Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I told my Algebra 2 class at the beginning of the year that I wanted to try and do some stuff with their cell phones... unfortunately, I haven't really followed up with that! I used Textmarks during the first couple of months to keep them updated on the nightly assignment (if they needed it) but after we got out of September no one texted it anymore, so it went by the wayside.

Today, I finally told them to get out their phones to use in class. It's funny to tell them that - a lot of the kids gave me some weird looks like, "Really? Did you just say to get out my phone?" I sat last night and set up some multiple choice polls on PollEverywhere. You can set up an unlimited number of polls with at most 30 responses for each one (for free). Then, about 5 minutes after I gave them their review sheet today, I posted the first poll. I asked them to text in to vote for what they thought the answer to the first question on the review sheet was... and it looks like it was a good thing that I did that! (The correct answer was the first one.) Then I wrote the problem on the board and was able to explain how to solve it correctly.

It didn't go perfectly - but does anything ever? We had shortened classes today because of an early dismissal, so after going over some problems from yesterday's assignment there really wasn't much time for the kids to work and text in their answers. What I did like best about the activity was that the kids were able to see some options for answers and talked with each other about which one was right and why.

As usual, some of the kids didn't participate - probably both because they didn't have phones and just didn't want to. I'm ok with that; I think the kids that tried enjoyed it and hopefully fixed some problems before tomorrow's test. If I do this again (and I probably will) I'll have to figure out how to get more kids involved. I may just need to reserve a cart of computers and let the kids vote via the internet.

We'll see. But it was definitely a different exercise for the kids! (One, who normally isn't all that excited about things, made a point of asking me what website it was and seemed to think it was pretty cool. :) )


Jimbo Lamb said...

When using Textmarks, you can set it up so that students can subscribe to the message, so they don't have to take the time to send in the keyword every day. It automatically sends out when updated. As an added bonus, you can enable it so that students could set up the time of delivery, which could be a great reminder of 1) what the homework is and 2) it's time to do the homework.

KFouss said...

Thanks! I haven't played with TextMarks too much but did notice that have a subscriber service. I'll definitely encourage that next year. And the time of delivery thing is neat, too.