill in the Blank, Matching, Sequence, Word Bank, Click Map and short assay. Multimedia should be supported to enrich your quizzes with audio, images, and videos.

Online quiz software should provide an easy way to make quizzes for online usage. Here are some features you should refer:

  1. Quiz output. HTML, Flash, Word, Excel or Text format. If you want to use quizzes in your LMS, SCORM/AICC compliant quiz maker should be in consideration.
  2. Question type. Normal question type are True/False, Multiple Choice, Multiple Response, Fill in the Blank, Matching, Sequence, Word Bank, Click Map and short assay.
  3. Multimedia supported. Enrich your quizzes with audio, images, and video.
  4. Quiz results tracking. The quiz can be marked instantly after quiz takers finish the quiz, big-time saving for your assessment work. Take QuizCreator for example, it provides E-mail tracking, free QMS tracking and LMS tracking options for users.
  5. Randomization and reusability. Randomization allows users to create different quizzes in one time avoid cheating. The created quizzes can be reused, that will save you a lot of time if you need to use the quiz again.

In summary, buying good online quiz software is a matter of doing your research by considering each of the factors above.  Good luck!

Social Networking for Learning

Most K-12 Learning Management Systems provide social media networking capabilities such that students can build online portfolios and projects that collaborate with peers through project-based learning and other experiential instructional methods.

social network

These social networking features are created specifically for K-12 education with safety elements and Web 2.0 tools, and they are a platform for collaboration. An LMS should provide services that block inappropriate content and keywords posted by students and alerts teachers. Also, the LMS should allow students to form meaningful relationships with peers around the world and to collaborate through project-based learning. Peers do not need to be friends or have access to a student’s or teacher’s profile to use this app. For educators looking to expand their network, The LMS should have the ability to create a public or private curriculum units and lesson plans for sharing.

Social Networking can occur separately from an LMS (e.g.  teacher webpage, Facebook, Twitter). However a solution that integrates eLearning and collaboration tools into the traditional LMS functionality will provide a complete online learning and training environment.

The question your teachers will need to answer is how can social networking be used to improve instruction. When it comes to collaboration, social networking can provide a “safe place” that will allow individuals from all of over the district to get together to discuss and work on a project.

Here again, an integrated social networking tool in an LMS has an edge over stand-alone classroom tools like a teacher website.

Useability – In Search of the User Friendly Experience

Intuitive

A Learning Management System is only as good as its human interface. If the interface is not well thought out and well executed, people will have issues with using the product. A well-designed system can often overcome a less-than-friendly underlying structure (or poor coding). But don’t assume that a “pretty” piece of software is all it takes.  It’s critical that the software meets its expected requirements.

Efficient

Not only should a Learning Management System work as expected, it should also be efficient. It should be optimized for school/districts specific needs.  It should easily be configured in the context of the user experience, and from that point of view, the software should be an efficient means to completing their jobs. Software should not get in the way of completing a task, nor should it set up any roadblocks for users. The efficiency of a piece of software is tied up with its intuitiveness

Easy to Navigate

The look and feel of a user interface  is a slippery slope that designers tend to tumble down. When a designer opts to go with trends instead of what works, it makes for an unpleasant experience for the end user. Instead of going with trends, add your own take on what is proven. The tried-and-true drop-down menu design has worked for years but is long overdue for an update — but this update should not come at the expense of intuitiveness. A user interface’s primary purpose is to make an end user’s job easier… and little more. If that can be achieved with an edgier design, go for it. But if your edgy design is counterintuitive and inefficient, it fails the user-friendliness test.

Single Solution

Many Learning Management Systems require third-party software comes in the form of antivirus, anti-spyware, assessments, grading, lesson planning, curriculum and the Common Core State Standards. Without these tools, your LMS is limited in its ability to aid teachers and students with an experiential learning environment. This is not user-friendly software, as it creates levels of complication that most average end users can’t deal with.

Easy to troubleshoot

No Learning Management System is perfect. And when something goes wrong with a piece of software, it’s important that the end user can call support and that support can resolve the issue. If the software offers nothing in the way of troubleshooting, how is the end user or the administrator going to be able to keep the software running?

Online Help

What happens when a user want to create something or encounters an error due to unfamiliarity.  Great software should have the ability to provide coaching for common workflows with documentation that can be accessed in context of that task. You have a question on a student update page, you should be able to click a link and the user document should immediately pop-up with the information needed. Also, videos should be available 24×7 to teach new users how to get started and use the system.  Videos should be focused on not only novice users, but experts too.

The Essence of User Friendly

These criteria are but a smattering of thoughts that constitute a user-friendly LMS  experience.   It’s critical that the evaluation team meets with end users: teachers, students and administrators to collect input on what they would like to experience in such a system. Choosing a Learning Management System is not task to be done in isolation, but one that demands input from all stakeholders.