Classroom technology is digitizing the way we teach. A Student Response System is a way to create interactivity between the teacher and students in class.
- Think about the handheld remotes (clickers) used in the game show, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” when the audiences are voting in their answers.
- Now think about that in the classroom where a teacher asks a question (multiple-choice or short answer) and students respond.
Teachers have several options when considering a student response system. Recently, I played around with Poll Everywhere which got me thinking about how it compared to other student engagement tools.
I first saw Poll Everywhere – in action at a technology presentation for teachers and educators.
- The presenter used the cloud-based service to ask questions to the audience.
- It’s got potential. Basically, it’s a clicker system that lets teachers ask questions online and then students can vote in their answers using their own cell phone (SMS text message), or any device connected to the internet (i.e. smart phones, laptops, desktops, etc.)
- Poll Everywhere is trying to market itself to the K-12 education community as a free student response system.
Having used clickers, Twitter, and Poll Everywhere in the classroom to get student participation and engagement, I’m excited by what you can do with Poll Everywhere. As long as your students have a way to access the online poll.
This is a three part series on Using a Student Response System in the classroom comparing 1) twitter, 2) clickers, and 3) Poll Everywhere as ways to get responses from your students in real time. The series was dicatated using Dragon NaturallySpeaking with a word dictation accuracy of 98.1%.
Student Response System: Thinking about Twitter as a Classroom Collaboration Tool
Most people don’t think of Twitter as a Student Response System, but it could be. A Student Response System (or Audience Response system) is a way of creating interactivity in the traditional classroom. Typically, we’re looking at assessment when we think Student Response System and of course, there’s no way to download test question responses or mark multiple choice questions using Twitter, but…
- Twitter is a robust online social media tool.
- Teachers could ask a question and then have students tweet responses.
- You can still mark the student comments (just as you would if you asked the class to write their comments onto a piece of paper or post-it note.)
Two years ago, I used twitter as a classroom collaboration tool to deconstruct commercials that we viewed online. (Students used private, generic class twitter accounts created by the teacher.)
Twitter was great. The 140 character limit forced students to be concise in expressing themselves. You could also view the conversation as it happened, or you could click on a specific class twitter account to see what that student said in the conversation.
The problem with twitter is that, of course, it’s not designed or marketed toward schools. There’s no easy way to create or manage multiple class twitter accounts. Also, there are no moderation features so it’s hard to keep out inappropriate student comments from your feed. Your school board may block the Twitter website as well.
Some students preferred the twitter conversation because it was easier to follow our brainstorm in the twitter feed (as opposed to a similar lesson that we did using Google Docs) . Twitter is a linear timeline and you can go forwards and backwards in the conversation see what people said, but you can’t jump around like you can when you’re collaborating in a Google doc. Imagine having your entire class sitting around a single word processing document and the chaos that happens when they’re all trying to edit in the same paragraph.
Some students got frustrated with brainstorming using Google Docs because in Google Docs, other students can edit or delete your ideas in real time (accidentally or intentionally.) With twitter, you can see someone’s tweet, and you can tweet a response, but you can’t go in and delete their tweets or throw in your two cents before their comments.
I wouldn’t go back to twitter again as an online brainstorming tool for the classroom.
- A neat experiment, but account management is a nightmare.
- Instead, I’d look at setting up a class blog using WordPress and then finding a way to limit student responses to 140 characters. There must be a plug-in for that.
- Having said that, I do have a (under used) class twitter account. I know several teachers who use Twitter as a communication/social media tool to network with parents and other teachers out there. Something to think about.
Stay tuned. Next time, we’ll look at using clickers as a student response system in the K-12 classroom.
This 3 part series on Using a Student Response System in the Classroom was written using Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11.5 Premium Wireless. What is Dragon NaturallySpeaking?
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