Monday, November 12, 2007

Quiz Builders and Subscriptions

Last week I did a blitz of training in Marion County for netTrekker. I am always amazed at what we find in training and the uses the teachers come up with. A small group of us had a discussion about the Saved Search feature verses bookmarking sites with Del.ic.ious or another program. The general thoughts were that the sites from netTrekker were educational and teacher approved and by using the Saved Search Feature they have a secure way of sharing the links with their students, with the ability to edit the descriptions to turn the save search into a "Web Hunt".
One of the features of the Saved Searches is to add a website that may or may not be in netTrekker. Great way to add on a site that you found in another search later or to add a site that is not currently in netTrekker. One example I often use is a quiz on the same topic. Normally we then look at adding a lesson or quiz from Discovery Streaming (formally unitedstreaming), but Marion County does not have this service. So it was time to look at others.
The first one that came to mind was Discovery School's, but it is not available. I'm told that they are revamping it for security purposes. I'm hoping it will still be free, but we'll see. The next one was's QuizStar. This use to be free, but I guess federal funding is bare minimum and so they are now charging after a 60 day free trial. The price is not too bad, only $35.88 for an individual teacher. It's pretty affordable (unless you're one of the WAY underpaid Hernando County teachers who make on average $10,000 less than their neighbors). There are other pricing options for groups and districts to make it even more affordable. But if you're going to pay $900 for a Quiz Program, why not look at adding that $900 to another program and get a lot more for your money.
There are other possibilities out there. One is to use a tool like Zoomerang to create a "survey". It won't grade your quiz for you, but it is interesting to use in the classroom. Another that's more of a profile tool that would be great to use for organizing groups is ProfilerPro. Another option is the Quiz Lab from Teacher Vision. The prices start around $40 a year for one user. Teacher Vision use to have a great product, but I'm not sure what they are like now adays. They are from Pearson, which might be a plus or a con for some. No opinion here.
If you're a Moodler, then you have options there as well. However, I wonder how our every day teachers who are not into the tools that you have so much control over like Moodle feel about this option. Of course, it's a free tool, you just have to find a space to host it.
What are some other options that I'm overlooking?

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