Learning from Your Students: Tools for Digital Interactivity in Class

When presenting in class, students in my courses are required to include at least one “interactive part” involving their fellow class mates. The main goal of this rule is to foster experience-based learning and to make student presentations more varied. How the students involve their colleagues is entirely up to them; collateral benefit of this openness is that I profit immensely from the creativity and diversity of ideas and techniques put forward by the students.

Over the course of the past semester, for instance, I not only saw but experienced various tools for digital interactivity – some of which were really helpful in raising attention levels and understanding. Please find below a selection of three such digital tools, all of which are browser-based and work on laptops, tablets and smartphones alike:

screenshot-kahoot

Kahoot: the mobile-friendly tool provides an easy way to set up competitive quizzes, where participants get points for correct and fast answers. In the end, there is a ranking and a winner. According to Kahoot’s website, the tool works with up to 500 participants. In a German blog post, Daniel Giere describes his experiences with Kahoot in the field of history. 

Mentimeter offers a whole array of different live interaction tools such as surveys or also quizzes. However, the most impressive question type I have seen in action is the live word cloud: the more often a certain word is entered by the participants, the bigger it appears on the screen. Each participant may enter several words via smartphone or laptop. The free version is restricted to two questions per session, which is sufficient for short break-out exercises.

screenshot-mentimeter

Tricider: While both Kahoot and Mentimeter require at least some minimal registration even for using the free version, Tricider can be used entirely without registering to discuss and vote on different alternatives.

 

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