Technology TPTs

Our faculty has been reading through the Total Participation Techniques presented by Persida Himmele and William Himmele in the book “Total Participation Techniques: Making Every Student an Active Learner.”  After reading through Chapter 7 I came to realize that there was a distinct lack of good technology based TPTs present in the book.  A few good tech TPTs are Google Forms, discussion boards, and the use of clickers.

If you are one of the blessed teachers with a classroom of tablets or laptops you have probably used one of the first two techniques.  They can also easily be done in a computer lab.  Google forms can be used to do a survey of student responses.  It even makes nice graphs for you.  Here is a good starting place for using Forms in the classroom.  I find the data from forms to also be more robust than many of the somewhat subjective and qualitative measures of other TPTs.  You can keep the data and view it later.  I think this enables for better intervention and documentation (think APPR here).

Discussion boards are another great way to document and get student feedback during a lesson.  I will commonly have students watch a video or complete some web-based activity while in the computer lab and have them comment on it in a discussion thread using Edmodo.  Many students are accustomed to doing this via Facebook or other social media and willingly write a blurb.  That’s really all that is needed to see if and what they’ve been thinking.

I have little experience with Clickers.  There are a myriad of types and I feel their short time as being a viable option in the classroom is coming to an end.  For those not familiar with them they are like remotes that each student has where they can enter responses.  Generally, the responses are collected in a program (often via PowerPoint) and then tabulated and reported.  I feel their time is almost over because there is much more versatility with any internet enabled device using Google Forms.

Finally, I’d like to make the point that your computer monitoring program can also track total participation.  We use Insight which shows all computer screens in the room on your teacher computer in the lab or library.  You can push your screen to all computers or push any students screen out as well.  My point here is that you know exactly where students stand in an assignment.  After a lesson on atoms, for example, you can instruct all student to open MS Paint and draw an atom.  You can view and assess their understanding in real time, not after the fact which is often the case.