Extempore's 2022-2023 Back to School Newsletter
Summers at Extempore are a bit unusual. With most schools and teachers out of commission until early August, direct interaction with teachers and students slows down. Incoming help requests are rare (our customer service superhero Abbai tells me the number of request halves during the summer), and full department product demonstrations are pushed to the fall months. Still, there are no summers off at Extempore (okay, so I just got back from vacation last week, and I might be going on another in two weeks — I’ve earned it too!) Indeed, for those of us behind the curtain, life does not stop. Quite the contrary, in fact: It ramps up.
You see, as soon as one year ends, we at Extempore need to prepare for the coming year. This entails, among other tasks, hosting professional development opportunities, writing and creating new content, and of course adding new updates to the Extempore platform, all of which we have been very busy with in the past two months. Below, we share those projects with you.
Whether you (have) spent your summer lounging by the pool, hanging out with your children or friends, attending PD, working on a side hustle, or some combination of all of those, we hope you’ve been able to unwind, recharge, and feel refreshed for the school year ahead. With that said, here’s what you need to know going into the new school year.
Our 2022 PD Extravaganza
From July 18th to the 22nd, we hosted our second annual PD Extravaganza, a bonanza of professional development, a spectacle of SLA pedagogy, and a plethora of proficiency, all in one week’s time. This event featured workshops, presentations and discussions on relevant topics in world language pedagogy, led by top instructors, researchers and professionals in the field.
Safe to say it was a success:
To access the full schedule, slide decks, and other resources, click here. To view workshop and session recordings, head on over to our YouTube channel (slides and other handouts can be accessed via video descriptions).
New product updates!
From assessment enhancements to new sharing functionalities, we have quite a few platform updates to share with you for this year.
Our New Gradebook
After over a year of design, testing, beta-ing, and refinements, our new gradebook is ready to roll. Now you can view student responses, leave feedback, score submissions, and view grades for your classes all on one page. Watch the video below for more.
Note: with the implementation of our new gradebook, legacy grading (also called the 'grading tab') will be phased out in the first few months of the fall.
On our assessment database Extempore Commons, available for all users, you can find the exact assessment you need for your pupils, filtering by variables like language, mode of communication, or assessment type. Sometimes, however, school districts and other institutions wish that their department-wide assessments be private but still accessible for their teachers. Enter Organization Commons on Extempore.
With your organization's commons, you can access and upload your institution's (or your own) assessments to a commons library accessible to only teachers within your organization. Watch the video below to see how it works.
Read more about organizational commons here.
Assessment Statuses + Status Filters
Scroll through your list of assessments and immediately see which are active, scheduled, past due, or in draft mode with helpful color coding. Then, filter your assessments by status to narrow down which assessments display at a given time. Watch the video below to see how it works.
Read more here.
Multiple Response Types Per Assessment
It used to be on Extempore that for each assessment you created, only one response type was possible (well, two technically if you count multiple choice): audio, video, or text. No longer! With this update, instructors can combine multiple response types per assessment, allowing you to create comprehensive measurements of learning across multiple modes of communication. Watch the video below for more.
Accommodate Students with Extra-Time
Instructors can use timing parameters on Extempore to elicit spontaneous speech from their students. But sometimes, some students need just a bit more time than others. With this feature, instructors can provide extended time for students with accommodations or anyone else who may need it. Watch the video to see how you can configure extra time on all timed assessments for each student.
Read more about extended time settings here.
Are there any updates / features that we missed? Consider submitting suggestions and improvements to our ideas portal.
Resources for you
That PD Extravaganza we mentioned above? There's plenty to pore through in our recordings, including
- Ways to implement a more task-centered approach in your classroom
- Using real-world tasks on Extempore
- Create more opportunities for authentic interpersonal speaking
- Level-up your Extempore skills with creative assessments and interpersonal follow-ups
- A primer on the past, present, and future of world language teaching
View all the sessions in our playlist on YouTube.
If you're a newcomer to our site and platform, welcome! I recently made some new video walkthroughs demonstrating the platform, hosted on our Extempore Bites YouTube channel. See one below on getting started with the platform.
Finally, if you are looking for some new ideas for input-based assessments on Extempore, read up on two of our latest blogs, on listening and reading assessments.
A PD Extravaganza, a flurry of new updates, and a host of practical resources to kickstart yourself back into school-mode. No matter where you are or what you teach, we hope it's a year full of comprehension, communication, and fun in your classroom.