For a second year in a row, Google Classroom is proving to be a highlight in delivering and managing content for my classes. It’s highly simplistic interface and effectiveness makes it a strong frontrunner in learning management systems. Ultranet on the other hand was difficult to navigate and updating information was a daily struggle. Hapara addon might be something I will eventually look at. One of the most amazing features is the marking in Classroom. You can easily use the grading feature after creating and assignment and then store the grades as an Excel sheet. Returning the grades with a score as an email is really convenient. Students are appreciating the delivery method and can easily access information when they are away(no more excuses for not completing homework). Currently the score only take whole numbers for grades ( so you cannot mark someone a 7.5). Once exported to Excel I can easily convert them to an Achieved, Merit or Excellence using a simple formula sheet template I have made.
Most grades are marked out of 10. Any students attaining a 5,6 is an Achieved, 7,8 is a Merit and 9,10 is Excellence. All of them are color coded as well so I can see instantly the results of the class and gauge the outcome based on color. I can alternatively copy the marks to Google Sheets and save the sheet( and then download it).
Google sheets export is really good because the averages for the class and individual exams marked are automatically output to the screen. The grading of marks and returning it to students has been simplified. They get an email from me with the grade/ comment(image below shows every assessment with grade and comment). Wonderful. Thanks Google!
[easymedia-gallery med=”73″ filter=”1″]On 2 March the year 9 – 10 students went to the DreamWorks exhibition at Te Papa Museum in Wellington. This exhibition showcased design work made by the international animation company famous for its movies like ‘Shrek’, ‘Kung Fu Panda’ and ‘How To Train Your Dragon’. The students were welcomed by Mr. Makaira who is an education specialist. He emphasised on the importance of creating concepts before making a movie. The journey of creating hand drawn sketches which eventually get ‘computerised’ using drawing tablets to its final movie form is truly remarkable. The exhibition also showed how motion editing material is used by actors to play their roles which are then replaced by animated movie characters. I have learnt that the whole process is lengthy, strenuous and requires lots of patience.
The senior Digital Technology students visited the same exhibition on 3 March. The students have assessments based on demonstrating knowledge and understanding of media at year 11, 12 and 13 for which this field trip setup the perfect platform to gain deeper insight. Detailed storyboarding and planning for an animation like ‘Shrek’ which had about 80,000 storyboard frames made, marked the importance of refining concepts through the lens of the creative team at DreamWorks. Students were amazed by some of the developmental designs as one character drawn for ‘Shrek’ in the initial phases looked way different to his final form.
This field trip had multiple applications for junior and senior Digital Technology students in their curriculum areas. Showing the impact of good design procedures and incremental development through intense testing was the highlight. It also emphasised the importance of working in a team and wider co-ordination between teams. The key curriculum concepts of Technological modelling, Technological practise and Nature of Technology were all showcased under one roof and lastly, the amazing, ever realistic resin model of ‘Po’, the lead character of Kung Fu Panda just blew me away!