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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Quizalize

The last month of this school year has been a blur of busy-ness. As we prepare to complete our 1:1 initiative in August for our K-5 students, our first school year of Chromebooks for middle and high school students has just completed. It has changed what learning means for Shelby County.  Also in the busy-ness mix: in the last few weeks I have presented at Fayette County's Innovations for Learning and KDE's Persistence to Graduation Summit.  This was my second year at IFL (what a great regional and FREE annual conference!) and my first for PtG; I hope to return to both next year.

For my last blog entry of the 2015-2016 school year, I want to highlight a new formative assessment tool -- Quizalize.  To me, it is the next natural evolution of the gamified online tools such as Kahoot and Quizizz, which builds on their strengths and finds new ways of being useful for educators.

How does it work?  First, register your free teacher account.  (There are some premium features available; more on that below.)    You will land on a page with several options at the top:

Note the URL public link (on the right), making it easy to share your Quizalize profile online.
"Start Here" is definitely recommended as your first stop.  Here you can access a printable guide, watch a short overview video, and play a demo quiz; you can also make a quiz as well as search Quizalize's "marketplace" for quizzes shared publicly by others.  (Some of these public quizzes are free, and some cost.)


The other top buttons on your landing page are fairly straightforward.  Under "Your Quizzes" you can see quizzes you have already made or create new ones.  One helpful aspect is that you can organize quizzes into "collections," making it easier to navigate through them.  You can view or create classes under "Your Classes."  This is also where you can assign a quiz to a class, or see data from quizzes your students have taken.  "Marketplace" takes you to the same searchable database mentioned above.  By clicking your name, you can edit your profile and settings.

Creating a quiz is easy; simply create your questions and then assign the quiz to a class.  One of the more powerful aspects of Quizalize is the ability to tag questions with objectives or topics, which will greatly enhance its reporting features.  Also, Quizalize quizzes can easily be taken asynchronously.   You can assign them as homework with a start/end date of completion.  (Of course, you could ask students to take it simultaneously during class as well.)  Unlike Kahoot, students can take the quiz without a projector displaying questions and answer choices; all of the necessary information is right on their own screen.  When assigning a quiz, you have several options such as scrambling the order of questions so students side by side will have a different experience.   The teacher is given a unique access code to the quiz; this code and the site quiz.al are all the information a student needs to take it.

Creating a class is also easy.  You give it a name, and decide whether you will make students have to create an email/password to sign in.  Unfortunately, for those that want to upload a roster, you do not have that as an option.  However, the tradeoff is an easy interface for students to access and take your quizzes (similar to Kahoot and Quizizz, a student can take a quiz without registration). With the code and quiz.al site, a student can jump into a quiz within seconds.   One of the interesting features of Quizalize is that a list of student names from previous takers will show up; students should look for their name first and click on it, but they can type it if their name is not shown.   I recommend making this clear in your instructions to students, in order to make data for the same student consistent over time.

One of my favorite aspects of Quizalize is the visually clear way student answer data is presented, both as whole class and on an individual basis.  Student performance is broken down as "strong," "almost there," and "needs help." If you use the subtopics tagging feature, you can also quickly see overall areas of struggle and proficiency.  Here is where the premium aspect of Quizalize adds value; if a teacher wants to pay $69 a year, he/she would have access to a spreadsheet view of performance as well as the ability to export the data.

Here is a video I made that shows an overview of Quizalize's assessment analysis features:



One last thing to mention is that Quizalize has partnered with Zzish, which allows the ability to assign multiple activities from other online platforms.   When you log in as a teacher, you can "Add Activity" from sites such as Kahoot and Socrative.  However, although a student can see these outside assignments once they log in to Quizalize, it is not a direct link or embedded activity.   For example, you could copy the Kahoot game PIN and put that in the activity description for the student to see for their "assignment," but the student would still have to log into Kahoot from a new tab to play the Kahoot game.

How could you use it?  As bellringers or exit slips, Quizalize can give you quick, vital information on student performance. With the quiz.al link and a code, quizzes could easily be imbedded in Schoology Updates or non-submission Assignments.  Coupled with a content-related video or text reading, Quizalize could be used for more engaging homework or as part of a flipped activity.  Last but not least, Quizalize could be another digital tool for gamifying your classroom.

Downsides? Fans of Quizizz will miss the lack of funny memes for wrong answers in Quizalize.  Both Quizizz and Kahoot have a rich reporting structure available for free, whereas you need a premium account in Quizalize to export similar Excel spreadsheets.  Lastly, although Quizalize has a leaderboard of sorts when running live games, Quizizz and Kahoot may be more effective in feeding the competitive nature of students.   However, its ease of use, coupled with the power of "subtopics" and quick visual representation of results, make Quizalize a compelling alternative.

Are you a user of Quizalize?  Talk about it in the Comments below.