The introduction of a group project assignment can be met with a chorus of groans from your students. Group projects are often necessary for our classes. They’re also good preparation for your students’ futures in the workplace. Most students picture their future work life as highly independent but the truth is, most jobs rely on employees working in groups constantly. Here’s how you can use iClicker to manage group projects more effectively and help your students value the learning experience more.
Sorting Into Groups
Instructors often turn to group work when they want their students to gain experience collaborating with new people. However, when students self-select their partners, they generally pick the same students with whom they feel most familiar. Using iClicker to form groups can shake up a classroom and inspire new relationships in the classroom.
Try an activity where you open a multiple-choice poll and click on the results before your students vote. Challenge your students to “balance the bars” Once the bars are balanced (and this can take a while!) ask all the students who voted A to gather in one spot, all the students who voted B to gather in another spot, and so on. This can break your class up in a new way and easily segue into a more dynamic group.
iClicker is Ideal for Groups of Two
Peer Instruction (PI) is a proven way to move students from passive observation to active learning. With this student-centered type of instruction, students learn by explaining core concepts to each other under the guidance of their instructor.
Encourage students to Think, Pair, Share. First, challenge them to Think with an iClicker question. Instead of revealing the correct answer, ask students to Pair with another student who has a different answer. Challenge students to come to a consensus on the correct answer, then Share their results with the class.
When you display the results the first time, instruct your students to find peers who picked a different answer. This enlivens your classrooms and encourages students to make connections with more of their classmates.
Managing Polling Activities in Groups
Often students work on problem sets or complex challenges in group settings. Unfortunately, some groups see finishing the exercises as the goal instead of exploring the materials deeply and coming to a consensus. On the other hand, some groups dawdle and fail to finish the work due to shyness or other factors. With iClicker, your students work on one question at a time, keeping the class in sync with each other.
To keep answers from the same group together, use Short Answer as your response type and ask students to respond with their group name at the start of their response. This will easily group responses together while requiring every student to stay engaged in the group activity.
Using Assignments for Group Work
iClicker Assignments makes it easy to keep group work separate from the polling questions you’re already asking in your classes. With Assignments, groups of students are able to work through a set of iClicker questions on their devices at their own pace.
Students can work through a lab activity, answer a set of discussion questions, or conduct a peer review of course writing and they can do it in groups, no matter where the group is located. iClicker Assignments work for groups in your physical classroom or with breakout groups online!