Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2019

ClassroomQ

Minimize classroom distractions with virtual hand-raising tool

Subjects & skills
Subjects
N/A

Skills
  • Character & SEL
  • Communication & Collaboration
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
3–12
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Pros: Learning to use the tool takes no time at all, and there's some valuable student-centric data to be had.

Cons: Teachers can't communicate back to students on the site, and for the majority of features, the premium version is required.

Bottom Line: An easy way to gauge understanding, adjust instruction, and provide student support in real time.

With its simple interface, teachers may not see much potential in ClassroomQ at first. But think about that moment when you set the kids loose on an assignment, only to look up and see 15 hands in the air: You'd probably love a little help cutting back on that particular type of classroom chaos. This tool can solve that problem and be an eye-opener for self-reflection. Are there gaps in your instruction or is there something you need to re-teach? Are your classroom routines unclear? For example, if a lot of students are asking what to do when they're finished with an assignment, you might be missing some fundamental classroom-management techniques that help students become self-directed, independent learners. 

Use the site as an opportunity to help kids build self-confidence by encouraging them to persevere as they wait, maybe figuring out their own answers as they get nearer to the front of the line. Then they can just cancel their place in line, making room for someone else to move up in the queue. At the end of the session, export the data to determine which students will need later follow-up to ensure they're grasping concepts and retaining knowledge.

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ClassroomQ is a web-based virtual hand-raising tool that lets kids ask questions and wait in a queue for their teacher's response. Teachers share a simple class code, and then students can join a session and tap a button to request assistance when they need it. Kids can include an optional question or comment, which teachers can see in the queue, and students will be updated as their place in line changes. Teachers can easily tap to delete a student's name once they've addressed the issue. 

Students can cancel their request with a simple tap or click, but they'll lose their place in line if they do. If teachers want to see the data for the class, they can download session logs and look for trends in students who are (or aren't) asking questions, the number of requests per student, and the kinds of questions and comments submitted. Part of the tool's strength lies in its simplicity, but it would be a bonus if teachers -- or even peers -- could respond with feedback. Another useful addition would be a place where teachers could indicate via checkboxes or comments whether a student's issue was resolved or needs follow-up in later sessions.

Teaching students how to ask questions helps them develop critical-thinking skills, especially if they learn to discern between what they do and don't understand before they ask. Giving students the opportunity to ask for assistance without fanfare and to cancel their request if they figure it out can empower students to stay in the flow of learning, secure in the knowledge that help is a tap away. Plus, since kids can write their comments or questions, teachers can see them in the queue. This lets teachers see at a glance whether multiple students are stuck in the same place and adjust instruction accordingly.

ClassroomQ provides a way to cut down on classroom distractions, but teachers should be wary of creating dependent students who give up, knowing they can just ask the teacher and then wait. Since there's no way to message a student back on the platform, and the tool itself doesn't give students helpful hints for staying on track, you'll want procedures in place to ensure students will continue working while they wait their turn. One of the more useful features is the ability to see how many times a student has requested assistance. Having the option to download this data enables teachers to tailor their instruction via preferential seating, more detailed up-front instructions, remediation, and informing parents of how they can support students at home. 

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Kids will like the chance to ask their questions quickly and easily, but teachers will want to put some strategies in place to ensure kids keep working while they wait.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

While the simplicity of the tool is a plus, teacher and peer feedback capabilities would help students find assistance in ways that best fit their needs. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

There's almost no learning curve, and the tool provides a way for both struggling and advanced students to get help; the developer has some neat ideas for use via its social media feeds.


Common Sense Reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

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