Assessing students’ learning throughout your teaching is crucial. By knowing what students do and do not understand, you are quickly able to change teaching tactics and facilitate as much progression as possible
. Assessments, as we all know, can take the form of tests and exams. These provide a unanimous picture of a student’s understanding. However, these are one offs, and for day in day out teaching, we require quick, easy methods to provide us with a snapshot of our class’s learning.
Twitter can help. Here’s how.
Twitter has recently released their new polls feature. This allows you to set up a quick poll that canvasses your followers for their opinion. As a teacher, you can quickly and easily set one of these up to discover learning.
When you log in to your profile, click on the box that enables the posting of new tweets. When you expand the box, you’ll see the button to create a poll. Click it.
Once you have clicked this button, you can set up your question and the responses your students can vote on. This could be a subjective assessment of the overall lesson….
You can also drill down into particular aspects of the lesson (apologies for the question, I’m a chemist!)
You can even run quizzes to test overall understanding (although this could lead to all of your followers participating like some sort of Twitter pub quiz)
- It’s quick
- Student engagement will increase
- It can be done at home
- It can be used creatively for many different situations
- It’s anonymous – Pupils may feel more inclined to give an accurate response if they feel they can do so without their friends knowing they don’t understand something
- Did I mention, it’s quick?
Potential Problems & Solutions
- Your students may not have access to the internet / a smartphone / a computer – to solve this problem, you can book out laptops for your lesson, encourage use of the library etc
- You may get responses from people who do not belong to your college or teaching group – solution is to create separate accounts for your teaching groups. You can then make these accounts private and get your students to request access to them. That way, you can control your followers to only the members of your class
- It’s anonymous – I’ve put this in both as it can be a drawback not being able to see who doesn’t understand. One solution for this is to encourage direct messaging from pupils who have issues. This obviously depends on your institution’s social media policy
Polls are a great way to assess your students’ learning. It could be provide a great avenue for those students who have previously claimed they understand a topic whilst in the cold light of the classroom, but who don’t really understand. The anonymity and ability to provide a true reflection will enable pupils to provide an accurate assessment of where they feel they are at. Coupled with support through direct messaging, Twitter could open up a whole new avenue of subjective assessment and bring a new clarity to your teaching.
Please comment below if you feel there are constraints to using Twitter in this way.