This section of the GVSU COE Ed Tech Wiki is for participants interested in developing instruction and assessments for high school grades 11-12.

So that this doesn't get lost at the bottom of our page, I (TS) wanted to post a link to a blog that I have found extremely informative. They regularly evaluate and suggest free tech tools and generally provide suggestions for how to use them. If you haven't check them out. This is my disclosure that most of my ideas stem from this site.


Dan Hoekstra

Planned Instruction:

Often time, I (DH) like to have my students try to organize/arrange the material presented. I have used Popplet a few times and it seems to work pretty well. One thing I really like about it is that you can embedd your creation in other places. Last year I had my biology students create a type of portfolio embedding their creations on their Google Site. When starting (or finishing) a chapter, I many break my students up into groups of 4-5 and give each group the same set of 8-10 vocab words. Their task is to then use Popplet to organize the words. This activity forces them to make connections. It is also interesting to compare their popplets and hear why they grouped it the way that they did. I have also used popplet to create diagrams for water cycles, nitrogen cycles, carbon cycles, food webs, etc. This meets the NET Standards of Creativity and Inovation (Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology). Here is an example from Popplet's website:

BeeClip is an online scrapbook that I (DH) have used for students to create presentations. (I felt that PowerPoint probably could have done the same thing but again the students are able to embed their scrapbook elsewhere.) This meets the NET Standards of Creativity and Inovation (Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology) & Research and Information Fluency (Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information). Last year I gave my biology students a list of 40+ questions dealing with biochemistry. Their task (individually) was to create a scrapbook that correctly answered at least 10 of these questions. Here is a sample:

I (DH) came across Gizmos the other day while going through some of the Week 5 extra resources. As a result I have no idea exactly how I would use it! However, there are some pretty cool interactive science tools (I think it contains math stuff as well). Using some of these animations and simulations would be a great way to introduce a topic. However, it looks like your school would have to spend some money as the trial only gives you 5 minutes. LORDEC is another site I found that provides a lot of interative tools. It appears that they have a lot of links to other sites as well.

Prezi is another presentation tool that some of my (DH) students have used (I have not yet tried to create something with it). The presentations that I have seen are quite amazing! I have considered using this myself rather than relying on PPT all the time. When I assigned an environmental project last year, one group of students choice to make a prezi of environmental issues around the world. They used a world map as the back ground and then proceeded to move from country to country describing the major environmental issues of that area. This project meets the NET Standard of Communication and Collaboration (Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others). I couldn't find the prezi mentioned but here is a different example:

Glogster considers itself to be like a visual blog. I (DH) have not used this in class (yet) but it was mentioned to me by someone at the Kent ISD.

Khan Academyhas an amazing number of informational videos. It seems like every imaginable topic is covered. Although I (DH) am amazed at what is there, I would probably use these video as extra resources and not as the primary source of information. Last year Stephanie designed some chemistry assignments for our students. She gave them some choice as to where to go for information. Besides their book and a PowerPoint, they were directed to some videos from Khan Academy. This meets the NET Standard of Research and Information Fluency (Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information).

I (DH) am not sure what I think about free online textbooks but after looking over this site (CK-12), it is pretty nice! It would even appear that you can download it iPads, Android devices and Kindle! Somebooks even include teacher editions and workbooks. This seems like it would be great for districts who are on a tight budget. I would be curious however to learn how often these books are updated. (This website said that due to updating, it may be unavailable after 7/15/12.)

Tinychat is a synchronous chat site that is very easy to work with. All I would need to do would be to post my address ( on Moodle. Then at the designated time, the students could click on the link. The link could also be emailed and I also put tags on Tinychat so if they searched AP Biology, my page would come up.
It appears that you can have multiple webcams going (something not possible on Wimba). The text chat and "push to talk" are very similar. There is even a link to a whiteboard (not quite as high tech). Overall, this site could work well for something like an optional review session.


I (DH) am still trying to think of more good and efficient ways to assess and evaluate my students in AP Biology but here are a few things to start:

I (DH) am a fan of Google Docs. Last year I had each of my regular biology students create their own Google Site. (Each student has been issued an education gmail account and therefore have access to educational Google Apps. NOTE: For Google Sites, I found that if I wanted their sites to become mine - so I didn't have to log onto each one - I had to use an educational Google account as well. For other Google Doc, I could use either my Educational account or my regular account. I'm not sure why.) My students used their Google Sites as a portfolio to host their projects (many of which were created using the resources above and then embedded into the Google site). Since I was invited to their sites, they because saved under my sites as well so I only had to log in once and I would have access to all their sites (see NOTE above). I can even leave feedback and grades. Many parents also asked their kids to invite them so they were able to see this progress as well. As far as grading these projects, any major project provided a rubric for the students to follow.

I (DH) also plan to use Moodle to track student participation. I will mostly use this to make sure that each student is doing what is asked. If I notice that anyones participation is lacking, I will set up a meeting with them to discuss my expectations.

I (DH) also plan ot use Moodle to test (summative) my students following our online unit on the human body. Some of these questions will be created by me while other questions will be uploaded into Moodle from the test bank that came with our textbook and from the test banks from other textbooks (using questions from other textbooks makes cheating a bit harder). The results of these tests will be used to determine if the student is ready to move onto the next system of the human body.

At GRCHS we don't have much control over our grading system. All grades must be put into FAWeb as soon as possible. This allows both students and parents to monitor progress in almost real time. As a result, I'm not sure how much I will use the grading portion of Moodle.

I (DH) am very excited to test out a type of formative quiz provided on BioPortal and alligned with my AP Biology textbook (click here for a demo). These quizzes will provide instant feedback for the student and it will also provide them with an individualized plan to address areas of weakness. Since I haven't received my access for BioPortal yet, I cannot really give any addtional details!

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I have been recently using the tool slide rocket. It is a presentation tool that is tied into all of Google's office sweet. THis means that if you have a question that is interactive in the presentation and part fo the excercise is to answer it, it automatically creates a spreadsheet that gathers the responses LIVE! not only this it is totally collaborative and more than one person can work on it at a time. SlideRocket analytics lets you measure your presentation effectiveness by showing you who viewed and what they did as a result. Get high level viewing trends and individual viewing details to understand how well your presentation is performing. You used to send out your presentations and wonder what happened. With SlideRocket, you know. SlideRocket puts the power of web meetings at your fingertips without the need to download and install additional software. With stunning clarity and support for full motion video, transitions and builds SlideRocket presents your slides with full fidelity so your audience sees them the same way you do.Presentations hold some of your most precious data, yet presentation files are often left unsecured, stored on laptops or thumb drives and shared indiscriminately. The reality is that hard drives crash, viruses attack, computers are stolen, and important documents are lost, accidentally deleted or worse, shared with competitors. SlideRocket stores and protects your presentations online and ensures you have complete control over how they're accessed and distributed. If you value your intellectual property, SlideRocket is the easiest way to effectively secure your presentations and related assets. Dynamic presentations take on a whole new meaning with live embedded data in your slides. Pull data in real time from sources like Google Spreadsheets, Twitter live feeds and Yahoo! Finance stock quotes and let your slides update themselves. Your team, customers and partners always see the latest information, straight from the source.
QUESTION: This looks like a pretty cool thing that I (DH) will have to play around with later (I don't have time right this minute). Can you give a specific example of how you used this in the past?

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I like using time glider because it is a great interactive way to see how events fall on top of one another. since I am a social studies teacher this helps me really get the students to visualize the big picture with the ability to zoom and drill down to minute details. I think that the application has many different uses in the classroom. It is not just a social studies idea it can be used for the sciences and even math to expalin the process of figuring out the problem. It is also a great graphic organizer. Below is the websites description of it.
TimeGlider is a data-driven interactive timeline application built on the (Adobe) Flash platform. You can "grab" the timeline and drag it left and right, and zoom in and out to view centuries at a time or just hours. TimeGlider allows you to create event-spans so that you can see durations and how they overlap. Being web-based, TimeGlider lets you collaborate and share easily. You can create timelines about the last year of your family, the last century of world events, or about pre-historical (bce/bc) times. Currently, one can zoom out to a scope of millenia: In 2009, we plan to improve the breadth of our zooming capability to include the Big Bang.
It seems like this would be a great way to study famous scientists/discoveries! Thanks!

posted by Matt Oeverman

Stephanie Slotsema

Instruction Tool Ideas:
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For you earth/life science people, check out Earth Labs. The Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College created interactive lessons for teachers and students (site includes both teacher plans and student versions for each lesson). These lessons sequence videos, interactive satellite images, scientific data, interactive CNN news articles, hands-on activities, and various levels of questioning. Topics include: biomes, earth systems, meteorology, fisheries, and natural disasters.

I also love love love Khan Academy. Dan talked about it earlier. It has an amazing number of informational videos on zillions of topics from basic scientific concepts to calculus problems to civics lesson to art history eras. I used these videos as extra resources for my chemistry students last year. I posted a few videos for each of our units, to give students some options (other than their textbook) to find information.

Tinychat is a synchronous chat site that seems really easy to use. You create a "chatroom" that can be as private or public as you choose. Students can enter the chat room from a link to text message, talk with a mic, or even talk using a webcam. could use this to be available to students for a review session, or even introduce the resource for my students to use when working on a group project.

Again, for science people, has a ton of great interactive online resources. One page in particular ( has a few great lesson ideas using live satellite imagery. I'm planning on using this imagery to study water and air quality in different parts of the world.

Another fun earth science site (sorry most of my resources are science-related!) is Planet Diary. It houses a huge variety of activities about earth's various spheres (ex. hydrosphere) that utilize online resources.

I'm also planning on using Google Earth for my environmental science class to look at satellite images of different areas. It might also be useful in a social studies class when comparing different geographical areas. There are a lot of neat (free) features, and it's really easy to download.

Stealing from Dan, I feel that all of these resources meet the NET Standard of "Research and Information Fluency" (students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information).

Assessment Tool Ideas:

I'm planning on relying on Moodle when it comes to casual assessment. Each unit, my students will be given questions to guide their learning, found and submitted on Moodle. Students will also be asked to respond to articles via a Moodle forum. I'm also planning on playing around with Moodle quizzes, which can be made by uploading multiple choice questions from an online textbook database. I don't think I would use it as a summative assessment, but more as a formative assessment to see whether or not my students are ready for a test and/or ready to move on.


In looking for an online textbook for my Economics class, I came across this Wiki which has a list of potential economics textbooks as well as a list of lists of textbooks. I personally liked the Micro and Macroeconomics by John Petroff available through the Professional Educational Organization International (PEOI). They are designed as a very concise review of economics rather than as a full course book which will work well as a supplement to my class. I have not had a chance to check out all the textbooks, but there are certainly an abundance to choose from.

For you math and science teachers, freetech4teachers (look at my note at the beginning) recently pointed its readers to FlexBooks which is an organization committed to reducing textbook costs. Read about their mission here. While looking through their offerings, the majority were math and science subjects, but they also had some history, English, SAT prep, and a project based Economics text.

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One of the hallmarks of any economics class is investing in the stock market. MarketWatch has created a virtual stock exchange game where classes can create private games and compete against each other in real-time.

In any economics class, like any class, it is important to stay up-to-date with the times. One way I plan to keep students engaged in current economic issues is through reading and commenting on blogs like the Calvin College Economics Department blog. In addition, American Public Media's Marketplace is a radio show that discusses current business and economic news. They created a series of videos to accompany the reports called the Marketplace Whiteboard. The videos, like the one below, help to explain things students are hearing (if they're listening) on the news.

Lastly, in the world of economics, we are often comparing countries economies. To help students grasp the difference in the size of countries, a tool like overlap maps might be just what the students need to gain a valuable perspective. The website is fairly simple and allows students or teachers to quickly compare the land area of two different places, like Costa Rica and Michigan.

posted by Tim Stapert


I am not a science teacher, but I could not not put these resources on this page. Two that really caught my eye from freetech4teachers:

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Rice University, CBS, the American Academy of Forensic Science, and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History corroborated to create four online web adventures. I thought of this in conjunction with our two week Winterim that takes place between semesters.

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With the summer Olympics fast approaching, what better way to study Physics than through sport. The ESPN Sport Science show offers a number of videos on their website.

posted by Tim Stapert


For those creating their own teaching videos, I have use Camtasia in the past, but there are a variety of other video creation tools that either students or teachers could use. Check out this article for 10 different options that don't require installing software.

I generally upload my videos to YouTube and link them on our class site. But YouTube has recently offered a new feature that allows you to blur faces. If you or your administration has been concerned about putting videos of, say, a lab experiment that shows students' faces. Now you can quickly and easily blur those faces. Check out how here.

posted by Tim Stapert

Subject: Religion, Bible, and Theology

Religion tends to be polarizing and anything found on the web tends to reflect this polarization. As students advance in their understanding they are encouraged to look for and evaluate some of the sites that are so polar or angry but before that it is useful to find thoughtful expressions of Christianity and seek to build bridges or at least have a civil conversation. To this end I have found these sites worthy of note:
1. At some point in each class the issue of homosexuality will come up since it is such a hot topic. Rather than start talking about this and creating more anger and heat than discussion I have found that allowing students to watch Tony Campolo debate this issue with his wife, Peggy Campolo. Watching a couple debate this while remaining civil (and married) allows students to explore options in the debate rather than jump to angry conclusion first.

2. Since we are on the topic of hot topics, evolution is one that creates more heat than light. Here I have found two sites helpful, first the Colossian Forum is a group that seeks to find meaningful dialogue rather than angry polarization. They have an excellent introductory video and other excellent materials for anyone interested.

Colossian Forum Trailer from The Colossian Forum on Vimeo.

Also if you want to show students a thoughtful and fairly conservative group of Christians that believe evolution is a good theory you can find a huge amount of material at Biologos.

Posted by Larry Borst


Formative Assesment Tools:
  • Our school uses LanSchool software to monitor students, but we can also use it to quickly assess student knowledge through their student response system. Other similar tools that we could use include the aforementioned Socrative. What we like about Socrative is that there is an iPad and Android app that we can use in class. Since our school is moving toward iPads as teaching tools, this app makes the student response system more intuitive.
  • In our Moodle classrooms, we assess student comprehension through the online discussion board.

Summative Assessment Tools:
  • For our end-of-unit tests and quizzes we make use of the quizzes within Moodle. The quizzes provide many advantages. First, the quiz can automatically shuffle the order of questions and even the order of responses in a multiple choice question. For the student, being able to see immediate results from their multiple choice questions provides an opportunity for the student to learn from their misunderstandings. From our perspective as teachers, it is nice to be able to grade the short answer/essays one question at a time. Lastly, the quizzes can be set up to allow the students to retake a test or quiz.
  • Any project, presentation, debate, etc. we like to create a rubric so the student knows what he is being graded on. Rubistar is a nice website to create customized rubrics that can be printed or stored online. The rubrics can also be used for students to evaluate themselves or the perspectives of others.

Posted by Tim Stapert and Larry Borst