Day 29: How YOU doin?

2 11 2009

Today we tested my theory that we were still having connectivity problems in our classroom. As class began, I asked all the students with iPhones to switch from wi-fi to 3G. Some of them had been doing this already, since it seemed to alleviate some of the connectivity issues they experienced. Naturally, I had a few students who did not know how to make this switch, and I told them it was not a big deal. Once half the class was switched over, connectivity was smooth for the rest of the day.

We took a quiz today using Survey Gizmo; I e-mailed the link to the class just before starting time, then provided the password in class. Note to self: send the link earlier in the day so they all have it already resident on their devices. This just saves the hassle of two or three having to find it during class time.

For me, one of the huge drawbacks of large class sections is the difficulty in gauging how the students are doing. In particular, my first-semester freshmen are at some risk of getting lost in the crowd, falling behind, and giving up. Read the rest of this entry »

Day 18: Keeping Students Engaged

2 10 2009

Today, a Friday, is a project day, the last one before the students do their ‘loan review’ and request $500 actual cash from the college for their project. Some are excited, a few are terrified. We spend attendance time trying to revert to an old-school method: a seating chart. I am reminded that students are often not intuitive enough to look at the chart and know where they sit. Of the 6 pages I pass out, 5 come back. I remember why I don’t take roll in my senior class (but I’m still convinced I need to track it in this one). One of my budding inventors has a proposal for me: bar codes, which can be read very quickly and easily. I’ll look into it.

Next Monday will be a big connected learning day. I’ve submitted a proposal to a conference in March to present my preliminary findings. One major question: do students really prefer the electronic format for quizzes, or do they just prefer the instant feedback? Read the rest of this entry »