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Thursday, February 4, 2016


Worksheets are a nasty, nasty word in education.  Fair or not, they epitomize the "one size fits all" approach to mindlessly giving out the same photocopied work, year after year after year.  However, like other maligned educational words and phrases that have fallen out of fashion (like "direct instruction"), we must be careful not to throw out a good tool that has been used poorly in the past . . . especially if they get a twenty-first century upgrade.

Which brings us to the focus of this entry: Wizer! (That's pronounced like "wiser," as in "I hope to become wiser in integrated technology as the years go on.")  These self-described "blended worksheets" can become another powerful formative assessment for your digital classroom, despite the pedigree of the dreaded W word.

How does it work?  You need an account to either make or take Wizer worksheets, but registration is free and you can even use your Google account as a sign in.  (GAFE users, take note!)  Once logged in, look in the upper left of the page to access your previously created worksheets or to create a new one.

Once you choose to create a new worksheet, you must choose a theme.  (Like Google Forms in the beginning, there are a narrow amount of choices with some seasonal influences - I saw a Valentine related choice, for example - but you should be able to find enough variety.)  Next, you will see various ways of editing the worksheet at the top and right side.  At the top, you can indicate the grade level of the work or tag it with indicators.  Down the right side, you can save the worksheet as you go (there doesn't appear to be an auto-save), preview what it will look like to students, change the cover photo, and last but not least, edit the color and font of the worksheet's title.  The wording of the title itself is easy to click and edit, which will automatically give the worksheet its name when you look under "My Worksheets" in the top left.

In the body of the worksheet, you can choose various Tasks. Perhaps by design, the top row of choices are interactive, and the bottom row are more passive/informational.  So you can choose from interactive options such as matching, multiple choice, labeling a picture, and open response questions to more passive embedded material such as YouTube videos, pictures or links.  Another plus is how simple it is to edit Tasks and change the order of their appearance on the worksheet.

I'm particularly impressed with "Fill On An Image" and "Matching," which among online formative assessments are fairly unique choices.

For a video on how to create a Wizer worksheet, see below:

After the worksheet is completed, you go to the upper right to toggle the Publish button, and now you can "Assign to students."  From here, you can create multiple "classes" to assign the same worksheet for the sake of organization (and control turning on or off access class by class).  You can provide a link to the worksheet (in an email, a Schoology Assignment/Update Post, etc.) or directly integrate it with Google Classroom.

Note that you can choose to give or not give "Automatic feedback to students."

Once students complete the worksheet, you can go to your worksheet and click on "Assess Answers" in the upper right. Right/wrong answers (like multiple choice) will be automatically graded for you, and you can toggle through student submissions to manually grade Tasks such as open responses or override Wizer if it says a student was incorrect.  There is even a space for teacher comments. Once saved, all of this will be available to students when they next log in.

For a video on how to assign worksheets and assess student answers, see below:

Note that by default, all published worksheets are available in the public "gallery" on the home page of the site, which can be shared or copied to their own account by other users.  However, you can make your worksheets private by going under "My Worksheets," finding the worksheet you want to change, clicking the three dots button, and clicking on Make Private.

How could you use it?   The beauty of Wizer can be summed up in a sentence: it's a formative assessment that is easy to navigate with Tasks that could be used K-12.  If you are worried about the "one size fits all" of old school worksheets, why not make multiple versions and differentiate?  (You can copy one of your existing worksheets and edit it accordingly.)

Downsides?   Questions are automatically a point per answer; you cannot customize the values. There is no way to search public worksheets (currently, you can only browse the ones shown on the home page), but since worksheets can be tagged when created, I believe this is a feature likely to come down the pike.  While already packed with several Task features, I look forward to using other tools in the future such as drawing or audio.

Wizer is getting user input for which Task will be added next.

All in all, Wizer is a great new free online formative assessment that is already impressive.  If it continues to grow and improve, this could easily become a favorite in my toolbox.

Be sure to share a Comment below if you've used Wizer already or after you give it a try!

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