The HandsUp! App
As technology continues to become more ubiquitous in our lives, good teachers are constantly searching for ways to leverage the power of technology to engage students and enhance learning
The Hands Up app, developed in a real classroom, not only provides teachers with some long-awaited, practical classroom management tools, it also shifts the established lecture paradigm, encouraging students to participate in and contribute to the learning process.
How does it work?
Use the Feedback Function to elicit 100% participation
I know that as teachers, we are busy people. We don’t always have time to prepare complicated, time consuming polls and questionnaires to get feedback from our students about the effectiveness of our lessons – to see if they are actually learning!
Scenario #1 – Have they understood?
While teaching, you ask a question from your students to elicit understanding…
- the usual suspects raise their hands to answer
- you select a few students to answer
Most of your class might still not understand; however, you have no way of knowing without asking every student individually.
- Simply, ask the question and require all your students to respond using HandsUp .
- Because the app enables 100% participation from the students, within seconds you can quickly see how many students have actually understood and adjust your teaching accordingly.
- View a report of the responses after the lesson to help prepare future lessons
As the teacher, you can ask your students to respond in a variety of ways – students can:
- type an answer
- draw an answer
- insert an emoji
- take a picture of their answer (or response) using their iPad camera
- upload a screenshot from their photo library
Scenario #2 – Checking homework
You’ve taken roll call and you need to check that your students have completed their homework.
- You ask the students to have their work ready on their desks.
- You walk around, checking to see who has completed their homework.
- At the same time, you try to ascertain whether or not they have done it correctly.
- You eventually realize that many of the students have done one of the questions incorrectly.
- You write up the question on the whiteboard and reteach the concept.
- The whole process takes up half of your single period lesson
A better way: HandsUp!
- Start a session.
- Ask the students to take a picture (or screenshot) of their homework and submit using the feedback tab.
- Within seconds, you have all their homework on your iPad.
- You scroll through the list of students and see that many of the students got one of the questions wrong.
- You select one of the student’s homework, project it onto the screen and explain what they did wrong.
- If you have an iPad Pro, you take a screenshot of the homework, project it for all the students to see as you correct it with your apple pencil.
- The whole process takes only a few minutes and you can get on with the day’s lesson!
Scenario #3 – What are they thinking?
You are wondering if your students are engaged and listening to your lecture, but can only guess based on what you see:
- Most are looking at you – the lights are on, but you are not sure if anyone’s home.
- Some are staring out the window.
- Some are doodling.
- Some are spinning their pens between their fingers...I’ve always wished I could do that...
- Some look at you with a puzzled expression on their face, but you are not sure if they are confused about what you are teaching or whether they are just confused about life in general.
- Some are whispering to their friends.
- Some are struggling to stay awake after a long night of gaming.
The point is, during most lectures, the students just sit passively, and the teacher has no idea what they are thinking.
- Simply, start a session before your lecture.
- Enable anonymous feedback.
- Encourage students to engage honestly with you as you teach by using the feedback tab to:
- ask you questions
- tell you if they already know what you are teaching
- tell you how they feel (bored, excited, happy)
- explore exciting learning tangents
- the options are endless
- Every now and then, pause your lecture and glance at the feedback coming in.
- The lecture has now become a learning conversation!
NOTE: Obviously, this is not for the faint-hearted teacher! It is important to first explain to the students that you value their feedback and that you want to know what they are thinking so that you can improve your teaching.
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