It takes even more guts to ask the students for feedback on an activity. Every teacher wants to believe that they “rocked the house,” but it’s easy to convince yourself, in the absence of actual data, that an activity was fun and helped students learn because…well…it looked fun.
And it looked like students were learning the material. Recently, my students needed to learn a timeline for a history unit. I “gamified” the process by breaking them into teams, instructing them to design games which would incorporate essential information. The next week, we played them. Finally, they took the quiz. I don’t a 10 year longitudinal studies with a control group to determine if Gamifying the Timeline was objectively effective in teaching the material. But I am very interested in whether the students perceived it as fun and productive.
It certainly looked fun.
But it was a 2 class investment, and if it didn’t meet the goals, well — I needed to know.
Was it actually fun? Did they learn anything?
I used a non-graded “ticket” from exitticket.org (an excellent platform for formative assessment) to ask:
- Did you have fun?
- Did it help you learn the material?
(Caveat: some students may have said “yes” because they prefer making and playing games to whatever they imagine the alternative to be – but I generally find that when they don’t like something, they’re happy to tell me. Very happy to tell me.)
Here’s what I learned about “Gamifying the Timeline.”
The second question asked, “What would you do to make it better, next year.” From the 10 minutes it took to create the poll on exitticket.org, I gathered enough feedback to know that it was worth investing 2 classes into the activity and I gleaned 5 ways to make it more efficient next year.
What activities have you designed that you’d like fast-feedback on?