As a teacher, you are tasked with one of the most important jobs in the world. Preparing the next generation to take on the mantle and challenges of a brave new world. That is no small feat.
Being effective at what you are doing, both as a teacher and a mentor, needs feedback. How do you know that your way of teaching is effective? That they understood the point or grasped the concept?
Maybe there is a generation gap and they don’t connect with your methods of teaching? Are you using difficult to understand phrases? Need to explain certain points twice or in a different light?
So the real question that I am trying to get at is how do you collect feedback from students, possibly in real time, to understand and rectify gaps in the teaching process?
Edutech comes to the rescue here. Thankfully, there are tools available in the market today that solve these important yet often overlooked aspect of teaching.
Let’s take a look at some tools for teachers to collect feedback from students.
1. Poll Everywhere
You are in a class or a large event with hundreds and thousands of students vying for your attention. You need feedback and some answers but talking to everyone, individually, is next to impossible. This is where Poll Everywhere comes.
A tool that was built to do one thing and do it exceptionally well. Being true to its name, Poll Everywhere works in word, excel, powerpoint, websites, Google slides, and even on smartphones. This opens up possibilities, especially when you are delivering a presentation or have to work with other documents.
Ask a question and the students can answer in real time. Poll Everywhere will then generate reports that you can use to analyze the feedback.
Poll Everywhere is more suitable for situations when you are dealing with a large audience where one-on-one interaction becomes difficult.
This is a real time feedback tool that you can use to create polls and discussion chat rooms. The way it works is pretty straightforward. Polls will allow you to provide your students with multiple choice questions, asking them to complete the survey. For example, a poll on how was the last field trip?
Discussions are nothing but open-ended questions that students can answer however they like. This offers more freedom instead of choosing one of the pre-selected choices.
What I like about GoSoapBox is the Confusion Meter feature. So you are teaching your class about the laws of gravity but some of them didn’t get it. Confusion Meter will offer just two options: Yes, I get it or No, I don’t get it. Just ask your class to respond and you will know the answer. It’s very simple and super effective.
Students can be shy about responding with a negative feedback. Other students might think they are dumb and make fun of them. Solution? Anonymous polls, discussions, and confusion meter options.
In order to encourage engagement and active participation, you can use the Quizzes feature too. GoSoapBox works on the web as well as smartphones. Amazing tool for small and medium sized classrooms.
While poll is an excellent way to collect feedback, it doesn’t foster discussions. It is good for multiple choice questions or a question-answer survey, but discussions can be more meaningful in certain situations.
Backchannel Chat will help you create a channel where teachers and students can communicate freely. Each channel has a unique channel id, user id, and a code (password). You can log in using the web or mobile app.
To control discussions from going off topic, Backchannel offers additional tools like profanity filter and ability to remove messages or even students.
To encourage discussions and further participation, you can share files, images, YouTube videos, take notes, and ask question to anyone. Everything happens in real time which makes it ideal as a live feedback channel.
At the end of the class, anyone can download transcripts of the discussion for further reading.
Socrative offers a broader selection of tools than some of the more focused tools that we saw earlier. There is a chat room where students can connect with teachers and with each other to discuss topics.
To increase engagement and create a fun environment, you can create quizzes that can spark their imagination and help them learn. Then there are true or false or multiple choice questions that will help you gauge their level, and how much they have really learned in the class.
What I liked is the space feature. A good way to foster healthy competition between students by using quizzes and activities. It’s like a space race with rockets flying across the screen. Elon Musk would have been happy.
At the end of the day, you can go through reports to see how students faired across the tests and what needs to be done to improve their situation. Socrates works on pretty much every platform and device.
Formative is the last one in the list but definitely not the least. It will allow you to create assignments that you can then assign to your students. Duh. These assignments can be in any form or shape like quizzes, question-answer series, multiple choice questions, true or false, and so on.
There is a lot of room to design your assignments the way you want. The UI is nice with the ability to use colors to differentiate sections. Where formative shines is the thousands of templates that are available in their library. Just choose one and edit according to your needs. You can interact with students in real-time and grade them according to their work submitted.
Teachers are amazing people who are working to prepare an entire generation for the future, and all the challenges that it will bring with it. But in order to do so effectively, even teachers are going to need help. This is why these tools for teachers to collect feedback from students are so important.
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