Eliminating Hand-Raising in My Classroom – In Search of an App #edchat #edtechchat #edtech

Perhaps I’m crazy, but one of my goals is to find a way to eliminate hand raising. Let me explain:

Some students are naturally shy and less likely to raise their hand when they have a question or an answer to provide. Or, if they do raise their hand, they may not raise it high and are probably not vocal, which lessens the probability that I will get over to them as soon as they have a question or that they will be called on first. Additionally, some students process more quickly than others, and students who answer questions more slowly may not always have the time needed to form a response.

The format of my class is this: students watch a video for homework, which will equip them with the fundamentals for class discussion. In class, we typically start with a discussion at the board, delving a bit deeper into the groundwork that was laid in the video students watched before class and clarifying any lingering questions. This takes between 5-10 minutes. From here, we usually go into problem solving. Students tend to work in groups to complete the assigned problems. Obviously, they run into questions that they need help on. By this point in the year, they are doing a good job consulting their group members and classmates before asking me, but if that doesn’t help, they know that they should ask me. And since all students in the class are working to master the same material at the same time, they obviously have a fair amount of questions for me within a class period. And so here is where the hand-raising thing comes in.

I’m looking for a phone app (most students have iPhones) that would do the following:
Student end: when a student needs help, they will click a button in the app
Teacher end: this will function much like a to-do list. As students request help, their names will be added to my “to-do” list, in the order they asked for help. When I have resolved their question, I will check their name off and it will be removed from my list so that I can get to the next student on the list. I would love to be able to consult the “done” list after class to see who needed my help most for the day.

In my ideal world, this app would include 2 options for students: 1. request help from teacher; 2. request help from classmate. Students would be able to view who has requested “help from classmate” in the to-do list fashion I describe in the “teacher end” view of the app above. When a student solves a classmate’s question, they will mark resolved. The app will keep track of who resolved the question so that I will have a record of who has given and received help within a period.

These tools will help me: 1. get around the room most effectively and identify individual questions and 2. promote students helping their classmates work through problems. Being able to take note of the peer-to-peer tutoring going on during class will help me properly acknowledge students who are being helpful.

So, does anyone know of a phone app (or could be web-based, just not iPad specific) that might be able to help me achieve my goals? Or can anyone build such an app? Thoughts appreciated!

16 thoughts on “Eliminating Hand-Raising in My Classroom – In Search of an App #edchat #edtechchat #edtech

  1. Thank you for posting this — it reminded me of something I did at the beginning of the year that worked really well, but I forgot to continue doing it!

    I set up a short answer quick-question in Socrative, unlimited responses, and asked students to respond with their specific question. That way I can prioritize my walk around the classroom, visiting the quick questions before tackling the deeper stuff. Socrative will keep the responses in the order they were submitted, and has me the option of removing responses. Whether or not you remove the responses, the final report at the end will still include everything.

  2. Geddit has the best raise hand feature that only you can see, and kids can check in with you as to whether they are understanding :) letsgeddit.com

    • Mandy, thanks for the suggestion on using Geddit. I’ve never heard of this one. Just played around and it looks like it might be perfect! I don’t think it will address the students helping students piece, but I don’t specifically need to use tech to address that one… Thanks again!

  3. Stacey,

    I was wondering the same thing as your description. Since it is 2 years later have you found something that work good for your classroom?

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