What does it mean?
There’s a wide range of technology designed to assist feedback and questioning in the classroom. Used well, these devices and apps can give teachers access to the thinking (and mistakes) of a whole class at once, allowing them to swiftly intervene and adjust the direction of the lesson. They are many examples to explore:
- Online polling sites: if students have access to a tablet or phone they can respond to a (usually multiple-choice question) instantly and anonymously. Try: Poll Everywhere.
- Online quizzing: great for a quick knowledge recap, starter or plenary. Try: Quizlet or Kahoot.
- Plickers: Allows teachers to capture a QR code response (‘A, B, C or D’) from each student, thereby eliminating the need for every student to have their own tech.
What are the implications for teachers?
There are two areas to explore:
- The in-class response – using student answers to guide your teaching
- The data analysis that some tools offer, which helps you to generate data over time.
Ensure that the use of technology does not interfere with the learning or take longer than the usual activity; these strategies are only effective if they add to students’ understanding of a concept or topic. This means you need to practise.
Check your school policy about devices and its resources: Plickers is an example where only the teacher needs a device, but other examples rely on every student having their own. Ideally tablets and other devices should be provided by the school or there would be a well-established ‘BYOD’ approach supported by appropriate guidance.
If students are using their own devices, establish clear rules and routines, and practise little and often. This creates an atmosphere of learning and trust. Also check your tech: make sure everything is working before the lesson starts so you aren’t left without an activity!