Here’s how you can make your face to face lessons more inclusive and interactive quickly and simply by using a chat session during class, and open up a range of benefits that aren’t immediately apparent.
How does it work?
Before a face to face lesson or lecture begins, the tutor/teacher/TA opens or schedules a chat room in the course on the school’s, organisation’s, college’s, university’s, or institution’s Moodle*. All the class participants login and join the chat session. They can use their laptops, netbooks, or mobile devices. Now everyone can submit questions, requests, and comments and everyone can see each others’ during the lesson or lecture.
*Or any chat client on an elearning platform that has appropriate user management, privacy, and oversight facilities (e.g. most commercial chat services such as Facebook, Google+ don’t allow right of audit, which is necessary addressing ethical and behavioural issues), and that admins, teachers, TAs, and learners can access transcripts of previous sessions for learning and professional development (PD) purposes.
How does this affect the classroom dynamic?
- All learners, even in a relatively large class, have the opportunity to participate in significant and meaningful ways.
- Learners don’t have to raise their hands to interrupt the flow of the class just to have their question, request, or comment expressed and considered.
- Less gregarious learners don’t have to compete for attention/get noticed and can therefore contribute their questions, requests, or comments more easily; everyone has an equal voice.
- Learners can see their peers’ questions, requests, or comments whether they are addressed/focused on or not in the lesson.
- Teachers/tutors can choose which questions, requests, and comments, in what order, and when to address/focus on.
- Points raised by learners can be dealt with appropriately and in a timely manner and never “get lost in the moment.”
- The transcript of the chat session is an invaluable record of what actually happened and when during the class, making it an excellent resource for critical reflection.
- Teachers/tutors can review the transcript to see where the lesson could be improved and/or consider alternatives.
- Teachers/tutors can see who’s participating more or less than they should be and find out why.
- Teachers/tutors can assess learners based on their participation both quantitively and qualitatively even if it didn’t get addressed/focused on in class.
- There’s a record of questions, requests, and comments that it may not have been appropriate to address/focus on during the lesson but could provide productive avenues of inquiry in subsequent classes.
Could it also get learners off of Facebook during class?