Google Assignments in Canvas

Though this video takes a little bit of time, watch it for step by step instructions on how to use the Google Assignments Integration. If you liked grading with Google Classroom, use this feature. If you want to “lock” assignments when students turn in work- just as in Google Classroom, use this feature. And finally, if you want the students to be able to self-check for plagiarism by using Google’s originality reports, use this as well.


Online Quiz Review – Covid 19 Edition

Quizizz vs Kahoot vs Gimkit

There’s a new contestant in the hitherto Quizizz vs Kahoot contest for primacy in online quiz games. Many at FCS are quite familiar with Kahoot, the online quiz/ review game. I often hear its ear-wormy music when I walk the halls.  (Here’s 10 hours of its Jeopardy-esque theme song.) In this brief post, I will will recommend all three tools and mention a new (and temporarily free) feature of Kahoot’s.

My favorite online quiz game is Gimkit. It allows for strategy! and more authentic game play than its competitors. While the strategy aspect of the game play may be tangential to learning, it enhances the game thereby enabling learning- it will keep kids’ interest longer. It’s a great review tool and a lot of fun. Here’s a video on how to get started.

I really do most highly recommend it. Yet, as much as I like Gimkit, the other online quiz games are better for other purposes.

New content

If you’re looking to explain something to your students mid-game, use Kahoot.


Kahoot has a slides feature which allows you you to stop mid-game and explain an idea or topic. This is usually a paid feature, but Kahoot is offering free premium access for educators impacted by COVID-19.

Alex Pearson reminds us that Kahoot is a terrific review tool as well. Here Alex uses Kahoot to create work that students can do in their own time. Alex also highlights Kahoots’ detailed reports feature. Here’s more on Review, Quiz, and Tests from our Virtual Learning Google Classroom Page

Traditional tests

If you want something that has the look and feel of a more traditional test, go with Quizizz’s  Test Mode. It is meant specifically for formal summative assessments (that is quizzes and tests). Questions are only asked once, and teachers get a very detailed report at the end of the test.

If you want to try any of these free, robust and fun tools and feel you need help, FCIT is happy to get you started.


VR in the Classroom

FCIT boasts 12 and soon to be 16 Lenovo Daydream VR headsets. I have used them in my teaching to make a learning come more alive. I’m thrilled to report that other teachers have joined me.

Cristina Pérez recently brought her class to the tech suites for two days of Virtual Reality. It took some time to prepare. She spent the equivalent of two full blocks meeting with Dan and me to prepare for the lesson. Cristina also took home a VR headset to prepare her lesson. She will be the first to admit that it took a good amount of work. But Cristina was so excited by the results that she plans to bring her students back in a month to “tour” Machu Picchu.

I asked her about her thoughts on the experience. She shares her reflections below:

The VR component of my “Reconquista” curriculum was the highlight of the unit.  My students had been studying (in very broad strokes) the history of the Iberian Peninsula from the collapse of the Roman Empire (~400CE) to the defeat of the Moors in Granada in 1492.  In the south of Spain, in particular, the complicated history involving Romans, Visigoths, Moors, and Christians can be seen, concretely, in much of the architecture.  The Cathedral / Mosque of Córdoba is perhaps the most dramatic example.  By taking a VR tour of the complex, the kids were able to see how incredible the space is, and how the history of all the people who worshipped there over the centuries is reflected in the architecture and in the materials from which it was built.  The oldest part of the mosque was constructed in the 8th century using columns that the Moors “recycled / reused” from the Roman temples and amphitheaters that had been there earlier.  As the Córdoba Caliphate grew in population and importance, the mosque was expanded three times and became one of the most important and largest mosques in the world.  But in 1236, the Christians recaptured Córdoba and consecrated the mosque so that it could function as a Catholic cathedral.  Not long after, they decided to tear down the middle of the mosque in order to build a gothic cathedral right in the middle of the floor plan.  What the kids were able to explore in the VR tour is a remarkable combination of these architectural styles and materials.

I created a map for them of the interior, and assigned them, in pairs, to “find” five different items in the complex.
On the first of two days in the tech suite, speaking only in Spanish, the students had to take turns wearing the VR headset and navigate the space in order to find the items.
On the second day, I had the pairs return to two places: the Mihrab and the high altar.  Then they had to write a paragraph in Spanish comparing and contrasting colors, the materials, the important features of those spaces.
Here’s what one student had to say about the experience en Español.
Among other things,  Julian says, ..”it allowed me to look at the architecture of the cathedral and it was very interesting. I really liked the art.”
Here’s what he saw. (Except in VR it is 100 times better.)