For this assignment, I chose Khan Academy, Photomag and GradeCam. I had used Khan Academy 4 years ago, when I had gotten it into my head that I needed to go back and re-learn math (since I had virtually given up on it in highschool). However, it has been a long time since then and no doubt it has changed since then. I have never used Photomag, but as I am in the field of journalism, it seemed like a tool that might help me in my lesson plan as a group activity. GradeCam seemed like a good way for the instructor to create quizzes and have the answers graded in real-time. GradeCam is also a tool I have never used before.
Early on, I realized the problem I faced with PhotoMag. It was an app specifically designed for the apple store and for apple products. Since I use android devices, this tool is not something I will be able to use or review. Initially, I didn’t realize what the problem was and I downloaded an app with a similar name (Photo Mag). I realized very soon that it was not the app I was supposed to be testing when everything was written in French and it was basically an app that downloaded magazines on your phone.
Khan academy is most definitely a form of balance between active and passive learning. During the videos of Sal Khan, the student has to listen, as is in a traditional classroom setting. However, the student then gets to apply and test what they have learnt in the form of quizzes. The student engagement is high because both the videos and the quizzes are short segments, the videos not exceeding 7 or 8 minutes and the quizzes comprising of 5 questions at a time. Khan Academy also seems well designed to engage students with good web design, the use of colors in the videos, and doing the quizzes to “win points” and “badges”. While using Khan Academy in the past, I did not ever really see a sense of community or interactivity between users that might have changed with the option for teachers to set up their classes on the site.
GradeCam is a tool specifically for teachers. It does not play a role in the learning process of the students and it does not necessarily promote active or passive learning. GradeCam allows for teachers to take the bubble answer sheets that her students have filled out during a test, and scans it with a camera so that the results are then instantly tabulated and ready for the teacher to use. Their sales pitch is that by using their product, the teacher can spend less time grading individual papers and more time actually teaching. I don’t see this tool really helping the building of a community of learners either.
Fahy, P.J., Characteristics of Interactive Online Learning Media