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Inklewriter: interactive story designer

What it is: Inklewriter is a great digital tool that lets students (and teachers if you are so inclined) write and publish interactive stories.  Inklewriter lets students create choose-your-own-adventure type stories, story lines can come with choices and then be linked back together.  Inklewriter makes this process easier by keeping track of which story paths have been finished and which still need work.  There is no set-up required, no programming language to learn and no diagrams.  Inklewriter is free to use and easy to share with the world when it is published.  When a story is finished, it can even be converted to Kindle format! I found the Inklewriter format to be pretty intuitive and easy to use.  I think intermediate elementary and older will have no trouble using this tool for creative and informative writing. How to integrate Inklewriter into the classroom: Inklewriter is a great digital tool for creative writing.  Students can explore multiple plot lines and what-if scenarios in their fictional writing.  I also like the idea of using Inklewriter to ask kids to explore the “what-ifs” in history.  What if we lost/won this war/battle?  What if the other guy (or girl) had been elected president?  What if the Berlin wall hadn’t come down?   These types of stories are fantastic opportunities for students to explore their curiosities and, in the process, learn more about the event they are exploring.  After all, you have to know something about how an event actually went in order to write alternate endings. Inklewriter would be a fun way for students to come up with alternate endings to a novel they are reading.  Our students wrote a variety of endings for The Giver.  Each student wrote a different ending that picked up from the last chapter of the book.  Inklewriter would have been a great tool to use for all of these endings to be available in one place.  Students could copy/paste the last paragraph of the actual book and then offer their alternative endings as options. In science, students could use Inklewriter as a tool to record their hypothesis. Students can write out the objective and steps in their experiment and make a new “alternate ending” for their various hypothesis. In math, students could create story problems where they lead others down the path to discover the correct answer. Tips: These interactive stories are MADE for your tablet devices…if you have some in your classroom, take advantage of them! Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Inklewriter in your classroom.

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Cost of NCLB Testing Info Graphic ($5.3 billion is TOO high)

Posted by admin | Posted in Download, education reform, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources | Posted on 21-09-2010

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Lately I have been wondering about how much state testing costs us.  There are a lot of costs involved in standardized testing.  In addition to the cost of administering, grading, and recording the test, there are other less tangible costs such as the impact on learning.  Curious, I sent out a tweet asking if anyone had info on how much testing cost (I was coming up empty in a Google search).  A few of my PLN sent me a link to Stateline.org where I found this:

I knew the numbers would be high, but this is shocking. All of that money per state for testing.  I started wondering what else that money could have been used for and sent out another tweet, this time asking what one thing teachers would want in their classrooms if money was no object.  The info graphic above holds the results.

The info graphic is based on the following numbers (links to data sources):

iPod Touch 4 $229

iPad $499

Average cost of children’s books $21

Soccer ball $10

64 Count Box of Crayola Crayons $5

Exercise ball (to use as chair replacements) $20

Price/square foot for school addition $222

Paraprofessional Salary/year $26,000

Violin $340

I don’t know about you, but every one of those items above feels like a better use of money.

Image links: Pencils, Exercise ball, iPod Touch 4, iPad, Soccer Ball, Crayons, Violin


Price: $
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Comments (16)

You should be able to get down to $200/sq ft on a school addition because I checked out some figures for the west coast and was able to get around $200/sq ft.

That is a very cool info graphic! Isn’t Pages brilliant? I love the way you unified it with frames, and added shadow to give it that stuck on the notice board look.

[...] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Cost of NCLB Testing Info … [...]

I love that info-graphic. Nicely done. Startlingly depressing but makes a great point.

It is depressing!

Yes, I love Pages (obviously!!)

Even better! I got my info from link below of averages.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by JackieGerstein Ed.D., Shelly S Terrell, David, Jenna Ream, Kim Kadeem and others. Kim Kadeem said: http://bit.ly/dkFlTC on iLearn Technology. NCLB in it's true form… what a waste of $ [...]

The figures you present and the available options for spending the money is quite amazing and rather scary really. Now that people can see how much money is allocated to testing yearly, there might be more of a fuss created about the spending?

$5.3 BILLION?! Whew! It certainly seems that we are requiring schools to administer more and more tests and laying off more and more teachers and turning out more and more students without basic skills. How can that be?! NCLB is certainly far from perfect but what is a better way to do fair performance reviews for teachers? My kids have been lucky, they have had some very good teachers, a handful of phenomenal educators and a few duds. How do we get rid of the duds? Face it, there are plenty of people doing jobs they don’t enjoy and/or do not do well. In the business world, they are given performance reviews and, if not doing their job, let go. In my state it is nearly impossible to get rid of a bad teacher, especially because it takes a few years to see if the person is “cut out” for teaching, by then they are in. How about using some of that money for development? And help “bad” teachers get better or let them go?
Was development time/training one of your options in your survey of ways to spend the money? There has to be accountability, there has to be some kind of performance review, but is testing students the way to do it? Seems like there must be a better way.

Contrary to what many believe, getting rid of bad teachers is not difficult – including ones that are “tenured.” To do this, administrators, mostly building principals, must make many observations and document their findings. This is usually what is not done on a regular basis. I’ve personally seen experienced teachers let go because of job performance. In addition, those “duds” you mentioned just might have been phenomenal teachers to other children. It’s ridiculous to judge a teacher on one standardized test. I certainly agree that students need to achieve, but there are just too many variables that impact how much and what the student learns. Many of these variables are out of the teacher’s control.

What makes a bad teacher? In my experience, every teacher I have worked with could be a bad teacher in one area, and a fantastic teacher in another. One could be good with parents, yet bad with kids. Another could be a fantastic coach, and a lacklustre participant in during staff meetings. A third may teach concise lessons, carefully planned, which no students care to engage in. What, in your estimation, besides presenting a danger to the students, makes a bad teacher?

I love your graphic so much I riffed on your idea and made my own graphic. It is ridiculous to judge a teacher OR a student by a statistic because you cannot measure knowledge with a number. NCLB depersonalizes learning and harms the teacher and the students and gives parents false information.

Thanks Tammy, saw your graphic and like the adaptation!

[...] Standardized (or other forms) of testing [...]

[...] Standardized (or other forms) of testing [...]

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