Digital Tools For Learner Engagement in the Virtual Classroom – Part 3

Mentimeter – An East-to-use Digital Tool

Recap:

Photo by Anton Uniqueton on Pexels.com

The sudden onslaught of the Covid-19 crisis and the pandemic situation displaced education from the physical environment. This move to online mode of education forced educators to upgrade their technical skills almost overnight and grapple with unfamiliar digital tools and technology to keep learning going.

Photo by Iqwan Alif on Pexels.com

In online interactions, teachers do not have the aids available usually in the physical classroom which help them to check whether their learners are actively listening or getting distracted; whether they have grasped concepts taught or not.

In the virtual environment, teachers feel at a loss to know if learners are engaged and what could be done to motivate them.

Many educators are now in the predicament of having to choose from a bewildering plethora of digital tools that claim to make their jobs easier. Budget constraints often mean that tools and software must be free to make them accessible to teachers.

Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

*****************************************************************************

Mentimeter

Blended classrooms appear to be the way forward all over the world, even if schools and colleges reopen physically. Teachers need to visualize ways and means to keep learners engaged in the hybrid classrooms wherein some students may be online, while some attend the physical classroom.

Teachers would have to use tools that allow all the learners to participate in classroom interactions. Feedback provided in the assessment process[1] is vital to keep learners engaged and inform teachers of further action.

Mentimeter is a digital tool that helps teachers create live opinion polls in different ways for classes of all sizes.

Teachers can ask their learners to write a word / words to express their opinion about the subject matter.

When the responses get submitted, the results can be displayed instantly in the form of a Word Cloud.

The words most often repeated in the student responses are displayed in larger font size, while the outliers are in smaller font at the edge of the cloud. This visual display helps teachers give instant feedback to learners.

Teachers can use Mentimeter Word Cloud for ice-breaker activities before commencing teaching; during the lesson to know whether the students have understood what was taught and after the lesson, have students use it to describe their class experience.

Feedback enhances student achievement in the classroom.[2] Teachers can use Mentimeter to give multiple choice questions (MCQs) with predefined answers to get fast responses from learners. These can be presented to the learners with beautiful visualizations in real-time. The instant feedback can be of great help in retaining the attention of learners and keeping them engaged, in the virtual environment.

Teachers routinely use charts, maps, pictures and chalkboards in the physical classroom, to ask questions, stimulate the imagination of learners and know what the learners have understood. Teachers can do many of these things in their online classes using Mentimeter, such as asking MCQs, creating innovative visualizations, adding images as options, seeing and displaying trends with segmentation.

Close ended questions can be asked by teachers to gauge learner understanding, while open-ended questions would be helpful for students to articulate their understanding based on their previous knowledge and the knowledge gained in the current lesson.

Teachers can use Mentimeter for interactive quizzes to break monotony in the virtual classroom. Mentimeter encourages diffident students to voice their thoughts by enabling authentic discussions among students.

The virtual environment may have unwanted behaviours cropping up as some students think their actions would be anonymous. Mentimeter helps teachers side-step such issues, with its filter feature that avoids profanity and removes any unwanted language or words from word clouds or open-ended questions.

*******************************************************************

References

*******************************************************************


[1] Meta-syntheses relating to the effects of feedback on student achievement in ‘Visible Learning’ research by Hattie and Timperley (2007)

[2] Meta-analysis of empirical research on the ‘Effects of feedback on student learning’ by Hattie and Zierer (2019)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s