Online Testing – Generating Unique Tests per Student

Most online learning management systems have quiz creation tools with unique settings on them to insure unique test generations per student; consequently, online teachers can deliver unique instances of their tests or quizzes to their students so that cheating possibilities are limited.  These capabilities are allowing instructors to rethink the test taking time in more traditional settings also and many teachers in hybrid and on campus courses are beginning to set up quizzes and tests for remote test taking too.  If you are planning upon implementing this strategy in your course, make sure that you implement some of the most common settings of your quiz tool in your course management system.

One important feature setting is simply time.  Setting the timer for a student who takes your test is important.  By limiting the time a student may be involved with your test, you are forcing the student to be well prepared with the knowledge prior to taking your test.  Do not be lenient with this time as you can make exceptions for individual needs by allowing special access for an individual or letting another individual retake the test if needed.

Additionally most learning management systems allow you to randomize quiz question answers and quiz question order.  Because these systems just need you to specify a correct answer, you can manipulate the test engine to produce a random order of questions and a random order of question answers per question of an individualized student test.  For example, student A could have question 1 with answer B as correct, but student B would have that same question appear as question 9 with answer C as correct.  The power of computing gets harnessed when these settings are applied, and students will have to concentrate upon their own test and own test answers instead of their friend’s test.

Furthermore most course management system quiz tools are allowing you to take a set of questions from a pool of questions.  Which means that you are able to create unique sets of questions based upon many questions of the same value.  Many teachers are combining textbook questions with their own personalized questions and they are finding that they have too many questions for a test.  Consequently, if valued properly a teacher could have the computer select a set of questions from that pool of questions.  For example, two students could receive different questions or some partially different questions on a test instance that selects ten questions from a pool of twenty questions.

With all of the above solutions applied, you can begin to see how a test could be unique per student.  A student could have a unique set of questions in a unique order with unique answer orders that have to be completed in a limited amount of time.  Thus eliminating reasons for students to even try to collaborate on your exam because there are too many factors that would create false or antiproductive cheating scenarios.  For further information or more detailed examples please feel free to email me directly upon this topic.  I like the way computer science can be applied to test questions, tests, and test settings to create a unique environment that gets graded automatically.

Next time, I will discuss creating unique projects for your students to lower the chances of cheating.  It is all in the language that you use, the expectations that you created, and the objectives of the assignment.


LGTV 32LD550

This past week my LG TV just froze at the startup screen.  After doing a little research with LG, youtube, and other frustrated customers, I found that the motherboard/circuit board needed repair.  There were various repair shops that wanted my business, but the cost of fixing, the fear of being taken advantage of, and the doubt of extended life were high in my mind.  Consequently, I tried a few things on my own.

The first which seemed logical was to open up the TV and investigate the circuitry.  Now if you have never worked with hardware before then I would not recommend opening up a TV, but because I had some basic experience building a computer and teaching students how to build computers I figured I could at least open it up and look at it.  To my surprise and delight I found that the TV circuit board was in great shape with no signs of burnout.  Consequently, I decided to disconnect all the wires, push a little button that looked like a reset button, and then reconnect the TV.  Upon turning it on again, I realized that did not work.  Sad, angry, and confused, I pushed on.

I kept searching on the web for an answer.  Finally I found what I was looking for at ( ).  Zedic recommended that baking a board would resolder bad connections.  I thought it was crazy until I read all the responses and researched how other computer hardware gurus had done the same thing with their older motherboards.  It began to make sense as the connections could have cracked or had air pockets.  So as a last resort I reopened the TV, carefully removed the circuit board, wrapped it in tin foil (as not to destroy our oven), baked it following the directions at Zedic, let it cool, inserted it, and then to my surprise everything worked.  I mean it really worked.  I danced, created a rap song, and was able to use my tv again.

Now I don’t know how long it will last, but at least I did not pay an absurd fee to get it repaired and I am extending the value of my original TV which should last longer than four years.  So why am I writing about this on this website called Absolutely Learning?  Well this is exactly the type of learning that needs to happen in our schools.  We need to create problem solving opportunities.  While I am not a fan of LG TV right now for its product, I do think there is something that can be learned in this.  No this is not a good business model, but yes this is a good learning scenario for life.  Absolutely Learning lives on once again.

Hour of Code

Although I have been busy with a new position in instructional design for online education at a community college, I want to continue to add educational technology posts at this site and keep you posted of great ideas out there.  As a part time developer of educational apps for the iPad and iPhone (iOS platform) and as a coder of Objective C, SpriteKit, Cocoa Touch, and many other Frameworks, it would not have been possible to have released my apps on the App Store at Apple without studying computer programming. There are many applications of computer programming in today’s world as you will see in the video.  I hope this Hour of Code Video inspires you to consider using their materials in your classroom or at the very least to promote these services to your students.

EDTEC Thoughts for Dedicated Readers and EDTEC Enthusiasts


English: Costco in Moncton, New BrunswickThese past two months have been complicated with job interviews, conferences, clients, and iOS7 application development, and I missed the mark in regards to writing on a weekly basis.  In efforts to sincerely apologize, I want to give you an easy list of top ten current thoughts for the past two months this Spring of 2014.  This is for my dedicated readers of this blog and other educational technology enthusiasts.  As always this list is full of my professional observations and opinions.

1.  Windows 8.1 computers that are purchased at Costco are a great choice to recommend as they have been well-tested.  I have set up two of these computers recently for clients.  One was an HP All in One, and the other was an HP Laptop.  Clients were satisfied with price, functionality, and touch screen.

2.  Based upon years of experience, I believe that Apple Computer products in schools will run more efficiently with less need for maintenance than a PC Environment.  While I believe in great computers whether PC or MAC, I believe there will be less cost on maintenance and repair in an Apple campus, and I believe those savings will outweigh the initial startup costs of Apple products.  Students, Faculty, Parents, and Support Staff are usually happier too as they can spend more time on the creative learning and application to subject matter.

3.  I had the pleasure of testing Lenovo laptops at a recent conference, and they are well worth considering for PC users and PC organizations. Look at the Lenovo Yoga and the Lenovo Thinkpad series.  I don’t believe they are sold at Costco, but they have great deals for educators at their site.  If you have never heard of Lenovo then just remember that it is the old IBM brand.

4.  3D printing has great applications to the modern classroom for science, mathematics, architecture, and sculpting.  I would suggest that schools invest in a 3D printer and that they find ways to use it in their curriculum.

5.  Blogging is here to stay, and it is a great record for student portfolios.  They can be made private, public, or in combinations to be shared with educators, scholarship advisers, donors, admissions representatives, and select users if privacy is a concern.

6.  I hope you have heard of Google Apps for education, and I hope you have explored and One Drive from Microsoft.  Both of these organizations are offering a great way to create, store, access anywhere, and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.  There are free versions for individuals and better free versions for educational communities.  Most people who are familiar with MS Office will be happy with One Drive.

7.  Robotics is a great program to support, teach, and advise, and students can participate in competitions with big rewards.  Get Started Today!

8.  Computer programming jobs will continue to be available in the future as hardware technologies improve and as consumers demand the ease of product usage.  Why we don’t teach more computer programming in our schools is beyond my comprehension.  The students with computer programming backgrounds will be able to develop their ideas into prototypes in the future that will bring about new business for the US and the world.

9.  I am still going to have a shameless plug for Zoombla, a math app for ages 8 and above.  It is definitely not Zombie Math, but it will definitely force students to use and practice math skills.  It also encourages face to face competition so that students are still communicating and using real time social skills in the classroom.  Zoombla – Matt Moore

10.  An entire generation uses facetime, skype, and gaming devices such as the Xbox and Wii to video conference daily, yet I still see a lot of schools not using video conferencing for educational purposes.  Teachers should reach out to real time meetings with subject matter experts, authors, universities, and or other schools in distant locations.  Why not?  Isn’t collaboration a 21st century skill?

Have a great Spring!  Perhaps I will find time to elaborate in the future.  As always I appreciate your comments, suggestions, and advice.

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Parents and Teachers, do you understand your wireless router configurations?

I recently posted a comment on Facebook about the fact that I am currently limiting the router Internet access so that my son is not using the Internet after hours via his plethora of computer wireless devices.  I posted something to the fact that my son was upset with the fact that I turn off his access from 9:30 pm until 8:00 am the next day and that he was calling me unfair and unreasonable.  My friends who are parents and teachers obviously commented positively, and because that Facebook post generated significant response I decided to elaborate upon this blog post.

So I am asking you, Parent or Teacher, do you know how to edit your router settings?

Most people have told me that they have a password for security, and understand the formats of login security.  However, there are other levels of access that you can restrict on your router too.  For example,  my Belkin router has a setting for scheduling when access is available and that is an easy way for parents and teachers to set a time that occurs every day for all participants on your network, but what if you want to simply disable your children’s or students’ access?  There is a way for you to continue to use your network while the children are forced offline.

To do this you need to better understand MAC addresses which are unique identifiers for each device that connects to your router.  These are predetermined numbers like a serial number, and they can be entered into a MAC address filtering service that only allows those devices to connect to your network.  Then you can simply restrict or allow specific devices at certain times of the day.  While this is not usually automatic (depends on your router) it does allow you to manually configure usage so you can continue your work after hours or limit the child student access when bandwidth is being absorbed by their games, videos, face time and music.

I thoroughly enjoy the fact that my son has access on so many devices for studies, research, communication, and even gaming.  However, we all know that too much time on these devices can detract from overall academic performance, social skills, and sleep time.  Today, I don’t worry anymore about my son contacting others after bed time.  I have even noticed that he gets better sleep now.  Yes, they will not like it at times, but it is fun when you can count down the seconds before your child will lose access.  It also eliminates those times when children say they are not on the Internet but they really are.

If you would like any more information on how to configure your router or if you need an expert to do that service for you, please contact me at for further information.  Local SOCAL homes can be serviced, and it might be possible to work remotely upon some routers.


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Zoombla for Teachers

AppIcon120Zoombla a math game for students and adults, was designed with upper elementary students in mind; however, after the release at the iTunes App Store Absolutely Learning is discovering that older students and adults are finding it enjoyable for increasing math facts speed, sharpening the mind, and competing with others and other generations.  While there has been no official study that this game increases memory and attention, it would be interesting to get feedback from an independent study on various age groups to see if it has the same added effect as the games from organizations such as lumosity.

For teachers and parents, it is suggested that Zoombla be implemented as a stand alone game station or as a game of two or more players. For the stand alone game station, teachers could record the games completed during the class time allotted or simply let the students play a math game.  In the competitive mode of two or more players playing head to head on separate devices, students could keep score in a variety of ways.  One goal is to score all different types operands used, and another is to use as few cards as possible.  A third goal could be the number of games completed for a specific set of time such as five or ten minutes.  As the game has been known to get a little competitive it is also suggested that students of like math abilities compete as there is not timer only a beep upon completing a match.

Zoombla Solve 2 Screen shot Nov 17, 2013, 10.23.45 PMAbsolutely Learning also wants to let its readers know that the current version was specifically created for the iPhone and iPod running iOS7, but it does run on the iPad too.  AL is currently developing a different version for the iPad to take full advantage of its unique dimensions and capabilities but currently the program runs on all devices.  There will also be updates as user feedback and suggestions are analyzed and implemented.

Absolutely Learning designs, develops, and maintains creative educational technology solutions for digital, blended, and traditional learning environments. Among many projects for various clients, AL has created SMARTBOARD lessons, designed creative materials for Spanish teachers, developed computer science lessons, produced educational technology projects, trained Moodle users, hosted on-line learning systems, and tailored multimedia projects for schools and other clients.

Band of Brothers

Sometimes, you do not need to be too original to find a great story.  In appreciate of Veteran’s Day, CBS ran a story about a musical group called the Band of Brothers, and while I am sure the great HBO series Band of Brothers comes to mind first this group is indeed real and worth your listening.  These real veterans who are coping with post war stress are finding that learning music helps them find renewed strength in every day life.  Most vets in this group are new to music and are overcoming physical obstacles from the war in order to create great music with big names such as Roger Waters from Pink Floyd.  It is truly a blessing to hear, and I recommend that you observe how music and the teaching and learning of it is transforming these wonderful people.  Music does heal.

My message for the week has once again been interrupted by the calendar and the greatness of Americans to find a reason to help others.  I am pausing to honor the day, and I am appreciative of what my relatives, friends, and your friends have done for our country.  It is definitely worth our respect and reflection, and I hope you take the time to pause and reflect too.

Next week, I will be back to an educational technology message, and guess what?  I am almost done with my first educational app for the iPhone.  I might even have a chance to release it this week.  I will keep you posted about what I have learned from iTunes U, great Objective-C books, google searches, and Apple’s developer resources.