"What are we doing to help kids achieve?"
The International Society for Technology in Education or ISTE is having a convention in Chicago. Three wonderful educators, Lisa Dabbs, Christine Pinto and Alice Keeler decided to take a road trip across the country to the ISTE convention. Along the way they stopped and talked to different groups of educators (#ISTELadiesRoadTrip). I had the privilege of attending one of their presentations. Each educator presented some great ideas with fantatstic enthusiasm. Alice Keeler had two ideas that really made sense.
Figure 1 - ISTE conference logo1
One idea she presented was about worksheets. She felt that if you take an existing worksheet and simply put it online as a PDF that there is no real benefit to you or the student. Alice suggested to turn the worksheet into a google form. That way you can open one document and examine the answers from an entire class. This would allow you to get a feel for how students are doing and provide immediate feedback. This seems to be much more beneficial for the students and teachers.
Alice had another great idea. Many teachers start with "bell ringers" to begin the class. Alice likes to put these in google slides. Here is what she does. She makes up one google slide with the bell ringer. She then names the version history "clean slate". Students come in and find that the slide presentation is shared with them. Each student must add a slide with the answer and then write their name in the notes of the slide. Students must then find another slide someone else did and provide an appropriate critique. The teacher can get a quick glance at all the slides to see who is participating and who is not. At the end of the activity, Alice likes to go back to version history and save this as a new version. She then clicks that button that allows her to revert back to the original version so it is ready for the next class. This procedure makes the bell ringer much more ineteractive and holds students accountable.
Figure 2 - Example bell ringer on a Google Slide2
I also learned another trick from Alice that greatly improves a bell ringer in google slides. The "presentation" button has a "Q and A option". This puts a URL on the presentation that everyone can see. Students can use the URL to ask questions at any time. Only the presenter can see the questions.
Both of these techniques with bell ringers takes something that is often passive and makes it much more active. It also allows the teacher to start to build relationships with the students through questions and answers. It can also become a nice quick tool for formative assessment. Do you have an idea for a bell ringer that you like? Why not share? I would love to hear about it....
1 - International Society for Technology in Education conference logo - Chicago 2018.
2 - The example bell ringer in the preview graphic is from Bell Ringers for Conservation of Mass.Published by Amy Zitzelberger in October 2015.