We love education. A lot of us are the product of a great educational experience growing up. Of course, there are other things that make up a person’s character and abilities, but education is certainly very important in doing that.
But we also remember sitting in classrooms and lecture theatres late afternoons feeling lethargic and thinking about what we’d do when we walked out of the school gates or finished our seminars.
And pity the poor teacher who must keep his or her students engaged. What can they do?
Well, we have some suggestions.
Adolescents can concentrate for 10-15 minutes
First thing’s first, doopoll is engaging. Recently a customer told us that using doopoll with a group of young people ‘lifted’ the event and changed the dynamic.
Even Mittendorf and Kalish themselves did not take these findings to their natural conclusions. Having established that students’ attention maxed out at around 10 or 15 minutes, they did not question whether hour-long lectures should be the dominant use of class time. Instead, they recommended that teachers insert “change-ups” at various points in their lectures, “to restart the attention clock.”
Adolescent attention spans last for about 15 minutes. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t reset the clock by engaging the students in an activity.
So what about running a poll to ‘restart the attention clock’?
You could ask students to pull out their phones, tablets or laptops, and load up a poll at the start of class.
Ask them questions like:
- Do you think [insert historical character] made the right choice? – a simple yes or no would be enough
- What are the main themes in the book? – a budget question would even allow them to indicate priority
- How does this painting make you feel? – a couple of multiple choice options would encourage engagement
Gauge how well students understood
Imagine how difficult it is for a student to put up their hand and say that they don’t understand what you’re trying to teach them. The embarrassment or fear of being judged by other pupils might mean that your students just aren’t able to say that they are struggling.
And if they’re struggling at a vital moment, there’s a good chance they won’t understand any supporting ideas either.
So at the end of each class, consider sending out a poll or adding a question to the poll above:
- Offer a series of simple test questions – tell the students that they won’t be marked. Ask them questions about the class/lecture you just taught and see how many pick the correct answer. That’ll inform your teaching next time as you assess what they have a strong understanding of and what they need a little help with.
Wellbeing is important too
Student wellbeing is also hugely important. In fact the demand for student support/counselling has become very large. Take a look at this quote from BBC News:
Ruth Caleb, chair of Universities UK’s mental well-being working group,estimates the use of counselling usually ranges between 5% and 10% of students, depending on the university, which would suggest at least 115,000 students are seeking help.
doopoll respects anonymity because being anonymous facilitates free expression. So while doopoll is not the platform to use to find out which students are not coping well, it can act as a barometer for you student body.
Asking questions like the following would be a good start:
- Do you feel you have access to adequate counselling support? – a yes or no question would be ideal but you could change the wording slightly and use a spectrum question instead (How well does the school do in supporting you?)
- What do you most need help with day to day? — Multiple choice options of things like: I’d like more access to a student counsellor / I need help making friends / I want more sessions on mental health in form classes/student support
Important: This is a very sensitive area though and so you’d probably want to provide an e-mail address or contact point at the end of your poll in the closing message where students could get in touch with someone instantly if they are in need of it.
Education is a wide arena
Of course, these are just a few ideas that you could use. Some of them may work for you and some of them may not. But there’s really no end to the things you could use doopoll for in education.