Yesterday I was finally allowed to teach again ‘IRL’, I have to admit, it was great to see my students again in the flesh and not behind a screen.
For the past years, I have been doing a little exercise with my students to have some retrieval practice happening and allowing me to give +200 students feedback. Yesterday I gave my exercise a minor technical update. I’m now using Whatsapp instead of simple text messages like I used to use before the lockdown.
When the students entered the auditorium, I asked them to scan a QR-code that made them members of a dedicated WhatsApp group. Of course, some students couldn’t do this, but I promised they could participate in the exercise later on.
I asked my students also to put their phones down with the screens on the table, so they wouldn’t get disturbed during class.
After 30 minutes, I got to the first exercise: please form a trio and make a summary in +/- 140 characters and post it in the Whatsapp group. After that, I repeated this exercise every 30 minutes. Why a trio? 2 reasons to limit the number of messages and make sure everyone can participate.
You can see the retrieval practice happening, but where is the feedback?
Well, the next step happens after class. I open the desktop version of Whatsapp and copy all messages into a Word document and separate them into three groups:
- Correct and to the point -> this is actually a crowdsourced summary of my class
- Accurate but not important -> by doing this, I can help my students to separate main from side issues
- Incorrect -> Here, I add a correction.
The next step is to share this document on the learning platform.
In one of the following classes, I will change this exercise. I will then ask them not to make a summary but to write an exam question about the past 30 minutes. These questions will also end up in different categories:
- Correct, thank you for your suggestion
- I’m not that evil. This is way too difficult
- Incorrect -> Again, I add a correction
- This question wasn’t formulated correctly -> Here, I also will add a correction.