Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Who I am NOT!

I have several friends, some of whom are teachers, who think I am some sort of technological genius. I tell them excitedly about something new that I have learned how to do with googledocs, or camtasia, or about a conversation I had on twitter, and they just say, "Oh Audrey, you are such a technological genius!"  Then they shake their heads, chuckle affectionately, and stop listening to me.


But I so want them to listen to me. Because of the fact that I am NOT a technological genius. There are many, many people out there who are WAY smarter than me, and who have figured out how to do all this really cool stuff, and what's more, they love to tell people about it, for free! And because of those people, look at what I, NOT a technological genius, can do!


This week's new thing I learned how to do:

Like for example, after last week's epic victory for one of my flipped classes that I felt was slipping away from me, I decided that one improvement to my whole modus operandi would be to give quick quizlets that would give me and the kids instant, online feedback. When neither explorelearning's gizmos nor khanacademy's practice questions covered exactly what I wanted, I realized it was time to make my own, using the assessment templates made available to the world at the blog of Andy Schwen. One of those really smart people I was talking about.

And here it is, my first attempt! If you're not sure what this is about, the quickest way to find out is to try the quizlet yourself. If you are willing to input your actual email address, then you'll get to see what the students see when they do this. Don't worry about getting anything wrong, it doesn't count! For "first name, last name" just put any name you want, and don't worry about "hour" either. Just make sure you click submit after you've selected your answers, then check your email. For the most interesting email, make sure you get at least one wrong, trust me.

If you did this, you should have received an email, from me, that looks something like this, which is the one I got when I did it, pretending to be one of my own students:

You should see the score, the questions that you got wrong, and an explanation.
(Once I really get going with this, the name and the hour will matter, because that's how you can give the same quiz to different classes, in whatever school year you want.)

Now for the real payoff....inspiration!

I know my questions and my explanations are rudimentary and not terribly deep. But I already have ideas of how to improve on it: instead of text explanations, a link to a better explanation on the web, and instead of text questions and answers, ones with pictures in them..... and I can't wait to try it out - how many people do you know who feel that way about their job?

Which is the real reason I want my friends to listen to me. They are missing out on so much, all because of the misperception that you have to be a technological genius to do this. They think I actually know how it all works! I'm pretty sure Andy Schwen would be able to set them straight on poor Andy knows all too well, I needed a lot of hand-holding, but with his help, I did it, which means anyone can! His instructions are amazing and easy to follow. And there are a lot of people out there who offer the same thing to the world - their own expertise and help, for FREE!
To my friends who don't listen to me: You owe it to yourself to try this, or SOMETHING! But don't listen to me because you think I am a technological genius, listen to me because I am NOT!


  1. You are a genius though, Audrey! Lucky for us, you are a risk-taker too, and you are willing to share about the risks you take so that these new ideas won't be as scary for the next person. Thank you.

  2. Aw, thanks Dianne! Am not! I just work for an organization that lets people follow their instincts, and then supports them 100%. Thank YOU!

  3. Audrey--thanks for the mention here. And to set the record straight even further my work is dependent on learning from others as well. The email function I got from a French programmer, Romain Vialard, who freely shared his work on the Google Scripts library. Always good to read your reflections, thanks for posting.

  4. You're welcome, Andy. I bet if we look closely enough, everyone's stuff came from someone/somewhere else!