Student Response Systems (Clickers) Using Cellphones


Cell Phone: Friend or Foe?

I know this is a contentious issue: cell phones in the classroom.  While I agree that they can be an incredible distraction, they can have many uses.  One of my favorite uses is having students use their phones as a student response clicker.  While older systems required that you purchase software to add-on to another program like PowerPoint, get a receiver for your computer, and then purchase enough clickers for the class, newer systems are web-based and free.

Obviously, your students must have access to a device.  Modern smartphones work (Apple or Android) and even newer non-phone devices like iPods connected to our school wifi will fit the bill.  Students can also use tablets, laptops, or a Chromebook.  Sweet Methuselah!

Our talented Ms. Hussey uses one of the sites, Kahoot, on a regular basis, has provided PD on use of Kahoot in the past, and is an excellent resource in addition to Mr. Rubino and myself (Reeves).  Without further ado, let me introduce “the twins.’

Kahoot and Socrative |

If Kahoot and Socrative are twins, Kahoot is the younger sister, the one throwing the parties when the parents are out of town.  She’s loud, exciting, the life of the party.  Kahoot uses flashy visuals and driving music to engage students.  Socrative is the older sister, just back from a year at college.  She’s a little more sophisticated, but can have a good time too.  Socrative has more options when it comes to exporting data for your own or student use.

Metaphors aside, both of the twins give you the same result: easy to build or import slide shows where you can ask students questions to get immediate feedback.  Both systems give students a way to safely and anonymously engage with your content and a way for you to track how each student is understanding your lesson in real time.  Both give you a way to analyze sessions later and will grade for you.   Both work from within any modern web browser (mobile too), and Socrative even has an app that teachers and students can download onto a smartphone.

My experience using student response has been overwhelmingly positive.  Students love it and I get useful, timely data.

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Search and Save Images the Right Way

While opening up your search engine, typing in “cats dressed like old people,” and saving an image or two for use in your class might be quick and hilarious, did you know it’s possibly a copyright violation?

While we are granted some freedoms in education through fair use clauses, we’re not exempt, and we can still have action brought against us, forced to demonstrate how and why our fair use exempts us.  Sounds like fun, right?

How about we skip all of that together and search the right way.  In about two extra clicks, you can still get those cat images–not sure why you’re searching for that kind of thing, but hey, it’s a free country–and you’ll be free from copyright woes.  Both Bing and Google  give you a two-click solution.

In Google, once you’ve searched for your cats, click on search tools, then usage rights, and finally click on labeled for reuse with modification for the greatest legal right to use that image however you want!


Click to zoom

In Bing, search your image, then click license.  Basically anything other than “all” will give you safer results.


Click to zoom

Happy image hunting, weirdo!

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WeVideo – Making Movies

Free, web-based video editing that works in any browser, on any operating system, even on some mobile devices?!?!  Tell me more, you say?

WeVideo is what I’ve been recommending to teachers who want to create a video project.

Some features of WeVideo:

  • Free to use and edit, but users can only export about 5 minutes of video a month for free.  Most of us don’t want to watch more than that anyway, let’s be honest.
  • Students can sign in anywhere with their google information and access files on their drive within the online editor.
  • In conjunction with Google Drive, students and teachers can share assets like video and audio clips for group projects.
  • WeVideo has a decent library of free music, sound effects, and graphics that can be used in any project.
  • WeVideo has a beginner and advanced mode, and the advanced mode is pretty comprehensive, a good stepping stone toward a full-featured editor like Adobe Premiere.

We’re in the works to buy 150 premium licenses, which we plan to assign and reassign to various teachers/classes as projects come up.  This will give us:

  • Greater export time than 5 minutes (by quite a bit) per month
  • Full HD quality exports for nicer looking products
  • Access to more music
  • “Green-screen” editing capability
  • Slow mo
  • The ability for multiple students to edit the same timeline/project at the same time, like a Google / OneDrive file.
  • and more…

I’m available for training AND I’ve put together a step-by-step list of instructional videos produced by WeVideo and myself.  Each video is about a minute long.  You can learn this program very quickly.  Happy filming.

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Get Free HD Quality Video Clips

Free HD Video Clips

Teachers and students alike can download free hd-quality movie clips for use in projects and presentations.  Download the video for use in a local video editor like Adobe Premiere or download and then upload to a web-based service like WeVideo for use in your projects.


  • There is no download charge and no royalty charge. Just avoid anything submitted by Shutterstock.  They want up to $800.00 a clip.  Youch!
  • While they ask you to “sign up” and log in to download files, you can sign in with google and use your email/password info.
  • Videvo has two different license agreements so not only are clips free, they’re legal–a feature students and teachers alike sometimes overlook…
    • If Videvo created the video, they do not want/need any credit whatsoever.
    • If posted by someone in the Videvo community (any name other than Videvo listed as author), it falls under the Creative Commons 3.0 license agreement.  Give credit to the author/source and it’s free to use!
  • You can search by category or keyword.  There are hundreds of videos from a wide range of genres.


No need to sign up or sign in on this site, but there aren’t as many clips as Videvo.  Still, they’re offering up free, HD-quality clips, as long as you cite the author under the Creative Commons license agreement.

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