In the last few years, I have used apps to help myself and my students prepare for assessments. It is difficult to find an app that is versatile, provides students with feedback, and gives teacher support. Quizalize does a great job of providing formative assessments as either a game or an assignment. Furthermore, it provides the teacher with data on how students performed on the multiple choice assignment or game.
As luck would have it I did not find Quizalize, they found me. They started following me on Twitter. With a couple of quick clicks I had to see what they were about. Ten minutes later I had an account and I was creating my first quiz. Luckily, Quizalize and I found each other in enough time for me to use it to help my students prepare for their final. When I saw how easy it was to create quizzes, and how students could use it outside of the classroom, I felt excited that I now had a tool that I could use the following school year for each chapter that I teach.
I teach 8th grade Social Studies, a curriculum that is already compressed and does not allow me to spend a class period before each test to review. As a new teacher I would give out review sheets before a test. The problem that I noticed was that I was missing out on valuable instruction days because I was using class time to prepare students for a test.
For each unit, I teach the content and the skills. With Quizalize my students can now review the content on their own. If students needed more help comprehending a difficult concept or skill, they could see me during my extra help hours so that we could address it. I now had students showing up for either a last minute cram session or I had students showing up because they needed to go over a particular skill. I no longer had students showing up asking what to study and how to study.
For a first-timer, you can begin by going to the Quizalize site. Creating an account is fast and easy. Once you log on you can view the marketplace to see what other teachers have created or you can begin to create your own. I am not tech savvy and was able to easily navigate through creating my own quiz within minutes.
If you have any questions or concerns, in the lower-right hand corner you will notice a circle with a bubble that is smiling. If you click on it, a member of the Zzish staff will be able to help you. What is wonderful about their staff is that regardless of whether you have messaged them with a question or not they will periodically message you to see how well you like the service. I cannot even begin to tell you how helpful and polite they have been.
Once you create a quiz, students type zzi.sh in the URL and then enter your classroom code. From there, they answer questions, get instant feedback, and they can look at data to see how well they are doing. For teachers, once your class is set up you can easily look to see who has taken the quizzes, how many times they have taken them and, more importantly, how well they are doing. Students create classes when they use the code to log into the assignment. Quizalize will not require students to create accounts and you won’t have to put in each student manually.
I have been using Quizalize for a year and have had nothing but benefits from its use. It has allowed me to save time on reviewing for assessments, it has provided me with data that I could use so that I could alter my instruction, it has provided students with an app that prepares my students for assessments that gives instant feedback, and it has provided me with a tool to inform parents on whether or not their child is studying for assessments.
Homework and Review
For each unit that I teach, I create two assignments on Quizalize for students: One prior to their unit Quiz and another one prior to their Unit assessment. Students can take the Quiz as many times as they wish. To make better use of their studying, I tell students to take the quiz once. I then have students look at the data that Quizalize provides and at what questions they got wrong or are struggling with.
After they see which questions they are not doing well with, I recommend that they go back to their notes and review the information again to see where they might be going wrong. After they review the material, I tell them to take it again to see how they did. For each unit assessment that I give I do provide a variety of apps that students can use to help them study. When students know they have a test in the upcoming week they will ask and make sure that I have a Quizalize available to help them study. I am fortunate that I have a good rapport with students that are not in my class and I am also a Coach. For students who are not in my class who want to utilize Quizalize I created a section for them.
In the beginning of my career, I was encouraging students to create index cards or I would have them create a flip-book to review. There is much to be said for having students create those materials and there is also much more to be said when the student says to you that they lost it or it took too long to write 50 or so index cards therefore they did not study. I prefer to create the quizzes myself; however, if you feel that it is more valuable for a student to create a quiz, that can be done with a little guided practice. From an instructional standpoint, if you see that a majority of your class is struggling with a topic or question it will allow you to reteach it or address it in a future lesson.
By having quizzes available on Quizalize there really is no excuse as to why a student could not study for an assessment. In rare cases I may have a student who does not have access to a computer. In those cases, I either find a way for them to get access to a computer or I go to the “edit” section of one of my quizzes that display the questions and answers and just print them out.
During parent conferences, if a student is struggling with assessments, I remind the parent that students have access to Quizalize. If the student tries to pull one over on the teacher or their parent by saying they use it when they in fact don’t, it is easy for you to view that class to see if the student is taking the time to use Quizalize to study. If the student is not using it, then you now have a record of it. It is unfortunate that teachers sometimes need to use Quizalize to catch lies, but sometimes that is the world we live in. I have rarely had to look into Quizalize to prove someone wrong, but I am glad that there is that layer of protection if I need it.
About the Author
John Heeg (Twitter: @dpmrheeg) earned his undergraduate degree in Sociology/Anthropology with a minor in Secondary Education in 2000 from Dowling College, Oakdale, NY, and holds permanent certification in Social Studies from grades 7-12. He then went on to receive his Masters Degree in 2006 from Touro College in Special Education and a Post-Graduate certificate in School Administration from Stony Brook University in 2009. John began his teaching career at the Lenox Academy in Canarsie, Brooklyn where he taught English Language Arts and Social Studies for grades 6-8. In 2003, he began teaching 8th grade Social Studies in the Deer Park School District where he has held the role of a Mentor for first year teachers, Mentor Coordinator, and a Teacher Leader for the 8th grade Social Studies Department.