We've had a handful of requests from teachers recently, who want the Start Over Button removed from strict test mode, because when students are taking a test, they might be inclined to Start Over when they see it isn't going so well...
To address this concern, we've created the new Super Strict Mode that has the following properties:
no Start Over (or Skip) button
no scoring information is shown until the quiz is over
no feedback whatsoever during the quiz... ie "Correct" and "Sorry, that's incorrect" are not shown
no list of places included in the quiz... you won't see what questions will be asked before the quiz starts
Some important notes about Super Strict mode:
It is only available on customizable quizzes, and only to Teacher Plus and Individual supporter accounts.
There is nothing to stop the student from reloading the page or re-navigating to the quiz in order to start again. But by removing all feedback on the results, the student will have less reason to suspect he is not doing well and want to start over.
When you try the sample quiz, take note of the following differences, which are circled in the screen capture:
screenshot showing the help that has been removed from the quiz
The list of places ("This quiz asks about...") is not shown. (But if you create the quiz, you and you alone will still see the list, because it will help you to see what you included in the quiz without having to either do the quiz or go back to edit mode.)
The usual scoring information is not displayed - you'll no longer see how many points you've earned as you do the quiz
There's no feedback. A superstrict quiz does NOT tell you "Correct", or "Sorry, that's incorrect".
How to create a Super Strict quiz
Just go to the "customize a quiz page", and look for the Quiz Mode buttons, and pick Force Super Strict mode:
screenshot showing the Quiz Mode options
As with all forced modes, forcing a quiz into Super Strict mode is only available to those with Teacher Plus accounts or Individual Supporter accounts. So, if you see the forced mode options but you can't click on them, it probably means you're not signed in, or your account isn't eligible for this feature.
screenshot showing the Quiz Mode options are not available
Where the results are saved
If you're looking at your own results, or the results of your students, please note that the scores for Super Strict mode are labeled as Strict scores. The strict score in the screenshot below is the score from the sample quiz of the Canada provinces and territories, in super strict mode.
screenshot showing the superstrict score in the Strict column
Why are the scores for Super Strict mode labeled as Strict mode? Because it's not really a new mode - it's more of a mode upgrade, like getting fancy rims on your car. We didn't want to FORCE everyone to use the new features of super strict, so we've left it as an option. At some point in the future, we may be asking our users, do you even want the old-style strict mode? Or should we make Super Strict the standard for strict testing?
We've just launched a handful of new quizzes designed for Travel and Tourism students, but anyone can use them. The questions cover a variety of types of destinations: cities, popular sites, landmarks, national parks, resorts, beaches, natural wonders etc. Check the end of this post for a sample customization of a USA quiz that is more geography focused.
These quizzes require you to know the country, state or province where a destination is located. So, for example, in the USA tourism quiz, if you are asked "Where is the Empire State Building?", you would answer by clicking on the state of New York.
The tourism quizzes offer a feature we've never offered before - a destination can be in more than one place. So if we ask you where the Four Corners Monument is, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah are all acceptable answers. And we'll show you that in 2 ways:
1. When you click on the "show me" button, all acceptable answers are highlighted, as the following screen capture shows:
2. When you click on a correct answer, the answer response lists all the acceptable answers, as shown in the following screen capture. The user answered with Utah, and the response from the quiz was, "Correct, the Four Corners Monument is in Utah. (Multiple answers accepted: Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah)"
sample navigation with airplane icons indicating the tourist quizzes
The destinations asked in the quizzes were based on the learning needs of a particular tourism program at a Canadian college. But all the tourist quizzes are customizable, so that you can select from just the destinations you need. If you are an instructor of a Travel and Tourism program and you'd like some destinations added to the quizzes, please send us an email. Eventually, we hope to make it easy to add destinations yourself, but in order to satisfy an immediate need, we had to launch the quizzes with a fixed set of questions.
We realize that Travel and Tourism students need to know a lot more than just where the destinations are, but these quizzes will help with the "where", and free your mind up to learn the rest of the details you need to know for your program.
Customizing a quiz gives you the option of selecting whether a quiz is forced into Strict Test mode (with the other modes completely turned off). This is a great feature for testing your students - they don't get hints (like "No, that's France") and they can't click a button to see the labeled map. They also can't switch the mode, or misunderstand in what mode you wanted them to take the test.
At the request of a teacher, we now offer another option: to force the quiz into Test mode. Test mode is similar to Strict Test mode, except in Test mode, you still get three tries to answer - but still, no help or hints. This is a good testing option for younger students, beginners, or to prepare for the Strict test at a later date.
Forcing a quiz into test mode or strict test mode is done on the quiz customization screen. The following screenshot of customizing the US state capitals quiz shows, circled in red, where you would select the quiz mode you want.
Note: Forcing a quiz into test mode or strict test mode is only available to premium users (those with a Teacher Plus account or an Individual supporter account)
Screenshot of the quiz customization screen showing where you select a mode to force
For comparison of the options, have a look at these 3 US state capital quizzes that have been customized with different mode options:
If you come across a quiz that has a forced mode, you can see what mode it is in, as in the following screenshot. The Quiz mode below the buttons shows that it is test mode. If you hold your mouse over (or tap on) the question mark icon, you will see an explanation of test mode.
Example screenshot of a forced quiz with the mode displayed
A frequently requested site feature is the availability of blank maps (and answer keys) for teachers and students to print and fill in manually. Not everyone learns the same way, so the printed blank maps will give you another way to practice your geography.
In July 2017, we launched a trial feature for Teacher Plus accounts: the ability to view all your students' scores (not just the best and most recent scores). The feedback from teachers has been extremely positive, and the extra data on our servers hasn't caused any issues, so we're happy to report that we will continue to offer this feature.
Here is an example of the old-style summary information you would get. You can see that the student has done the Central Africa: countries quiz 4 times, and you can see his best score for each mode (practice, test, and strict). You can also see the date and score of the last time he completed a quiz, which was in strict mode. But you can only see 3 scores, and that he tried 4 times.
Sample summary result for a quiz
With the new Student scores details feature, you get the results of every quiz your student completes. With the new details, you can clearly see that the student has done the quiz once in each of practice and test mode, and twice in strict mode. You also get the exact score (not just the percentage), and the date and time each quiz was completed.
Sample detail result for a quiz
You can also filter your results by class, quiz, test mode, and date range.
If you're a teacher of students that are 13 years of age and older, and your students sign up for accounts themselves, you might find our new account type of interest: Student-owned accounts that are connected to a teacher account.
A quick review of Teacher accounts and their student accounts
Until now, if a teacher wants to monitor their students' activity, the teacher must create generated accounts and hand them out to the students. And give everyone the same password. And keep track of whose account is whose. This is an ideal solution for maintaining the privacy and safety of children under 13 on the internet. But it may not be ideal for teachers of a large number of students in higher grades.
Introducing... Student-owned accounts connected to your teacher account
With student-owned accounts, students can sign up for their own accounts, and maintain their own passwords. Sounds like just a regular account that has always been available? Not quite - now anyone with a regular (non-teacher) account will see a new option in their My Account menu: Join or Leave Class.
If you, the teacher, have one or more classes set up in your account, you can instruct your students to use the Join a Class option to connect their account to yours. When they do that, they will be prompted to fill in the alias/nickname and give you permission to access their results. The alias/nickname will be what you see on your class results listing (thus saving you some work figuring out who's who).
This option is available for both Teacher Basic and Teacher Plus accounts , but please note that you need a Teacher Plus account to view your student scores (Teacher Basic will just show you that the student completed the quiz - not the score).
We've just introduced a new feature that has been requested by some of our teachers: you can now force a quiz to go into strict test mode (with the other modes disabled).
If you've ever given your students a test, and and asked them to use strict test mode, you might have been frustrated by the one or two students who missed following your instructions. Problem solved! You can now set up a customized quiz that goes directly into strict test mode, with no mode change options on the screen at all. Note: this feature is only available to Premium users (Teacher Plus accounts, and Individual Supporter accounts)
Here is what you'll end up with: notice in the screenshot below that the quiz is in strict test mode - 1 point per question ie only one guess, no map or show me buttons, and no buttons to change the quiz to practice mode or test mode.
screenshot of a quiz forced to strict test mode
How to set up a quiz like this yourself
First, you must be signed in (to either a Teacher Plus account, or an Individual Supporter account), and select a quiz from the customize a quiz page.
On the customize screen you will see a new set of options, Quiz Mode Options, just below the options for coloring the map. Here's a screenshot of a customize screen, with a red circle around the new options:
Screenshot of where to find the mode options
The default option is that the Practice, test and strict test options are all available - this is the the standard quiz behavior that you're all familiar with. Select the second option, Force strict test mode, as shown in this little screen shot:
Force strict test radio button
After entering your title, description, selecting your locations, and your mode option, hit the save button, and you are done! You've got yourself a quiz that behaves ONLY in strict mode. This is a great option to set up a quiz to use just for testing. You can continue to use standard quizzes, or customize quizzes without this option, for your students to be able to practice and prepare for their tests.
Try this Demo quiz in Strict Test Mode
I've set up a Demo Quiz of 16 countries in Europe so you can try out what it's like when you use this feature.
Here's a quick run-through of the new feature: Favorite A Quiz.
If you're a teacher, and you want to put quizzes for your students on your (soon to be released) blackboard, this feature is going to help you get your quizzes there.
If you're a learner, favoriting a quiz is a way to keep all your favorite quizzes bookmarked in one spot. You might want to do this if you've got several quizzes you're studying for, or are frequently practicing. You can remove a quiz from your favorites just as easily.
Here's how it works...
Every quiz in the geography section has (or will soon have) a star just above the Question and Answer box. You just click on the star to mark the quiz as a favorite. It will turn from an outline to a solid star to show that it has been saved as a favorite.
Screenshot of how to save a quiz as a favorite
Screenshot of a quiz that has been saved as a favorite
If you want to remove the quiz from your favorites, just click the solid star, and it will revert back to the original outline (unfavorited) star.
When you want to see your favorites, go to your My Account menu (yes, you have to be signed in for your favorites to be saved and viewed) and select My Favorite Quizzes.
Screenshot of navigation to My Favorites screen
Below is a screenshot of what the My Favorite Quizzes screen looks like. As you can see, you can also remove quizzes from your favorites here.
Screenshot of My Favorites screen
Favoriting a quiz is available to Individual Supporters, those with a Teacher Plus account, and students of a Teacher Plus.
Stay tuned for a blog post on how this fits in with the new blackboard feature.
The folks at Google are piloting an interesting immersive geography program that might interest some of our readers.
The gist of the program is a to take students on a kind of virtual expedition where they can experience more than 100 interesting journeys. These simulated journeys could include a visit to the South Pole, coral reefs or ancient American ruins. With the Expedition Kit, students will be able to look up and down, and spin to get a 360-degree view of a location, as if they were visiting in person.
Expeditions teams will visit selected schools around the world, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Canada, Singapore and Denmark. Each team will bring a complete Expeditions kit with everything the teachers need to take their students on journeys anywhere. The team will show teachers how Expeditions works and help set it up before class.
There is no charge or cost involved in the program. You just need 6 interested teachers.
Students were creating a human skeleton using a variety of pastas. They could break them and shape them pretty much any way they needed to in order to complete the skeleton. I noticed something odd on one students skeleton and stupidly decided to ask about it…
Me: "Hey Ashley…why do you have that piece of fettuccine stuck to the pelvis?“ Student: "Well he’s a boy so…it’s a penis.” Me: "Oh! Uh…well just so you know there isn’t actually a bone…there.“ Student: "Oh my gosh really?! …Wait…then why do they call it a….” Me: "NO! Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. No more talking.“
I backed away and never questioned another pasta skeleton the rest of the day…
I recently asked a student where his homework was. He replied, “It’s still in my pencil.”
—Larry Timmons, Surprise, Arizona
My sixth-grade class would not leave me alone for a second. It was a constant stream of “Ms. Osborn?” “Ms. Osborn?” “Ms. Osborn?” Fed up, I said firmly, “Do you think we could go for just five minutes without anyone saying ‘Ms. Osborn’?!” The classroom got quiet. Then, from the back, a soft voice said, “Um … Cyndi?”
—Cyndi Osborn, New York, New York
"Yeah, I want to go to college! I really want to go! I have lots of money to pay for college!" [Later on in conversation] "Wait, college is school? I don't want to go to college! I didn't know college is SCHOOL!!"
On the last day of the year, my first graders gave me beautiful handwritten letters. As I read them aloud, my emotions got the better of me, and I started to choke up. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I’m having a hard time reading.” One of my students said, “Just sound it out.”
We discovered geocaching quite few years ago. For us at Lizard Point, it was the perfect combination of geography, nature, technology and general geekiness. It also gave us a fun, cheap, and easy way to engage our kids when they were young. In looking for an item of interest to geography teachers, I went searching for examples of integrating it into lesson plans. Reading the piece, A geocaching treasure hunt helped my students learn about the landscape in the Guardian, by teacher Stephen Lockyer, made me think that this idea has occurred to a few of you.
In case you haven't geocached - it's really simple. Go to the official website and get a free account. In five minutes you can bring up a map of your neighbourhood and find pointers to caches that others have hidden away. I bet you'd find 10 within walking distance. You then note the GPS coordinates and you start your hunt. It's even easier if you just download the free app to your smartphone. After some trekking around and (perhaps) peeking at clues - you'll discover the cache. It will always contain a log and often some little trinkets. The idea is to sign the log, exchange some trinkets if you like, and record the find with the app.
Stephen worked geocaching into an outing that he had already planned and was able to integrate map reading into the lesson. His class was so engaged that they began a program to create and hide geocaches in their own neighbourhood after the field trip.
As the photos illustrate, our family always includes some geocaching when we're on holiday. These were taken on a beach in Scotland. And I can almost guarantee that you'll find some sights off the beaten path and well worth the hunt.
Well, we really don't know that... but he sure does love making fun of Americans being bad at Geography. And we believe our job is to, you know... fix that. As Laura Bradley points out in her recent piece on Slate, Oliver would be "...the teacher from hell. Is the highlighted country on the map actually the country he’s talking about, or will it turn out to be on another side of the continent entirely?"
Anyway, it's a fun little clip. Click it for a chuckle or two.
(You knew where Uruguay was immediately, right? If not, do we have a quiz for you!)