How to Make Interactive Assignments for the Online Classroom

How to Make Interactive Assignments for the Online Classroom

Knowmia allows you to combine video clips with questions and slides to create truly interactive and engaging student assignments. It is my new favorite online teaching resource that nicely complements the time I spend teaching in the WizIQ Virtual Classroom.

Knowmia allows teachers to use simple drop and drag technology to create educational slide shows that pause and allow the teachers to ask comprehension questions.

The possibilities are endless. Check out this instructional lesson I made about the word, FLOCCINAUCINIHILIPILIFICATION.

Note: You will have to create an account before you can access the assignment, but it is worth it! I made this in about an hour and it was way more fun than “work” should be.

Here is a lesson made by Knowmia as a sample US History Assignment.

Here is a sample Chemistry Lesson.

What is so wonderful about this tool is its ability to walk your students through ideas in a way that can reinforce the teaching that you do in the online classroom (or in any classroom). When used in conjunction with WizIQ, students can have many different entry points into an idea.

Why Create Interactive Assignments

Research has shown that online learning is different from classroom learning. The minds of the students wander more easily. Interacting with the teachers, even in live online classes, is simply more difficult than it is in person. Daniel Schacter, and Karl Szpunar, researchers from Harvard, found that “by interspersing online lectures with short tests, student mind-wandering decreased by half, note-taking tripled, and overall retention of the material improved.” Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. and shared in the Harvard Gazette. This means that in the online classroom, using the poll questions, chat box and emoticons to frequently assess student comprehension is essential. They found that “It’s not sufficient for a lecture to be short or to break up a lecture as we did in these experiments,” Schacter said. “You need to have the testing. Just breaking it up and allowing them to do something else, even allowing them to re-study the material, does nothing to cut down on mind-wandering, and does nothing to improve final test performance. The testing is the critical component.” When flipping your classroom, have the students watch videos won’t cut it. Keeping the video segments small and questioning the students about the material is essential.

In the WizIQ virtual classroom, it is easy to stop and check in with the students. Outside of the classroom, Knowmia makes it easy.

What you need to Create Your Assignment

A video that supports your lesson: You can easily make your own video by following these instructions. It is really not that hard. Furthermore, when you create your own videos, it helps your students to “know” you. You can convey your sense of humor, warmth and passion for the subject. That said, there are many videos available on YouTube and in the Knowmia library that are ready for you and cover every subject imaginable.

Several images that support your lesson: These can be from any source. If you are working for a commercial website, you have to worry about copyright laws. However, if you are only making videos for your class, you need not worry about them. Pictures are easy to upload into Knowmia and help to break up the monotony of text.

An idea about the questions that you want to ask: It is easy enough to compose the questions when you are already logged into Knowmia, so no need to have any more than a few thoughts when you login. You can make the questions multiple choice, essay, or fill in the blank.

-It is easy to share your assignment once it is created

Assignments can be shared with a link to the page or the can be embedded into a class website or blog. I usually do both. There will be no excuse for not doing your homework.

How to Get Started

The Knowmia account is free! You simply create an account and start to create. Bring your online teaching to Web 3.0 with WizIQ and Knowmia.


I am a teacher, hiker, mother, dancer and home-maker. I have taught pre-school through SAT prep. I am exploring ways to create on-line learning communities for home-schooled middle school and high school students. In particular, I am starting a low-residency on-line middle school. I would like to help young people explore important ideas while enjoying their lives! You can learn more about my programs at www.onlineclassesforgroovykids.org.

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