Spice Up Discussions with Technology

Facilitating a lively, interactive discussion in which all students participate is sometimes challenging in a high school class.  One way to help accomplish that goal is to integrate technology into a discussion.  I have highlighted a few tools below that I have either used as a teacher in high school or as a student in my graduate classes.

TodaysMeet 

Teacher accessibility:Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 3.07.08 PM

  • free and easy to set up
    • pick a name for the “room” for the meeting
    • choose how long to keep the room active (from one hour to one month)
  • teachers can create a free account to manage rooms
    • allows teachers to view a transcript of the comments after students participate

Devices:

  • works better on a tablet/laptop than on a smartphone

Participation features:

  • students can type comments including up to 140 characters
  • the comments are organized with newer comments added to the top of the list

 

Socrative

Teacher accessibility: Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 4.36.51 PM

  • free and easy to set up an account
  • teachers can create questions, save them to reuse, and see data/records of students’ responses
    • write questions before class and make them “live” during the discussion

Devices:

  • works on computers and mobile devices

Participation features:

  • questions can be multiple choice, true-false, or short answer
  • responses can be displayed in a bar graph or in a text list
  • teacher can choose to show students’ names or make responses anonymous

 

PollEverywhere

Teacher accessibility: Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 4.18.05 PM

  • free and easy to set up an account
  • teachers can create questions and save them to reuse
    • write questions before class and make them “live” during the discussion

Devices:

  • students may respond to the poll by texting or on the website

Participation features:

  • questions can be multiple choice, true-false, or free response
  • responses can be displayed in a bar graph or in a text list
  • responses are anonymous, which may be helpful when discussing sensitive topics
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