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Posts Tagged ‘quiz

How-to resources are a dime a dozen. You can find answers in YouTube, Wikipedia, and more.

But it is just as important, if not more so, to learn from mistakes. These lessons are not shared as openly, honestly, or reflectively because we dislike the taste of humble pie.

Here is an example of something I experienced recently. While signing in for a lunch, a host told me that I could scan a QR code to take a ten-question quiz on going green.

Good idea, right?

Not really. The invitation was followed immediately with a hurried “You do not have to if you do not want to.” Why invite someone to participate and then hold it back?

Ten questions was also too many given how the queue was just two persons long. I would have spent more time taking the quiz and blocking the way than just signing in.

But what really made me put my phone back into my pocket was the prizes. They were small plastic containers. They were reusable, but not fully aligned to the green message.

So here are three quizzing principles:

  1. If you leverage on a learner’s motivation to self-assess, do not stand in their way.
  2. The number of questions in the quiz should take into account the context in which the assessment takes place.
  3. The quiz should be constructively aligned to the original learning outcomes.
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Talks are the least effectiveness way to effect change, but they are a necessary evil because people still organise them and the talks can have extensive reach.

But when I conduct talks, seminars, or keynotes, I ensure that I interact with my audience richly in a few ways.

Why do this? Most speakers will use an “e” word like engagement or even entertainment. I do not play these games because I know my participants are smarter than to fall for that.

I use tools to interact so that my audience (listeners) become participants (thinkers, doers). I do not wish to merely engage, I want to participants to take ownership of learning and responsibility of action.

Beth Kanter shared some ideas last week. I am weighing in on my own and I suggest free tools combined with basic principles of educational psychology.

A backchannel is an online space for participants to comment, discuss, and ask questions while I am speaking or after I have asked them to consider an issue.

My favourite backchannel tools are Twitter and TodaysMeet.

Twitter is great when an organiser already has one or more event #hashtags that participants can use. This presumes that a sizeable number of participants already use Twitter or are willing to get on it quickly.

Twitter backchannel.

TodaysMeet is better when participants have not committed to any particular platform. If they can text or SMS, then can use TodaysMeet.

With my own free TodaysMeet account, I can create an online text-based interaction space and define how long it will be open for. I then invite participants to it by sharing the access URL. (Pro tip: Create a custom URL with and a QR code with this generator.)

One of the most recent versions of Google Slides lets you invite questions from the audience. The URL for participants to submit questions appears at the top of your slides and they can vote up the best questions. (Read my review of Google Slides audience tool.)

Audience Tool URL as overlay.

This is not quite a backchannel because it is not designed for chatter. It favours focused queries. This tool might be better for less adventurous participants who are not used to switching quickly between tasks.

Whatever the backchannel tool, its use must be guided by sound educational principles. You might want to provide participants with a space to be heard immediately instead of waiting till the end, or you want to monitor their thoughts, sense their doubts, or get feedback.

The visualisations I am referring to are not images and videos. These are show-and-tell elements which are attempts to engage, but have little to do with interacting with participants.

My most common strategy of participative visualisation is to incorporate data collecting and collating tools like Google Forms and AnswerGarden.

Both these tools require user inputs that can be visualised. For example, I could ask the room which major phone platform they are on: Android, iOS, other in a Google Form.

The data they provide is collated in a Google Sheet and can be visualised in a pie chart or bar graph. The relative proportions are more obvious to see than asking the participants to raise their hands.

There are many tools that do what Google Forms and Sheets do, possibly a bit quicker and slicker. But these normally come at a premium. The GSuite is free.

One way to visualise a group’s grasp of concepts is to use a word cloud. For example, I am fond of asking participants what they consider the most important 21st century competencies.

AnswerGarden word cloud.

I invite them to share words or short phrases in an AnswerGarden in brainstorming mode. The most commonly cited concepts appear large while the less common ones become small.

The purpose of such illustrations is not just to leverage on the fact that we are visual creatures and the visuals make an immediate impact. I want participants to get involved in real time and this helps also me illustrate how the technology enables more current forms of learning and work.

One of the worst things I could do as a speaker is talk about something that the audience has no interest in. As it is, some or most of the people there might be present as an obligation and not by choice. So I try to find out what they might want to learn.

I often use Google Forms to find out beforehand and present the popular suggested topics in the form of a chart.

With smaller seminars, I might use Dotstorming to determine which direction to take midway through the event. I ask participants to suggest areas to explore and they vote on topics each others topics.

Dotstorming is similar to Padlet in that users input ideas on online stickies. However, Dotstorming allows me to let them vote on the best ideas and arrange the notes by popularity.

Dotstorming example.

The idea here is to give the participant a say in what gets covered or uncovered. It is about providing and fulfilling user choice instead of focusing on a potentially irrelevant curriculum or plan.

My perennial favourite for quick-quizzing participants is Flubaroo, an add-on to Google Forms for auto-grading quizzes as well as providing feedback and answers to my learners.

Google Forms has since upped its game to offer quiz-like functions, but it still lags behind the leader, Flubaroo in some ways. This site provides a detailed breakdown of a Forms quiz vs a Flubaroo one.

Quiz is coming!

The point of quizzing is not just to keep participants on their toes. Some might be driven by such a challenge, but all benefit from evaluating themselves in terms of learning. The results can also be an indicator of how much my talk was understood.

I am fond of using Padlet and Google Forms for pitstops and one-minute papers.

Pitstops are pauses in my sessions for participants to collect their thoughts and think of questions. They are an opportunity for them to see if they can link the negotiated outcomes with their current state of learning, and to see where they still need to go.

A takeaway or “dabao” (in local vernacular) is a terminal activity in which I ask participants to tell me their biggest learning outcome from the session.

In both I find that there is an even mix of planned and unplanned learning outcomes. This is a good thing because the internalisation and ownership of learning is important, not just the blind reception of information.

I do not only like to connect with participants before and during a talk, but also after it. I do so a few ways.

I leave my social media information in one of the final slides.

Contact me.

If I use a backchannel, participants can contact me indefinitely on Twitter and up to several days or weeks after on TodaysMeet.

I also use my blog to reflect on the events and to answer questions I might not have been able to address during the session.

Yesterday I shared some visual design considerations I take for my talks. Today I focus on interaction design.

My latest effort is a step down from what I normally do. I am designing for lower grade interaction by leaving out a backchannel throughout the session and one-minute paper at the end.

I am doing this because I understand my overseas audience. It is a place I have been invited to every year since 2013 and the mobile connection is unpredictable. It is not that they are unresponsive; they just cannot reliably connect to the Internet.

That said, I am still relying on two online tools that require low bandwidth from the participants.

My go-to presentation platform is Google Slides because it is free, flexible, and online. I can edit the content up to the last minute and share the slides with my audience.

Video source

In terms of interaction, I intend to try Google Slide’s “new” Q&A tool since I am not relying on my preferred tool, TodaysMeet. The audience can participate by suggesting and ranking questions.

I will also use Google Form’s quiz and auto-grading feature (similar to Flubaroo). I will create this experience for my participant as an introduction to being information literate and to establish the themes of my session.

Mobile access to online quiz and themes of my session.

I anticipate that most participants will be armed with their own phones and this will also be message about leveraging on BYOD and personal forms of learning.

Most talks seem to focus on the talk. I plan mine with lessons from educational psychology and visual design principles. I try to focus on listening as I talk in order to change minds. This is effort that often goes unappreciated, but I know that it matters.

I tweeted this yesterday.

It is sad because two parties resort to cheating.

The teachers are cheating themselves if they think that quizzes will ensure learning or student effort. In doing so, they also cheat students of better online learning experiences.

The students are cheating because they have not taken ownership of material they have been told to learn. They would rather take shortcuts because the work seems meaningless.

It is funny because of the punitive workarounds both sides use.

Teachers try to reduce or prevent cheating by implementing technical workarounds with the help of IT or backend folk.

The students get creative with different methods like multiple instances of open browsers or working in small groups.

Perhaps these moves are not funny. They are laughable because they are all trying to beat a legacy system designed to sieve and sort for the industrial and paper age. That is how things get sad again.

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I am halfway through conducting a series of talks on Creative Commons for the PGDE cohort of student teachers in NIE.

[SlideShare] [Google Presentation]

I am almost enjoying the practice of lecturing, a strategy that I thought I had long abandoned.

I have to remind myself that didactic teaching has its moments provided it is used sparingly and only if you are a charismatic storyteller.

I do not consider myself to be in that last category even if a few enjoy listening to me. But I am an experimenter and risk-taker. I have tried to create more interactive lectures, “participates” instead of “talks”.

Of the three backchannels I have used, Facebook has been the most successful if you go by the number of responses. Most participants are not on Twitter or do not know how to use hashtags.

LinoIt is in the middle and the quality of responses there is better. One sticky on LinoIt reads: Much prefer linoit/twitter as a platform than facebook. Less intrusive.

What did I learn? Provide more than one backchannel. But when you do that, it gets harder to monitor and respond. Future implementation? I might consider using just Facebook and LinoIt (for choice) or LinoIt alone (to provide a neutral platform).

The five-question online quiz I included at the end offered a bonus I did not plan on. It was a way of taking attendance! I know that at least 50, 139, and 210 student teachers attended sessions 1, 2 and 3 respectively. I know who attended and how many times they attempted the quiz.

Could participants use some other name in the quiz? Yes, but only if they wanted to get singled out or have their integrity questioned as teachers-to-be. They would also lose a chance to win a small prize for getting all the answers right and quickly.

Some might say that lecturing as a dying art. They should try designing and implementing an interactive lecture.

Others might just point out that lectures should just die. Or be put to death. (Not good storytelling though, because that is different.)

In this day and age and with the new expectations of learners, boring face-to-face lectures are on death row. Making them interactive just gives them a last meal to make them feel good one last time.

So far my EdPsych2 classes have been using Google Docs as a platform for collaboratively written articles, personal notes and activity templates. We have also used Google Presentations for (duh!) presentations, and Google Forms and Spreadsheets for surveys and class administration. Everything has been “held together” by a class wiki hosted by Google Sites.

The going has been good so far, so good that I am tempted to jump ship from PBworks. I like how well integrated elements like YouTube and Picasa are with Google Sites (they are Google’s after all). There is less lag with Google than with PBworks. But I long for page-level access control (admin, editor, writer, reader) and more templates to jazz up wikis or forms. In the latter case, a Sites-hosted wiki looks like a boxy, cream-coloured PC while PBworks looks more like a curvy Mac.

But I digress…

This week’s content, Managing Teaching and Learning Activities, is heavy and I have opted to refrain from lecturing. Instead I set up four learning stations, designed a Google Doc template for note taking and created a self-checking quiz with Google Forms. I learned how to do the last one by visiting

To clarify, the self-checking quiz is one that checks the answers, scores each answer and totals the marks. It does not help quiz takers check their answers. But it does help me see who has taken the quiz, who got which answers right or wrong, and what their final scores are.

Tools aside, the rationle for including the quiz at the end stems from the fact that learners might wander from station to station and still not learn anything. I want my teacher trainees to see the forest (activity management) and the trees (specific management strategies).

The big picture is that the lesson is designed to model some aspects activity management. It’s easy to see that forest. But they must also know the different trees that make up the forest in order to appreciate it or find their way about. The quiz (name that tree!) is a means to that end. It is just another management strategy to promote learning.

But whether they do well or not in the quiz is immaterial. I believe that teachers teach the way they are taught. So I try to use different strategies every week.

Typically I discuss technology-mediated strategies with my trainees during my ICT course, but as the content and emphasis are different in EP2, I have not done this so far. Perhaps I should find a way to work these in overtly rather than covertly…



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