If used at the start of class, you could easily group students for subsequent class work. Are your notes ready? Did you finish last night's reading assignment? Which image is Peru? A quick poll can give you a sense of where your students fit. Polls can also help you handle logistical issues, or add interactivity to direct instruction: Do we need a library day? Maximize transition times using a discussion prompt like "Describe an energy transfer" as a setup for the next activity.
Teachers may find the Social Q&A tool disruptive during lecture or classwork, but it's nevertheless useful for questions to address later. The Confusion Barometer can give you a sense of how the class is feeling, but won't be useful in grouping or remediation. For math teachers, equation formatting is available.
If collecting data on individual students over time is important, have students make an account. Joining as a guest (the typical route) may be problematic to long-term data collection, especially if students use different devices over time.Continue reading Show less
GoSoapBox is a web-based student response system -- it allows students to submit replies online (or with a mobile device) -- no clickers required. Start-up takes mere minutes, with teachers creating events (classes) that students join by entering an access code. Students are required to provide names by default, but only the teacher sees these. Teachers can adjust settings in the Moderation Panel, which serves as a sort of teacher dashboard.
Teachers can use the site's polling feature to ask quick questions (i.e., "Did you read Chapter 5?"). As students respond, all users can see the results graphically, in real time. The Confusion Barometer tool allows students to toggle their status from "getting it" to "confused." With the Social Q&A, students can anonymously type a question, instead of raising their hand to ask. Users can view and vote on these, and teachers can mark them as answered. The Discussions tool allows group members to comment -- anonymously, if desired -- on a post. There's also a quiz feature with automatic scoring.
GoSoapBox expedites certain teacher tasks, in many ways simplifying and enriching formative assessment. Instead of asking about last week's project and tallying hands, a teacher simply opens a poll. And bonus -- while kids are submitting answers, it might just be easier to submit attendance. The quiz feature can also be a real time saver, though the ability to record data long-term is iffy. Nevertheless, the site scores quizzes (multiple choice) and gives teacher-supplied feedback, though individualized comments aren't possible. Kids will find the site intuitive and will enjoy using it as much as they enjoy clicking a clicker.
There are caveats, of course. Without handy computer access or a 1:1 program, students will need to use their own devices, which can present equity issues. Also, while students' anonymity can be a useful -- and empowering -- tool for certain activities, it could also create disruptions in certain situations. If using GoSoapBox's anonymous features, it's important to scaffold activities with clear standards for behavior and communication, including respectful disagreement. Overall, teachers may want to consider some of the larger implications here. Depending on how (and how often) they're used, tools like GoSoapBox could foster greater engagement and inclusion during class discussions; they could also take real-time attention away from the students themselves.