As an instructor, I want to know that my students are engaged in the content. But, whether in an online zoom room or face-to-face, it’s impossible to tell if they are on task if I say “Take five minutes and go work on this yourself.” Some will, others won’t. The one’s who don’t often rely on the extraverts in the class to offer up what they’re working on, and there’s never enough time to see everyone’s examples, so they are let off the hook. One option, is to make them pair up and share what they’ve been doing, but even then, I’m not convinced that meaningful conversations are really going on as opposed to discussion of weekend plans. And that might be OK – we all need that kind of connection – but the problem comes when they have an actual assignment that requires the skills we just “practiced” and they do poorly on that, and I have to spend more time going back over the material.
Enter in a new tool I just found: https://miniwebtool.com/random-name-picker/
It’s not the prettiest thing -when you show it, it includes ads and all – but it is efficient and practical. You input the names of your students and then choose the # of names you want the randomizer to choose at once.
Click on pick a random name:
It then spins a pretty wheel that rotates through all the names, building the anticipation:
And then lists the winners like this:
The first time I did it, and called on the winners to share, there was the typical “Oh, I didn’t write anything down” reaction. But, as the group realized that it was truly random, and you might be called on multiple times, or not at all, and every time, it was random, it increased not only their engagement in the activity, but also after I had the 2 or 3 share, I had others wanting to share their examples, so left time for that. You can always remove a name from the list if they’ve been chosen a few times and you want to give others a chance, too. It was fun to hear their chatter as they watched the wheel spin, as well – brought an extra excitement to the room.
Happy to share this fun and practical tool. Hope it works for you!