The Tech Twins are very excited to share that we will be presenting live at the 2021 NCDA conference! What would have been a pre-recorded demo of different tools and techniques will now be an experiential time together! We’ll present of what we’ve discovered this past year that has worked well in our classes, and have a time for participants to try out these tools while also sharing what’s worked for them. A mutual learning experience! Hope you’re able to join us. Click here to register!
So many of us have been teaching via Zoom for so long that we may assume that everyone is familiar with Zoom and all of its features. Whether providing a workshop or teaching a class, it’s definitely a good idea to have familiarize participants with the tools that will be needed prior to launching into the presentation.
Here’s an example of a slide after my title and agenda slides:
So worth it to have everyone feel competent (and hopefully excited going into the presentation). I may not use all of these in a workshop, so would edit the slide as need be. Part of my rationale for using these different tools is definitely audience engagement, but I also want participants to leave their time with me having an extra bonus they didn’t realize they were getting, i.e., some cool new tech tools that they can use to improve their own presentations! Plus, if you have them in breakout rooms for even a couple of minutes, they’ll leave the presentation with an increased network.
If you think of it as a warmup activity, you’ll start your presentation with an engaged audience. So you could have a practice slide that has the agenda on it and ask them to mark on the agenda which of the items they are most excited about. They can use the stamp button or a text or make their mark. On that same slide, you might have a poll pre-prepared with the agenda items on them so they can practice voting. You could then have them move to breakout rooms for a 2 minute meet&greet and to come up with one more item they are interested in talking about, and when they come back, have them write their ideas in the chat.
If you want to entertain questions throughout the presentation, you’ll want to set up the rules for that, especially with a larger group. If I have a large group, I’ll typically ask someone to monitor the chat for me and let me know if a question comes in that way. I’ll also make sure to make a note in my notes at the end of every couple of slides to pause for and ask for questions.
Teaching about technology isn’t usually the focus of any of my presentations, so I wouldn’t ever do all of the activities on the slide above. However, I deeply desire for my participants to feel like the material I’m sharing is of value to them, and believe that if they can take the content I’m sharing and integrate it with their own experiences, they’ll learn something of value, and when they share that knowledge with the group, in turn, we all will.
What are QR codes? According to that all knowing source, Wikipedia, QR codes are defined as “a type of matrix barcode first designed in 1994 for the automotive industry in Japan. A barcode is a machine-readable optical label that contains information about the item to which it is attached.” Usually, it looks like a box (although it could be a different shape) with black/white dots, lines and squares in it.
Aren’t they old school? Just a fad? Several years ago, I (Deb) was teaching a technology and counseling course, and showed my students how to create a QR code as the new, cool thing. I was seeing them around town as a fast way to get to information instead of typing in a long url – but you had to download a QR scanner app to your phone, and there were very few tools out there to create them. And then, they started to disappear.
Enter the pandemic-and the re-emergence. As everything went virtual, I started noticing those funky little QR codes popping up everywhere – advertisements, in church (“scan to find out more”), and eventually, in my students’ class presentations. When they wanted the class to play a game, use a collaborative tool such as slido or drive, or look at an article or website, they included a QR Code. They didn’t even bother with tiny url. Realizing that this was a way they preferred to get their information, at least in presentations, I started incorporating them as well.
How to create and access QR codes. Creating a QR code has become much more simple. There are many different tools available, but I use QR code Generator. You can make anything a QR code, such as text, a website, a picture, a link to a video, music. For this software, you put the website url, or whatever it is you want to create a QR code for into the box on the left, and before you know it, the program will generate a QR code on the right. At that point, I typically screenshot the box/code and then put it into my slide.
Accessing the QR code. Students with a smartphone can use the camera function and hold it up to the QR code, and the url will be suggested for them to click on and follow. Because not everyone has a smartphone, I also always include a tiny url, especially for a long website address. In the case below, I include the QR code, the original website (mostly to show it is a reputable source), and the tiny.url code.
Only time will tell if QR codes are here to stay, or just a passing fad. With creating and accessing them becoming such a hassle-free process, my bet is that they will be here for the long haul. Now, if we could just get some artists involved to make them prettier to look at, that would be awesome!
Decided to mix it up a bit last week. I did still partner students in breakout rooms to come up with definitions and examples of assigned sampling modes, but wanted to have a quick activity that would require everybody’s involvement, so decided to go with a poll. The topic was using incentives in sampling. The results of some of the poll questions are below. As you can see, their results were split, which gave an opportunity to discuss (or not discuss, just tell) as time permitted.
I think it did what it was supposed to do, which was to gauge their knowledge, get everyone involved, and to mix things up in terms of how I was engaging them. We also used the annotation function in a poll way. See here:
I asked them to guess what the research says about characteristics of volunteers. So, a different way to poll them for their thoughts was to have them indicate on the slide above. That also worked well, and helped me to get through the points fairly quickly, just focusing on the ones where there was a split response.
Another way is to use the zoom tools in the participant area. You can ask yes/no questions (or true/false questions where true = yes; false = no). You could have them write in the chat as well, although, that’s a little harder to manage if you have a large group, doesn’t result in the concise data that the poll feature allows, and won’t work well with multiple questions. Still, it’s an option, and might be a nice way to mix things up a bit.
A low tech option for polling would be a thumbs up or thumbs down option, having participants hold their thumb up or down to yes/no questions.
One more cool tool for polling – 2 of my students introduced the class to coda.io, and one of their activities was a poll. The topic was on psychologists as academics, and more specifically, how to be culturally aware and respectful in the classroom. They created the poll below – and you can see that people had the option to add in their own ideas, too. I did, and immediately had several people give it an “up vote” or a yes. I like the interactivity/user ability to add to that this tool provides.
Would love to hear your ideas about how you poll your students, and process the results.
This past week, I decided I’d try taking the class outside of the zoom room to create something collaboratively. So, in class, I shared a tiny url of a google document that I had set up before class (with permissions so anyone who had the link could edit). We were working on research questions and hypotheses for their research paper. I had created a table before hand with their names in cells in the first column, and an example of what I was wanting them to do in the first row.
I gave them a few minutes without interrupting them to write, but as each one would finish their row, I would start providing feedback on it. I told them I was going to start commenting in the comment boxes, and they could adjust them. You can see how this looked below.
It did get a little chaotic in that they did not finish in sequential order, so I was having to remember whose I had commented on, and whose I hadn’t. From time to time, when I saw repeat mistakes, I would say “I’ve seen this a few times – in general, you want to avoid…”. It took about 30 minutes to do the activity, but they responded well to it. I’ve gotten feedback that the students are learning a lot not just from hearing feedback on their own projects, but are learning from my feedback to other students and conversations with each other. Helping the students hone in on their passions and translate those into viable research projects is also personally fulfilling to me. It’s a lot like career counseling, helping people give voice to their dreams and then working with them to translate those dreams into reality.