March 5, 2014
This post first appeared on Free Technology for Teachers.
Subtext and Tellagami are two amazing free apps that can expand the way you discover information about each student’s reading comprehension. By using their combined power, students can produce and publish valuable information about their reading comprehension to help their teachers better understand them as learners.
First, begin with the Subtext App. Subtext is a collaborative reading app – also available a online at Subtext.com – that allows students to collaboratively read together. After you have downloaded the app, sign in using either a Gmail or Edmodo account. Once inside the app, you can search for an informational text or short story and add that selection to a “Group” as explained in the video tutorial below.
Students join the group and read the material – whether it be an eBook, web article, or even a PDF document. Teachers can populate the reading with discussion questions as well as other formative assessments like multiple choice questions. This allows the students to work in a collaborative reading environment where they can work together toward a richer comprehension experience. Instead of reading alone, students have the opportunity to discuss their reading together, and teachers can use their discussions and responses as a rich formative assessment tool. One amazing feature of subtext, is that it allows you to add into the reading videos and images that help the student visualize the text. The Common Core asks that teachers add visuals to texts and Subtext makes this easy to accomplish. See example below.
Once students have commented on and finished the reading assignment in Subtext, it is time to switch apps and complete one additional step. This involves having students make a summative recording of the reading that they just completed. One of the great features of recording an additional segment is the ability to have students explain the main idea of the reading in an articulate and easy to understand way – a speaking literacy that teachers often have trouble finding time to include. This additional step also allows teachers to gather valuable information about each student’s reading comprehension. To complete this step, students describe the reading using a recording platform that captures their ideas quickly and easily. In this case, I have chosen Tellegami – a recording app that generates a video of an avatar repeating the recorded ideas of the learner. Here is an example of a summary paragraph using a Tellagami.
After the students have finished these steps, they can share their final product with the teacher by email or by uploading the Tellagami generated video to their Google Drive account and sharing that with the teacher. Teachers now have two ways that they can gain valuable information about student reading comprehension. Together these two apps provide rich information about how the student is doing with reading comprehension.