One of the best parts about sending out these Weekly Teaching Notes is receiving feedback from you. The note from Cheryl Hall a few weeks ago about Poll Everywhere generated a small avalanche of email! Here’s a selection of your responses.
Some of our faculty and librarians are already enthusiastic users of Poll Everywhere, which enables students to use their cell phones as clickers and for short answer responses. Ken Distler (email@example.com), a librarian at Wisser Library, writes that he has used Poll Everywhere many times in library instruction and information literacy classes.
“It's a marvelous tool for helping to assess the research skill level of students. For example, ‘Boolean logic is best described as: a.b.c.d.e.’ or ‘Which of the following journal databases are you most familiar with? a. b. c. d. e.’ (Note that e might be "None of the above.")
It's clearly an excellent market research tool, as well: ‘How might library skills classes be improved?’ or ‘What would you like most for us to cover in our information literacy skills classes?’ ”
Danielle Apfelbaum (firstname.lastname@example.org), also at Wisser Library, describes a gamified information literacy session that she uses with FCWR 101 students.
“Here's how a typical Pro/Con-a-Thon session plays out. As students come in, they are prompted to answer the following open-ended poll on their computer screens (they can also text or Tweet their answers if they want): ‘When I have a research assignment, I begin with...’ As students respond in their own words, their answers appear on the screen at the front of the room and we have a short discussion about why certain search engines and websites are their go-to sources for information. This segues into a brief Prezi presentation, followed by the game portion of the session.
The game portion immediately follows the presentation (see the"Gameplay" tab in the libguide). Each team receives a packet with two tasks. The first task is the same for all teams: a topic is broken down into two major concepts, and teams have to come up with three related keywords for each concept. They must then use those keywords to draft Boolean searches to locate topic-related materials in a database or catalog. During this time, I walk around and coach teams that are having difficulty in coming up with keywords and using Boolean operators correctly.
The second task is unique to each team. Utilizing keywords and Boolean searches from the prior round, each team finds a resource in a specified database and evaluates it according to the CRAAP method (currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, purpose). Teams choose a representative to present their evaluation of the source. Scoring is based on each team's critical application of the CRAAP method in determining the reliability of the source. Students grade each team using a multiple-choice poll, and appear on-screen in real time.”
You can find the FCWR 101 game that she describes (The Pro/Con-a-Thon) and class companion guide here: http://libguides.nyit.edu/proconathon. Danielle has told me she is happy to answer questions and help you get started, if you’d like to try it out.
Some of you expressed concern that students would become distracted by the phones and begin texting, checking email and Facebook, or surfing the web. Blair Hoplight, a faculty member in Behavioral Sciences, responds that students get distracted for a week or two, and then they settle down and consider the phone “just another tool.”
A number of you said you are planning to try the software, some in class, some online, and some in orientation sessions. Others of you have their students use cell phones to photograph models and email them to the professor or to find relevant information during a class.
Petra Dilling, associate dean of the School of Management at our Vancouver campus, writes, “I just tried this in class and it was really great!!! I started out very simply, did not even register for the website. I used open-ended questions about SNC Lavalin, its history (1st question), its scandal from last year (2nd question) and which two stories were in the news about them today (3rd question).”
Keep those cards and letters coming!
Weekly Teaching Notes: 2014-2015 Index
Include High-Impact Teaching Practices to Make Learning Stick
Use Elements of Cognitive Constructivism to Design Effective Learning Activities
Develop Expertise in Students by Creating Cognitive Apprenticeships
Improving Student Learning with (Almost) No Grading