The PLC (Professional Learning Community) will be providing the teaching tip of the week throughout the academic year in support of their goal of interdisciplinary collegiality.
As the new semester begins and new groups of students enter our classes, educators often find themselves in need of some fresh new activities that will aid them in connecting with and identifying the needs and interests of their students. Many instructors have chosen to use student response systems, allowing students to respond at the click of a button to a variety of questions. However, dedicated student response systems carry with them a price that students are often loath to pay. Luckily, many apps are currently available that offer the advantages of these systems, but only require a cell phone or other mobile device for effective use.
One such program can be found at Socrative allowing for educators to ask a variety of question types, including classroom polls, multiple choice, true/false, and even short answer questions. Response graphs are available with the just the click of a button, allowing teachers to find out in a very short time what the interests and needs of their students are, as well as how well material has been grasped. A similar option is Polleverywhere with a free account available for up to 40 responses per poll.
Another great mobile option is Remind (formerly Remind101) which allows one-way communication for teachers to send reminders and updates by way of text message without sharing a personal cell phone number. Interaction is possible through the use of stamps within the app which provides the equivalent of multiple-choice responses.
By using these apps, educators can ask a variety of questions, on any day of the semester, and help students learn to see their mobile device not only as a communication tool, but an educational one as well.
~Cynthia Kilpatrick, firstname.lastname@example.org, Assistant Professor, Linguistics & TESOL, College of Liberal Arts.