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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dropbox

So, I've been wondering where I have been for the past year-and-a-half. I recently found the program Dropbox from dropbox.com. This is one of the best programs that I have found. It basically creates a folder on your computer where you can store files and then share them with other users of Dropbox.

I created a folder and shared it with my collaboration group this last Monday. They were all pretty excited about it as well. I had created some keyboarding tests for my students in ExamView and some ExamView tests that I use in eInstruction's CPS software (for clickers). They were pretty excited to see that once I saved a file in my folder, it was copied to their folder immediately. We arranged for some other files to be added by the other teachers in our collaboration group. It is a pretty good piece of software.

One thing I really like about the software is that it actually copies the files to your computer. It doesn't just link the folder to an internet website. If our network goes down at our school I will still have access to the files. One of the members of our group has really gone wild with the files were are using. She has started fixing some of my errors on the questions and has come up with the idea to have review questions after every lesson in MicroType. Diane, you rock!

We are having our evaluation this year of our collaboration group and we will be showcasing Dropbox as one of our tools we have started using for our group. Also, this next Friday we will be having our professional development day with the teachers at our school. Glen Westbroek and I will be presenting on ExamView, but we also have discussed about showing teachers in our school how Dropbox works. I think this is a great tool to help collaboration.

If you are a computer teacher or keyboarding teacher and want to join our collaboration group, you can e-mail me, we would love to have more people in our group.

First IC3 Certifications This Year

Wahoo!!!!! I had two of my students from last semester come in and pass the last exams to become IC3 certified! I am totally stoked about this (if you couldn't tell). I also had a few students pass some of the other IC3 exams on their way to become certified.

I attribute this to the new Global Standard 3 (GS3) that Certiport has created. The questions seem better and the passing score has been lowered. I noticed the lower score for the Key Applications exam when I had my new semester of students take the real exam as a Pre-Test. I had three students pass it without any instructions. When the first student passed it (AV--these are the initials of the student so I don't give out information about a minor) I looked at the test results and it said the student had passed it. The student recieved an 800, which was good enough to also pass the previous version of the test (750 was the previous passing score). Then I looked at the required score to pass the exam. It was down to 680. I was shocked. Then the other two students (JM and KT) then also passed the exam. I was very impressed with all three students, although I wasn't really shocked. I've had these students before and they are pretty smart.

So, I decided to contact Certiport to find out what the passing scores are now. I was basically told that passing rate can change depending on how many questions are available in the testing pool, but it is roughly at about 70% give or take 5%. So, my interpretation would be about 650-750 depending on the amount of questions in the testing pool. This is awesome news! I believe that more students will be able to pass the exams with this standard. Not that the exams have now been made so that anyone can pass it. Students will still need more training, but I think it iwll be easier.

I've gone into the other two exams and found that their passing scores at this time are 710 for the Computer Technology and 660 for the Living Online exam. Of course from what I understand those scores might change here and there.

So, I am having my students from the first semester come in once a week during our Flex time so I can help them until they can pass the exams. One student had passed the Key Applications and Computing Fundamentals exams for the 2007 standard. This student (KD) took the Living Online exam for the GS3 and passed it. Then, another student (BS) took and passed the Computing Fundamentals exam. This student had passed the Key Applications exam for the 2007 standard. This student then came in after school and passed the Living Online exam.

I also had a great experience with my current 9th-graders that I blogged about on my class blog. I can't wait until Monday to see how much my students have learned. Stay tuned!