Day 31: Making my life harder

9 11 2009

Today we took a quiz using SurveyGizmo; it worked perfectly. Two students had technical difficulties; one brought his laptop (since he knew his phone was dead and he would need it) so he moved down to the front row and took the quiz just like everyone else. A second student had problems and couldn’t get on, but he didn’t say anything to me until class ended. I told him he would need to come in and make up the quiz. I’m not sure he ever did…

After the quiz, I did the unthinkable and told the students to stow their gizmos, after which we had an old-fashioned class day. In two ways this was great: it was a change of pace from what we usually do, and the kid on the front row didn’t spend the entire day playing an online combat game. As far as the rest of the class, my material was great and my delivery was energetic, but by the time it was over, I was fairly sure it had been a bit of a bust. To be quite honest, I’m afraid I’m becoming accustomed to the interaction I get when we use the iPhone in class. In just a few weeks I think I’ve trained the students to expect something more than just a lecture, and now they see that as somehow inferior. Of course I could be totally wrong, but if you teach you know that there are class days when you just know it didn’t work, and this was one of those days.

By the way, earlier in the week I did identify a new use for the online quizzes: signing up for events. We have done this twice now, and the sign up includes only one question: their name. After the students submit this, I get a standard spreadsheet with the list. Works great for almost anything they need to opt into, and it beats an illegibly scrawled sign-up sheet or a bunch of response e-mails.

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