Laura Nicholson – May 2019


1. Headlines

the word headlines written in white on a blue rectangle with a red rectangle underneath with the word today written in white

Provide students with a range of made-up news headlines, which provide a hint to a key concept previously covered. Students must name the event that each headline relates.

Stretch and challenge by using technical vocabulary to be defined or to be replaced with a similar word. Additionally, get students to explain or describe the event and give similar example if possible.


Enhance with technology

a blue rectangle with a white speech bubble and the word pop in written in the centre in white

POPin enables real-time audience engagement whereby students can post answers to questions, which are then displayed on the whiteboard. This tool will make the activity far more interactive whereby all students post their ideas about what the news headline refers to and then everyone’s thoughts are posted on the whiteboard to discuss and develop further.

Free plans are available, and tools like this ensure all students are contributing to the questions set and the lecturer can quickly address any misconceptions.


2. True/false quiz

Silouette of a head with a question mark in the centre

True/false quizzes are a quick and easy way to check the recall of information. Either ask verbally or use cards, with the questions printed on one side and the answers on the back.

Students can read out the cards to the class, wait for guesses, and then read out the answer and justification as to why the statement was true or false. To add more challenge and discussion, adapt the question structure to provide some true/false statements with no set answers, e.g. mobile phones enhance learning – true or false?


Enhance with technology

2 logos

Use Socrative to create more interactive quizzes. There is a free version and students can access the lecturer’s quizzes in seconds by Googling ‘Socrative student login’ and then typing in a room name. The student is not required to undergo any registration process, so this makes Socrative one of my personal favourites. With Socrative, lecturers can create quizzes, polls and exit tickets, to check knowledge before during and after class. Results can be viewed live by the lecturer and either shown on the whiteboard or kept hidden.

This tool also allows for collaboration in answering the true-false questions whereby students can be put into groups to compete in a ‘space race’, with the winning team being the first group to answer all the questions correctly. Socrative is also a useful tool for flipped learning whereby the quiz can be launched before the class for students to complete, thus allowing the lecturer to have advanced knowledge of any areas needing further clarification before the lesson.

Kahoot also enables the creation of interactive games, with the option to add videos, images and diagrams to the questions to make them more visually enriching. Students respond to questions on their mobiles or tablets, either in class or they can complete these before the lesson. Either create your own Kahoots, or use one of the many existing games already available.


3. Flashcards

Basic image of a piece of paper with a pen

Create flashcards using words, numbers, pictures or graphs to review learning and revise for exams. Students can make the flashcards themselves; while researching for the topic, students will be furthering their knowledge and determining what the critical information is. They will also be learning how to use the information when structuring the questions on the flashcards, which could ask for a description, a drawing, a list, a quote, the correct spelling of a key term or to fill in a missing word.


Enhance or transform with technology

The word Quizlet written in blue

Use Quizlet to create flashcards from scratch or use any of the templates already available. Encourage students to use Quizlet to create flashcards for themselves as a revision tool to memorise facts.

An exciting development in using technology for learning is the introduction of Augmented Reality (AR) flashcards. Flashcards which utilise AR have the potential to really bring this activity to life, but unfortunately, I do feel the current tools available need more development.

So, at present, AR does not offer a suitable replacement for tools like Quizlet but watch this space because sooner or later, AR flashcards could become a real contender. The limited options available to download include apps such as AR flashcards, but these are mainly suitable for pre-schoolers and primary school children.


4. Timelines

a timeline icon consisting of a line with 3 rectangles positioned along the line

Timelines provide a visual representation of events, which are written or drawn in chronological order. Students can work individually or collaboratively, and the topic can be as basic or elaborate as desired.

Timelines do not have to only focus on recalling significant events; I have seen a useful past, present and future timeline in a language studies class, which was also used to teach students about different tenses. The timeline consisted of a straight horizontal line with past written to the left, present was placed in the middle and future was written at the far right of the line. Students then had to write a sentence of the event using the past, present and future tense.

This teaching activity can be adapted to suit a range of Bloom’s thinking levels, not just for simple recall tasks. For example, to examine relationships between events, student’s could have two timelines running alongside each other to identify how events in one timeline are related to the other.


Enhance or transform with technology

2 logos: timeglider consists of the word time written in brown and glider written in blue. Sutori is a blue square with the word sutori written in white in the centre

Use TimeGlider, which is an interactive timeline application to enable users to create timelines online. The benefit of using this tool is that student’s can easily correct errors, add in or delete events without ruining the original structure, and save a copy for future reference. TimeGlider enables students to drag elements of the timeline, zoom into events and create ‘spans’ to identify how events overlap.

Alternatively, use Sutori to enable the collaborative construction of timelines. Sutori also has the option for users to add in audio, images, quiz questions and video clips to create media-rich content and include breadth and depth, which would be difficult to achieve with a paper-based activity. 


5. Definitions

Basic image of a piece of paper with a pen

Provide students with a set of cards with key-words written on them; the key-words should have been discussed in previous lessons as this is a recall activity. Students must firstly write a one-sentence definition of the key-word. Once the written definitions are complete, students could be asked to add a suitable example or to write a sentence using the defined word to add in more challenge.


Enhance with technology

2 logos: Ninjawords,ninja written in black and words written in purple. Wordnik logo written in black with the o as an orange heart.

To provide more support with writing the definitions, use Ninjawords or Wordnik. Wordnik is an online dictionary, but it also provides phrases using the words, allowing for more context-based understanding.

Wordnik will also show related words, so students have the opportunity to develop ideas by considering how the suggested related words are connected. Twitter tags using the word, visual images of the word and statistics are also provided to enable a more enriching experience to the activity. Finally, Wordnik also has a ‘word of the day’ feature, which can be used as a fun, quick starter activity to any lesson.


6. Video question and answer

red rectangle with a white triangle in the middle

Play a video or YouTube clip and then pause at various points for students to recall facts about the information viewed. Stretch and challenge by asking students to make predictions such as, what might happen next? What could the impact be? Or explain why something might have happened?


Enhance with technology

2 logos: playposit is a blue rectangle, in the centre is the word play posit with play written in black and posit written in white. Ed puzzle has 4 coloured jigsaw pieces with the word edpuzzle written underneath.

Use an online tool such as Playposit or Edpuzzle to create more interactive videos, which can be used both in and out of the classroom. There is the opportunity to add questions at the appropriate time in the video and content can also be trimmed to include the most relevant parts to play. Student responses to questions can also be saved and checked by the lecturer.


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