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Solar Car Racing: Try Engineering

What it is: Solar Car Racing is a great game and challenge from Try Engineering.  On the Solar Car Racing games students will virtually design and race a solar car.  Students begin by choosing the components for their car that will optimize the performance.  Next they test out their car in a desert and on a racetrack environment to find out how it performs.  Students can observe the performance and then modify their design based on feedback and race again. How to integrate the Solar Car Racing game into the classroom: Try Engineering has some really fantastic interactive games for students.  I like Solar Car Racing because it goes beyond just building and testing, and encourages students to learn from their mistakes to modify their design.  Too often games created for students have a defined end point that doesn’t encourage students to continue tinkering and experimenting.  Solar Car Racing would make a good “experiment” center on classroom computers.  Students can stop by the “lab” area as they are learning about solar energy to test out the principles they are learning. Ideally, students would each have access to the site.  This would allow each student to create and test a solar car design.  Let students discuss observations of what designs work best and why.  Students can “sell” their solar car design to each other. Expand this activity by asking students to create a sales brochure for their solar car.  Students can include researched information about solar cars, tout unique elements of their design and practice persuasive writing and design. If students don’t have access to their own computers, make this a class activity using a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard.  Give each student the opportunity to tweak and test the design, discussing adjustments and possible outcomes as a class. If you have the resources, perfect the solar car design using the Solar Car Racing game and follow-up by creating an actual working model size version. Tips: Be sure to check out the fantastic list of related links at the bottom of the Try Engineering Solar Car Racing page. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Solar Car Racing in your classroom!

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The Answer Pad: BYOD Student Response System

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Classroom Management, collaboration, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Websites | Posted on 16-04-2013

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What it is: The Answer Pad is a student response system…only better!  What makes it better?  The ability for use with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) classrooms and the ability to collect student responses outside of your typical, limited multiple choice answers that most student response systems are limited to.  The Answer Pad is really made up of two parts.  1. The student response piece that lets students go interactive with outstanding drawing features.  2. The answer sheets that score and capture data from existing paper exams including full online reporting, the ability for students to show their work, and a variety of question types. The Answer Pad is available for the iPad, Android or from any web browser.  Download the TAPit Free app for the iPad!

The free version of The Answer Pad is pretty robust for teachers and students.  Premium features are available at a reasonable price that take it to the next level.

How to integrate The Answer Pad into the classroom: The Answer Pad is a really useful addition to the formative assessment puzzle.  I LOVE that it doesn’t limit teachers to gathering low-level data in the format of multiple choice answer (although this feature is available for those times when you want to check for entry level understanding).  The Answer Pad lets students draw and type out answers, making the feedback they give to you during a lesson that much more valuable.  The fact that it isn’t limited to the basics is GREAT!  Imagine a math lesson where students are able to actually show and demonstrate their understanding (not just their amazing guessing skills).  The instantaneous feedback is wonderful for adjusting lessons and providing more individualized instruction based on what you are seeing.

In addition to collecting more valuable math feedback, The Answer Pad also gives you valuable feedback for any subject, a blank template lets students free write/draw their understanding.  This might even be a great way for students to take notes during learning, you can give your students feedback on their note taking during a lesson.  I am always amazed when I look at student notes, some of our students really don’t know what is important enough to write down and how to organize themselves best for later reference.  Using the free draw in The Answer Pad would give you good insight into a student’s thinking process and help you to guide and direct them appropriately.

The reporting feature is also really helpful, being able to look not only at student answers, but also at the written work that led to the answer is SO valuable.  This embedded feature makes Answer Pad more than just a self-grading platform, this is feedback and data that you can really use to drive instruction.

Tips:  Premium features include: custom frameworks for scoring tests, ability to bundle assessments together for side-by-side comparison and reporting, advance functions for test scenarios, an additional drawing palette for the Go Interactive portion, support by phone, and access to black-line template library.

Thank you to @dkapuler for introducing me to The Answer Pad!

I’ve been nominated for a Bammy Award for Educational Blogger.  I’d appreciate your vote to help spread the word about iLearn Technology.  Vote here.  Thank you for your continued support!!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  The Answer Pad in your classroom.

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