Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of Quizzizz.com.
I hadn’t until last week, when Abilene Independent School District administrator Ross Thomas turned what otherwise was a rote presentation about social studies into an interactive romp.
It’s apparently a smart classroom tool for students to review their materials through online quizzes. Teachers can track which student answers correctly and address individual needs from the data.
Quiz applications like this are all over the internet now, as education tools have developed in the age of smartphones.
A plethora of subjects are covered by the website’s offerings, from general sports trivia to chemical elements to sharks and galaxies.
Or is that spelled “galaxiezz?”
Thomas asked the school board, to which he was presenting Monday, and those attending to whip out their cellphones and participate in a quiz about presidents. It was a social studies presentation, after all.
Ten questions dealt with those historical figures, with questions ranging from “Who played saxophone on television?” to “Which president was shot down multiple times while flying combat missions?” (Answers: Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, respectively.)
An extra question, tossed into the mix, questioned participants on the number of different topics social studies students must be aware of in their eighth-grade State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness.
More than 90, apparently. I winged it on that question and guessed wrong.
One of Thomas’s main points in his presentation was that social studies, unlike some of the other subjects students study, has no connection between years. Information absorbed by a student’s brain in seventh grade has little to no bearing on what a student learns in eighth grade.
It makes assessing history difficult.
Anyway, I correctly answered half of the 10 history questions Thomas posed. It’s a number I’m fairly proud of. And I knew four of the five correct answers. The other was a guess based on analyzing the question, identifying a possible time frame and taking a shot at the most likely name of the four choices presented.
It was fun. I wish every school board meeting came with an interactive segment. Or, maybe, that they don’t made this one that much more enjoyable.
Monday’s quiz winner? Phil Ashby. The soon-to-be-retired director of communications gets kudos for his knowledge (or, possibly, guesses).
Make and take
Thursday’s Maker Fest at Abilene Christian University’s Maker Lab was enjoyable. It’s never a dull time, and this year’s emphasis on education tools and products gave it a great spin.
Sure, there was still the typical Maker Fest attractions, from screen-printing to sewing machines making products and makers in the atrium selling their wares.
But you also had Academy of Technology, Engineering, Math and Science students driving robots around, students shooting rockets skyward (demonstrating propulsion and other scientific concepts) and Wylie Junior High students showing off the video games they designed.
One game I played asked gamers to survive a side-scrolling-like level for 35 seconds to win. I’m not much of a challenger and after about 10 tries, I failed. I got 32 seconds once. The designer, a student in Luke Hurst’s Coding, Gaming, Robotics and Innovation class, probably thought I was terrible.
He would be right.
All-in-all, the event was fun. Until next year, Maker Fest, thank you.
Superstars in music, part deux
For the second consecutive year, the Abilene ISD Fine Arts Department is celebrating some national notoriety.
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation named the district one of 2019’s Best Communities for Music Education.
With more than 11,000 students and 41 teachers involved in its music programs, Abilene ISD was one of 624 districts nationwide recognized for its strong offerings and successes. What truly shows the district’s prowess in music education, though, is Texas had 65 other districts recognized as part of that national figure.
Texas has more than 1,000 school districts, meaning Abilene ISD is among the top six percent in the eyes of foundation’s decision-makers.
Two years in a row — and two-for-two in applications as the district has never been told, “no” — is a mighty accomplishment.
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