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Quick and easy interactivities for the classroom

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Dec 2019, 14:17

Taking the MAODE there were few practical, classroom activities to put into practice in schools. The MAODE felt more like a precursor to academic study of elearning practices. I recall someone who had come from corporate training quit within weeks - unlike me, he wasn't hoping to make a career change. My career change still looks like a massive step backwards to the bottom of a low ladder.

Today we had a chance to consider and try some easy win, simple interactive tolls to 'gamify' the classroom giving students somethign to do - if they are wanting to have fingers on their mobiles anway. 

We had a discussion on that: should mobiles be allowed or not? Depends on the class. HE students are allowed their laptops, for some their smartphone IS their computer. Though the distractibility is high: follow that Tweet, respond to that email.

Our usual Digital Team Meeting quickly over with after an overview of what is going on in the college and the way roles will be defined in 2020 we took part in a teacher workshop on bringing interactivity to the classroom. Various platforms were used, and we were engaged and active throughout. Barely a moment to check emails, though I did try to tell Amazon where they could put a package as I will not be home much before 9:30pm

Peardeck, Nearpod, Menitmeter and Poll Everywhere

We would use interactive Q & A polling tool such as Pear Deck. Others mentioned include: Nearpod, Mentimeter and Poll Everywhere. Yet more (unwanted) toys I will need to have a play with.

We’d also need to download Jamboard and Padlet to our phones. I didn’t have my phone in ‘class’. My line manager needed her charger. In reality there are students (and tutors) who do not have smartphones. Provision needs to be made for them.

Having tried these we want on to explore creation and use of QR codes - as easy as creating a shortened URL and then some VR or augmented experiences you can reach on your ‘mobile device’.

QR Codes for elearning
There were some intriguing examples, however, with the skull and skelleton neither offer the level of focus a particular lesson might require. I have sat in lessons for Hair & Beauty where the focus has been the finger nail or the hair follicle. Neither of these items, albeit they are 3D, drills down to the fingernail or hair follicile.
Models and QR Codes

Off the shelf bodies I have bought are aimed at the Junior Doctor learning terms - so something bespoke would have to be created. Roll on sponsorship from a hairdressing chain. 
I've got some catching up to do. One the one hand I can master the complexities of Planet eStream and Thinglink, but what teachers are more likely to use are easy wins such as these:
Interactive Tools for the Classroom to try

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Design Museum

Nearpod : Another Platform for consideration

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Nearpod offers close integration with Google Educator Suite which makes this of interest; content is readily shared into a Google Classroom. So what benefits does it bring?

Why might, in some instances, Planet eStream be better than Nearpod? Some of the things I have to help educators fathom out. 

The sales patter says that with Nearpod you can: 

  • Create interactive lessons in minutes
  • Easily import existing lessons (pdfs, jpegs, ppts)

Add interactive features such as:

  • Virtual Field Trips,

  • 3D Objects, 

  • Quizzes, 

  • Polls, 

  • Open Ended Questions

Download and customize ready-to-run lessons
Choose from thousands of free or paid lessons from expert educators and our educational partners. 

Customize any lesson to fit your students’ needs.

Synchronize and control lessons across all student devices

Teachers share a live session, students enter a code, and the lesson is synced to all devices.

Evaluate student responses live or with post-session reports
View student answers individually or as a class and generate post-session reports with one click.

Give every student a voice

In an inclusive and immersive learning experience that allows students to participate actively in every lesson.

Students to take ownership of their learning which enhances their sense-making.

Increase students’ access to information, ideas, and interactions. 

To test it and compare I need a real project, a teacher with students to teach and a lesson objective in mind. It is impossible to make a fair judgement simply by 'giving it a go' with some random content. 

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Design Museum

Death by Kahoot

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I've suffered too often from death by PowerPoint. Are you now suffering from death by Kahoot? These gimmicks come in waves. At the Sussex Show & TEL event a presentation on Accessibility in HE incorporated a Kahoot quiz which included irritating Teletubbies/Angry Birds style music during the count down as every question was posted, and absurdly detailed niche questions. In particular percentages expressed to the third decimal place were totally out of place. Too many educators fail in the most basic of communications best practices - know your audience!

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