Audience Response System (aka clickers)
You don't have to abandon the idea of using personal clickers in your class when your school isn't willing to shell out more than $1200 for an audience response system. Text The Mob allows a user to create multiple choice questions, polls, and open-ended questions that can be answered by SMS. All the teacher needs to do is set it up on a projector. The responses show up in real time and are identified by the last 4 digits of the students' cell number. This allows students who normally don't participate to interact anonymously. Teachers can also record these numbers before hand and use them to assess individual performance. Since it's the incomplete cell number teachers won't have to worry about accusations of keeping students' personal phone numbers.
In moments you will receive a text back with a list of definitions matching the word disdain. I know because I did just that at the start of this post when I wanted to make sure I was using the word correctly in the first sentence. Think of the possibilities if all of your students had a comprehensive dictionary available at their fingertips. Need an example? Next time you take a class trip to the zoo, have students define the animals' scientific names that are displayed in front of each exhibit. A later discussion on these names could be a great way to explore species and taxonomy. Other Google SMS tricks are available here.
Verbal Response/Fluency Practice
Google Voice comes in. This beta service proves the user (presumably the teacher) with a free phone number that comes with voice mail that is automatically transcribed and emailed. This is ideal for several reasons. First, the phone number does not have to be connected to a working phone (so students have no direct way to call the teacher). Second, the teacher has two ways of assessing student work – aurally and by reading the transcript. The only downside – Google Voice has yet to go public. To get on the list for an invite code, sign up here. There are other pay services (Jott, Gabcast, Gcast) that work in a similar way, but hands down, Google Voice is the best option.
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