Friday, October 29, 2010

Instant Feedback

Today I used an app called eClicker with my Algebra I students, and it worked like a dream.

Let me start off by saying that teachers are constantly trying to get and give instant feedback. The sooner a teacher knows that some of her students are not "getting it," the sooner she can adjust her teaching methods. Similarly, the sooner a student knows he does not "get it", the sooner he can reflect on his work and find his mistake. (sidenote: my use of pronouns is arbitrary.) The eClicker app allows for super-fast feedback, both for students and for teachers. I plan to use this app a lot more.

Before class I entered six practice problems into my eClicker Host app, and during class students could access my questions for using the eClicker student app. I would send all 30 of my students a question, and they would have two minutes (or more, I could decide the length of time) to choose an answer choice. Here is an example of one of my questions:

After the minute, each student would see if they chose correctly, and they could see a bar graph of the % of students that answered each question, with the correct answer highlighted:


This app is the zenith of  instant feedback, both for students and for the teacher. The "host", or teacher, also gets a list of students with their specific answers, so I can pinpoint the five percent that answered "A" instead of "B".

Here is the bar graph from another question I gave to students. Based on the large percent of students that got this problem incorrect (and based on which answer choice most of those students chose) I can clearly see that students are confusing an undefined slope with a slope of zero, and I can review the concept right then and there: 

This app has other possibilities too that I am only beginning to brainstorm. I could possibly use it for quizzes (no grading necessary)? Or have other students create questions using the Host app for each other? What are your thoughts?

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