MIDL321: Student Engagement Tools

Nearpod, Twitter, VoiceThread, Clickers make it easier for teachers to shift from a teacher-centered classroom to a learner-centered classroom. Reflect on how each of the above were used in our undergraduate classroom. Did you personally like one more than the other? Explain why. Describe at least 2-3 ways in which you can use each in your own classroom. Try to be as specific as possible by identifying the content area and the appropriateness of the technology to teach that content area.

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7 thoughts on “MIDL321: Student Engagement Tools

  1. I loved using Nearpod, Twitter, VoiceThread, and Clickers in our classroom! I thought that each piece of technology contributed very well to our classroom and will be useful when I am a middle school teacher.
    Nearpod was amazing! I thought it was so much fun to be able to answer questions through the app. I especially liked drawing pictures and thought that middle school students would really enjoy this as well. Nearpod was my favorite piece of technology we used so far. It was my favorite because it was so different than anything I have ever done before and I would love to use it in my classroom someday. If I were going to use it in my classroom, I would use it as a group activity, similar to what we did in class. I would make sure to incorporate drawing into the content to keep the students engaged. I could use Nearpod as a review activity or to introduce new information. I believe that I could use Nearpod for many different concepts in Language Arts and think it would be appropriate for middle level students because it is so engaging and fun.
    I really enjoyed using Twitter in our classroom. Twitter is such an easy way to connect with students and I will definitely use it in the classroom someday. I would use Twitter to tweet out homework reminders and connect the homework assignment with a unique hashtag so that the students could easily find it. I would also use Twitter as a homework assignment. I would have my students tweet their homework to me with another unique hashtag. I think that using twitter could be useful with any content. Twitter is so appropriate for middle school because middle school students are already using Twitter. They will enjoy using it as a resource for school because they already use it often.
    VoiceThread was also awesome! I thought it was a very cool idea and loved how flexible it is. You can truly make anything you want and make it as interesting as you want. I enjoyed viewing all of the other VoiceThreads in our class. I would use VoiceThread as a homework assignment. I could make a VoiceThread and have my students watch it and respond to questions asked throughout the video. I would also use VoiceThread to assign a group project. Students could work together to complete a project by making their own VoiceThread. I also think that VoiceThread could be used with any subject. I could use it as an English teacher by having my students create their VoiceThread about a book we just read. I think that VoiceThread is appropriate for middle level students because I think they would enjoy learning how to use this technology and would have a great time making them.

    I thought using the clickers was amazing! I have only used them a few times before and really enjoyed using them in the classroom. I would definitely use these as well. I could use the clickers to introduce new vocabulary words in fifth grade and have students guess what they think the definition is by using the clicker. I could also use them as a way to review material before a test. The students could answer my questions and I would be able to see what material they are still struggling with. I could review this material before the end of class, which would help them do better on the test. Any material could be reviewed using the clickers, but I could use clickers to review for a vocabulary test. I think that the clickers are appropriate for middle level students because the clickers are anonymous and middle school students are always worried about other students’ opinions about them. This way, nobody will know who answered what and the material can be reviewed without problems.

  2. I loved using Nearpod, Twitter, VoiceThread, and Clickers in our classroom! I thought that each piece of technology contributed very well to our classroom and will be useful when I am a middle school teacher.

    Nearpod was amazing! I thought it was so much fun to be able to answer questions through the app. I especially liked drawing pictures and thought that middle school students would really enjoy this as well. Nearpod was my favorite piece of technology we used so far. It was my favorite because it was so different than anything I have ever done before and I would love to use it in my classroom someday. If I were going to use it in my classroom, I would use it as a group activity, similar to what we did in class. I would make sure to incorporate drawing into the content to keep the students engaged. I could use Nearpod as a review activity or to introduce new information. I believe that I could use Nearpod for many different concepts in Language Arts and think it would be appropriate for middle level students because it is so engaging and fun.

    I really enjoyed using Twitter in our classroom. Twitter is such an easy way to connect with students and I will definitely use it in the classroom someday. I would use Twitter to tweet out homework reminders and connect the homework assignment with a unique hashtag so that the students could easily find it. I would also use Twitter as a homework assignment. I would have my students tweet their homework to me with another unique hashtag. I think that using twitter could be useful with any content. Twitter is so appropriate for middle school because middle school students are already using Twitter. They will enjoy using it as a resource for school because they already use it often.

    VoiceThread was also awesome! I thought it was a very cool idea and loved how flexible it is. You can truly make anything you want and make it as interesting as you want. I enjoyed viewing all of the other VoiceThreads in our class. I would use VoiceThread as a homework assignment. I could make a VoiceThread and have my students watch it and respond to questions asked throughout the video. I would also use VoiceThread to assign a group project. Students could work together to complete a project by making their own VoiceThread. I also think that VoiceThread could be used with any subject. I could use it as an English teacher by having my students create their VoiceThread about a book we just read. I think that VoiceThread is appropriate for middle level students because I think they would enjoy learning how to use this technology and would have a great time making them.

    I thought using the clickers was amazing! I have only used them a few times before and really enjoyed using them in the classroom. I would definitely use these as well. I could use the clickers to introduce new vocabulary words in fifth grade and have students guess what they think the definition is by using the clicker. I could also use them as a way to review material before a test. The students could answer my questions and I would be able to see what material they are still struggling with. I could review this material before the end of class, which would help them do better on the test. Any material could be reviewed using the clickers, but I could use clickers to review for a vocabulary test. I think that the clickers are appropriate for middle level students because the clickers are anonymous and middle school students are always worried about other students’ opinions about them. This way, nobody will know who answered what and the material can be reviewed without problems.

  3. I really enjoyed using nearpod in the classroom! I believe that it’s a very useful piece of technology that could be incorporated in any classroom. One way that I would use nearpod in my classroom is by finding an app that is about the different parts of grammar. I believe that this would be a great and different way to teach students. The students would be more eager to learn because they get to use a piece of technology to do so. Another way would be choosing an application on nearpod that involves solar systems. This would work well in a science classroom. The students could use this technology to interact and learn the different parts of the solar system. You could have the students work together in large groups, work together as a class, or have them work independently.

    I never realized how easy Twitter would be to use in a classroom. After reading the different scenarios in class, I started to really enjoy using Twitter. One way that Twitter can be used is when you want to reach out to your students and remind them of upcoming homework and assignments. This will be a great way to connect with the students since most already use this type of social media. Another way that you could use Twitter in the classroom is by showing off your students projects or having your students post their projects to you. This will grasp attention by other followers and other people will be able to see your student’s projects.

    I thought using voicethread in the classroom was a great idea. I also believe that I will be using this in my future classroom. It is such an easy way to communicate thoughts and ideas to other individuals. I would really enjoy using this with a classroom from a different country. I believe that the students could each make a slide for the voicethread that involves the United States. The teacher from the other country could share this voicethread to their students. These students could comment on that voicethread and create their own about their country. This would help all the students to become more multicultural. Another way to incorporate voicethread in the classroom is by partnering students. Each pair would choose a different author and research information on this individual.

    I really enjoyed using clickers in the classroom. I think a great way to incorporate clickers in the classroom is by having a ‘bell ringer’ each day. You just put one question on the board and have all students use their clickers to select their answers. This could be a great way to involve state assessment preparation. You could take five minutes discussing the answer or wait until the end of the week and take 15 minutes about each question for that week. Another way to incorporate clickers into the classroom is by using them before a unit. You could have questions asking about the unit you are about to cover and see how much your students already know about that unit.

  4. Over the past few weeks, we have explored and experimented with using VoiceThread, clickers, Nearpod, and Twitter in the classroom. We gained experience with VoiceThread by individually creating a presentation that dealt with some aspect of diversity (e.g. ethnic diversity, linguistic diversity, etc.). Then, we posted to our classmates’ projects, by responding to their proposed questions or writing comments/questions of our own. Clickers were used in an activity where we answered whether or not certain misconceptions about multiculturalism were prevalent in our community. To familiarize ourselves with Nearpod, we were engaged in a pre-designed activity on the different kinds of government. In this activity, we were assigned a partner, decided on and illustrated a country mascot, and responded to multiple-choice and short-answer questions. Twitter was used to network with each other, by responding to and posting questions of our own with the use of a common hashtag (e.g. “#MIDL321).

    Of all these interactive technologies, my most favorite are VoiceThread and Nearpod. I enjoy the numerous ways that VoiceThread allows one to convey information (i.e. text, audio, images, and videos). I also like that personally recorded audio and videos can be added to the presentation. Furthermore, the program fosters communication, as others can respond to a presentation by posting text, audio, or video comments onto it. With Nearpod, I enjoy how interactive and versatile it can be. Students can type responses, make illustrations, review classmates’ responses, etc. Nearpod activities can be designed for individual, partner, or group activities. Moreover, the teacher can maintain control of the students’ screens, so that they do not get off-task.
    Clickers and Twitter are certainly capable of being employed in the middle school classroom, though, too. With clickers, students can privately respond to questions/statements and then view graphs of the whole class’ response. Teachers can then use individual students’ responses for their own records of students’ understanding. Though not one that I prefer to use for myself, Twitter is a familiar social networking tool that might appeal to middle school students. With proper preparation, teachers can devise appropriate and creative ways for Twitter to supplement lessons/projects and/or enhance the classroom community.

    Below, I have listed different ways that each of these technologies can be incorporated in the middle school classroom:
    VoiceThread can be used as an instructional tool, in that a teacher can design one about a specific topic for students to learn. For example, in social studies, a teacher might design a VoiceThread about the Middle Ages. Students could then view the presentation and respond to questions posed by the teacher or post personal reactions to the information presented. In a similar manner, individual or groups of students can design a VoiceThread on a certain topic to display their knowledge. For instance, each literature circle in a language arts classroom can design a project on their book. Perhaps they could include the different illustrations, vocabulary words, and connections that they discussed over the duration of reading their book. Students can also use VoiceThread to share writing pieces with classmates, teachers, parents, etc. This is a great way to enhance the publishing phase of the writing process, as it is an important and meaningful component to students’ work. Utilizing VoiceThread can encompass all of the language arts: reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, and visually representing.
    Clickers could be used as an anticipation guide to introduce a topic in any subject. For example, prior to exploring a certain theme in language arts, students can respond to different statements. This would allow them to convey their initial understandings/feelings/assumptions. Then, after reading and discussing the theme, the students can respond to the statements another time. They could then see how their thinking had changed. In math, students could use clickers as a way to respond to a survey. They would then use the class data to learn about different concepts (e.g. graphing data, analyzing data, etc.).
    Nearpod has a variety of pre-made lessons in all content areas. In social studies, Nearpod can be used to learn about the executive branch of government. One lesson on this topic entails students reviewing relevant vocabulary, touring the White House, identifying the required qualifications for becoming president. They respond to multiple-choice and short-answer questions along the way. In language arts, Nearpod can be used to learn about poetry. One lesson has students “decode” poetry by exploring a particular poem’s title and message. The students also compare the effect of merely reading the poem’s text to watching a video of its oral reading with the accompaniment of relevant images. Again, the students partake in polls and respond to open-ended questions.
    Twitter can be employed as classroom tool in numerous ways. In a science class, for example, students could take pictures of projects and “tweet” them to their classmates with a specified hashtag. They could then pose questions and positive comments to each other. If a special guest is to visit any classroom, students could post questions for the speaker prior to his or her arrival. Then, the speaker could view the questions and choose to address certain ones during his or her presentation. Students could additionally tweet questions after the presentation to facilitate a Q&A session. Another way to incorporate Twitter into the classroom is for students to be able to tweet questions about an assignment while they are outside of school. The teacher might address these questions as possible, or simply choose to address them during the next class meeting. For instance, if it were a math class, the teacher would gain an understanding of how the students grasp a certain concept, based off of their tweets on a homework assignment. In another scenario, perhaps the teacher would encourage students to tweet back-and-forth to each other to try to resolve issues together. If a student really needed more characters than allotted for a single tweet, he or she could always take a picture of written/typed question! Finally, Twitter could be employed as a reflection tool; students might post “entry” or “exit” tweets about what they learned, what they do not understand, etc.

  5. Over the past month we have used Nearpod, Voicethread, Twitter, and Clickers. I have enjoyed this experience and it has provided me with a lot of resources that I can now use in the classroom. In my opinion, Clickers and VoiceThread are great tools that I will use in my classroom. They were my favorite because they were both simple to use and are great ways to start a conversation and discussion among all the students in the classroom. These were all great forms of technology that I will definitely use in my future classroom.

    Nearpod
    I liked using nearpod in the classroom. I think it could be the most effective tool we have used so far. It was very easy to use and would be a great way to teach lessons in any classroom. One way I can think of would be in a science class. I feel as though teaching something like the life cycle would be very easy using nearpod. I think that students would really react well to nearpod and would be more likely to pay attention because of the technology in the classroom.

    VoiceThread
    Voicethread is a great way to teach lessons and communicate with other people that have opinions on your lesson. At first, I thought VoiceThread was going to be difficult to use. I was surprised when I was using it with ease in under 10 minutes. I think the option of adding audio and video would be great for teaching a class online. It was also a good way for other people to talk with the person who made the VoiceThread. I will definitely use this in my future classroom. I could use it to teach a lesson to the students and then have them respond or ask questions.

    Twitter
    I never thought Twitter could be used for teaching purposes. I do not think I would use Twitter in my classroom simply to avoid the issues that could arise, but I think it would be a great way to remind students of assignments or upcoming tests and quizzes. I think it is a great tool to communicate with students, but I think it would also be very easy to locate resources using hashtags or the search bar. It would be a great way for teachers from all over the world to share resources and ideas. I would probably use it to find resources, but not to communicate with students. It was a very good idea to incorporate Twitter in the classroom so that we know how to use it if we ever choose to use it in the classroom.

    Clickers
    I think using clickers in the classroom is a very good idea. I think it was easy to get answers from every student in the class. I thought it was amazing to see everyone’s answers on the board and then discuss why students thought that was. It was very effective to gauge how each student thought and why. It is usually very difficult to hear everyone’s opinion on a topic, but clickers made it easy. I would definitely use this in my classroom because it was a great way to have conversations.

  6. Twitter: I used to have my own Twitter account and I really didn’t enjoy it because of how little you could say and how awful grammar was presented in each tweet. However, I can see why it would be a great teacher tool to use in your classroom. I liked how we used it to get to know each other within our classroom. To be honest, I never fully understood the proper usage of hashtags, so it was nice to be given an example of a way we could use them with our students. I could see myself using this in my future classroom. One way I would use it would be to have my students give myself and other students feedback on certain presentations or lessons. In some of my classes at IUP we get feedback via paper slips, which just adds to the clutter we already deal with in our binders/folders. Another way I would want to incorporate Twitter in my classroom would be collecting background knowledge or having students provide me with information regarding novels that they have read or are reading that they like and why or what topics they would like to learn more about or are really intrigued by.
    VoiceThread: In class we used this program to raise awareness on diversity. Each one of us had a different type of diversity in which we created our VoiceThread on. I could see middle schoolers having a lot of fun with this program. I think out of all of the programs we used, this was my favorite one. I definitely want to use this in my classroom. I will even have my students watch and comment on each others’ like we did in class. This way there is a purpose behind creating them and we can know that they will actually be viewed. I want to allow my students to create them with either the idea of tutorials or a “get to know me.” This would be great to use in the Social Studies classroom about different time periods or the Science classroom about different topics like biomes or mitosis.
    Clickers: We used the clickers as a way to provide our stance on different topics. I personally would use clickers as much as I would use Twitter. They were not my favorite tools that we used, but they weren’t awful. I think when using clickers you have to be extra careful with how you word questions, especially when it is finding students’ opinions/stances on things. I would have my students use this as a quick assessment of knowledge. I would not use it for long answers because I think that would annoy my students. However, I would use it to check their spelling ability of new vocabulary words.

  7. Throughout our explorations of Nearpod, Voicethread, Clickers, and Twitter, I have discovered that these tools have great potential for use in classroom teaching and differentiating instruction.
    NEARPOD—Nearpod is one tool that I had never seen before, but I quickly caught on to it’s value for the classroom. There are already so many presentations already made on the main site. Many are free but the ones for sale are sold for a relatively reasonable price. I like many aspects of Nearpod presentations. The fact that the teacher controls the pace of the presentation definitely helps to keep the students on task. This technology also would cater to the needs of diverse learners and students of all levels of learning. I can definitely see myself using Nearpod in my future classroom. I would like to incorporate it in my English classes for purposes of reviewing for tests or introducing new content before a unit begins. It is also a great way to break up the monotony in a writing class. I could have my students instead draw and interact with the presentation to show their learning.
    VOICETHREAD—The concept of Voicethread is I think very clever and so great for whole class collaboration. I liked how it involved every student and brought together all of our perspectives into one place. It was really simple to create our own presentations and I liked how easy it was to comment on other people’s presentations as well. I saw one Voicethread that had two classes, from two different continents, collaborating on one Voicethread project. I would love to do that someday with my class. It would not only teach collaboration and content but also bring in the concept of diversity.
    CLICKERS—Although I do see the use of clickers in classroom instruction, I don’t know if I would use them in my own class. I like how useful they are for collecting answers from the students and showing the results in a graph form for the class. And the idea that students can freely answer anonymously without worry of people seeing their opinion is nice, although it might encourage some students to answer carelessly or take the opportunity to misbehave. These devices could definitely be useful for quizzes, discussion prompts, or surveys.
    TWITTER—Prior to this class, I had never used Twitter before. Despite the problems we encountered in class while using it as a sort of discussion board, I think I might use this tool in my future instruction. Especially with older students, such as 7th or 8th graders, Twitter is a tool that they are already comfortable using. They understand how it works and it’s usefulness is relatable. My group came up with the idea of using Twitter to gather pictures of projects and then refer to those pictures with each class as a guide for future projects. I think it would also be useful to teach the importance of internet safety. Students can create projects and include many general hashtags in their posts to see how far and wide their impact is.

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