By Susan Forrest
I learned yet another term for this generation of students. Generation C. Anytime they talk about “this generation” I am automatically drawn in. How can we engage “this generation” of students? However, Generation C is not an age group, but a group of “Constantly connected, curators of content, who copy and combine content.” These could be Gen X, or Y, or Millenials, but they are the ones who when watching tv, see an actor and think, “What has this actor been in? They look familiar.” BG (Before Google) we would have argued about it with our friends who were watching with us. We might have said – I guess we will never know (or God forbid, we might look it up at the Library!) But this generation pulls out their phone and looks it up. They are the “on-demand” generation. They are all about the “clicks” – not “cliques”. So how can we add more “clicks” to our “bricks” (and mortar) classroom? In James May’s session of 20-minute mentor, he presents several different options.
One example is the Post-it – a very traditional classroom tool. How can you make it a “click”? Well there is research that says that more people will read something if it is on a post-it note. It seems to the observer that this is something important and it draws your eye to the document if it has a post-it note on it. Did you know that 3M who makes Post-it notes has a websites on educational activities? As a post-it Queen (self-proclaimed), I am thrilled to hear this. I even got an idea for giving feedback using “Printable Post-its”. I have used them before for the muddiest/clearest point, used it as a formative assessment as they leave class. Students love it when you answer their questions. I even bought a huge block of post-its last semester and gave them out to faculty in our department to see what they could do with them. This has piqued my interest and I will be thinking more about how I can use the Post-its in the classroom to increase engagement.
Another tool is “back-channeling”. Examples of back-channeling would be using Google docs to let students post questions during lecture and then going back to answer those questions at a break. It also makes sense to use some of these types of channels so that students can get in a virtual line to ask their questions when they are thinking of the questions – so they don’t forget their questions. I had heard of using Google-Docs to collaborate, but I hadn’t really thought of using it in this way. So you pop open a google doc, send out the link in the “remind” app or on Canvas, and let students ask their questions while lecture is going on. Another tool was Todaysmeet.com which uses a similar platform to ask questions. One great idea for a formative assessment is “Teach Me, Ask Me”. So if students learned something that they thought was really interesting, or something that they understood really well, they can “Teach” the teacher what they learned. If they were having a hard time with a concept they can “Ask” the teacher a question that they need clarification with. The presenter used Google Forms for this activity and would come back the next day with a better understanding of what they knew or questions that they had. Students were more likely to ask questions when he answered the questions that they asked. It works a lot like Muddiest Point and Clearest Point. However, this how he turned a “brick” into a “click” because they could get online and write their questions or teach their answers – which is probably easier to read than the Post-It notes (just saying – their handwriting is B. A. D.)
Lastly, he mentioned several Programs to help literally make things more “click”able – using various forms of “Clickers”. When I first started teaching at Butler clickers (classroom response devices) were all the rage. We even adopted the clickers for Microbiology for a semester. But there were issues – the batteries were always dying, the clickers were not being picked up by the receiver, quizzes were okay, but testing was a disaster. So fast forward about 10 years – we had almost given up on these little devices, but then there came “Plickers” and “Kahoot” and “Socrative”. They keep getting better and better. I have used Plickers as an attendance thing – really helps to see if they are prepared for class. Kahoot is also a great review tool – because it rewards correct answers, consistency, and speed. It gamifies and also has music and they can use their phones – what’s not to love? Now you can even assign Kahoots as homework. There are two ways to assign Kahoots as homework. First, if you just want to see if the students completed a Kahoot on their own, you can now assign the “Challenge” (this was not in the video, but I just started using this). Students can download the app, enter the Challenge Pin, and play the game. I haven’t seen how you check to see who has done it. I believe that they have to enter their name in their Profile in the app. So when they take the challenge, you will know who and how well they did. This is so new, I am not sure how it will work out. But, I am always game to try something once. The second way is to assign students to open a free Kahoot account at http://getkahoot.com and go into the app and make a quiz and send you the link. Let them get all crazy with it and use their Kahoots as review.
I am definitely thinking of applying some of these activities in my class. Even though none of this is totally new, it was presented in a new way. It is making the Bricks into Clicks. This time of the semester – mid-term – it is nice to change things up a bit. I certainly enjoyed this 20 Minute Mentor.
Here are some links to some of the websites discussed:
Submitted – 10/16/17