Wednesday, 27 July 2016
Attempting to Increase Engagement
Recently I have been reflecting on the arousal levels of students in my SOS class. I have felt collectively the class have been on a low, and in turn have lacked engagement and motivation in class. I concluded, and discussed with Dot, my co-teacher, that I think we may need some more activities that are a little more interactive. Although we value and deem reading and writing as an important component of learning in SOS, sometimes written tasks on Docs and reading tasks can become repetitive and boring, which I think is why there has been a lull in arousal levels in SOS.
On this note, I decided to experiment with Plickers. Plickers is a tool used for real time feedback and data from students, without the students needing a device. I have never used Plickers as a teacher, but I have as a student at uni last year, as well as at the gamification session at the PENZ conference, both times I found engaging. As we are moving into an Olympics unit, today we begun with an intro into the Olympics with the Plickers platform to formatively assess students prior knowledge and understanding of and about the event, and throughout learnt some new content.
Plickers involves students/members of the audience holding up codes, which are unique to them, to answer questions. Questions are displayed on the board with four answers A-D. These questions can be content based with specific answers the teacher wants, or as a way to produce discussion about subjective topics for example. Each code is shaped like a square, and each side of the square either labelled A, B, C or D in small text so others cannot see. In response to questions, students hold up their code with their answer at the top of the page, and then the teacher/facilitator scans the codes using the Plickers app. Results are immediately displayed on the board, producing a graph of student answers.
I really enjoyed learning how to use a new digital tool, although it was a little stop-starty with the scanning and getting our heads around how the platform works. The students responded well to Plickers, engaging with responses, as well as listening to the content covered between questions. I look forward to experimenting with the tool some more in the future, as I think it is a great way to mix it up a little bit, as well as include student voice.