Chat tools and polling services provide good ways to hear from all of the students in a classroom. These kinds of tools, often referred to as backchannel tools, allow shy students to ask questions and share comments.
Backchannel tools also give our more talkative students a way to share their ideas without dominating the classroom conversation. Over the years I’ve used a variety of feedback tools in my classroom. This is my updated list of backchannel and informal assessment tools for gathering real-time feedback from students.
Classroomscreen is a service that lets you create a home screen on which you can place reusable countdown timers, stopwatches, polls, noise meters, random name selectors, and more helpful classroom management tools. With the polling tool in Classroomscreen you can display a question for your students and have them respond with a multiple choice selection or by choosing a smiley face.
ClassPoint is a great little tool that you can use to build interactive quizzes and polls into your PowerPoint presentations. You can also use it to annotate slides, create whiteboards on the fly, and share your annotations with students. In this short video I provide a demonstration of how ClassPoint works. The video shows a teacher’s perspective and a student’s perspective of how ClassPoint can be used in your classroom.
Ziplet is a service for gathering feedback from your students in a variety of ways. The simplest way is to create an exit ticket by using one of the dozens of pre-written questions provided by Ziplet. Ziplet does not require students to have accounts to respond to exit ticket questions. Students can simply enter an exit ticket code that you give to them before they answer the question. What Ziplet offers that is somewhat unique is the option to respond directly to individual students even when they are responding to a group survey. The purpose of that feature is to make it easy to ask follow-up questions or to give encouragement to students based on their responses to a question posed to the whole group. Here’s a short video about how to use Ziplet.
I’ve been using Padlet since it was called WallWisher back in 2009. Padlet enables me to have students not only share exit responses as text, but to also share exit responses as hyperlinks. For example, if my students have been working on research projects I will ask them to share a link to something they found that day along with an explanation of how it is relevant to their research. Here’s a set of Padlet tutorials.
Formative provides you with a place to create online assignments that your students can respond to in class or out of class. Assignments can be as simple as one question exit tickets like “what did you learn today?” to complex quizzes that use a combination of multiple choice, short answer, and true/false questions. You can assign point values to questions or leave them as ungraded questions. The best feature of Formative is the option to create “show your work” questions. “Show your work” questions enables students to draw responses and or upload pictures as responses to your questions. When you use this question type students will see a blank canvas directly below the question. On that canvas they can draw and or type responses.
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