The Web 2.0 Software I have chosen to review is Yacapaca!
1. Short description of the Web 2.0 application or open source software application
Yacapaca! is a website that teachers can use to create, execute, grade and share assessments for students.
2. Describe the target audience for this software.
This application is aimed at both teachers and their students. Teachers prepare surveys and assessments, and the students take them.
3. What is the purpose of the software? How does it work?
Teachers can use the software to design tests, quizzes and surveys for their students. You can also store and share your assessments for others to use, or you can access other people’s work. In order to create your own assessments, however, you need to join authoring groups. So far I was only able to discover how to create assessments using existing questions. I didn’t see any way to write my own questions.
4. Describe the user interface. Is it easy or difficult to use? Why or why not?
The user interface is fairly straightforward. When you first log in you can add the students who can access your assessments, or grant access to students who are already registered on Yacapaca! When you register as a teacher they e-mail you a PDF with basic instructions, but even without it it’s pretty easy to figure out. There’s even an introductory group where teachers can practice creating assessments and editing questions.
5. Technical requirements. Does it work on Windows, Apple and Linux? Are there minimum memory requirements, software that needs to be installed?
It is entirely a web based application that does not require installing any software. The only memory requirements are those for the browser and for Shockwave. It works on Windows, Apple and Linux.
It works in Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. It is almost entirely Shockwave Flash based, and does not require any other plugins.
7. What are the strengths of this software application?
The application allows teachers to assign homework and give quizzes or surveys that their students can access paperlessly. It grades the assessment and provides the student with instant feedback, and saves the teacher having to take the time. It provides the teacher with a number of ways of viewing the data.
8. What are the weaknesses of this software application?
Despite spending a lot of time navigating the website, I was unable to discover a way to write my own questions. While there are numerous questions stored in the site, as well as existing assessments, I would like to be able to write my own questions. In addition, it is a British site, so our students might have some difficulty with syntax and spelling differences. Lastly, not all of our students have internet access at home.
9. Provide at least three examples of how you might use this in your science teaching.
1. I could give my students a survey to assess prior knowledge, or see where their interests lie.
2. I could put together homework assignments for the students to complete and get instant feedback on.
3. If I had internet access in my classroom I could use it to design tests or quizzes that I would not have to take the time to grade.
10. Include any tips for science teachers.
Because this is a British site the questions have not been prepared with NYS Regents standards in mind. Teachers should make sure to model their assessments after the Regents Exam.