Posing Questions in the Digital Classroom
By Nick Acton
Teachers ask hundreds of questions every week. It is the basis of all enquiry based learning. It is the main way of uncovering each child’s understanding. It can also help to move the learning on or introduce a new topic. Many children are naturally inquisitive too! A classroom can therefore become a breeding ground for questions. With that in mind, my questions are, how do you manage all of these enquiries? How do you make sure that the important asks are answered? How do you keep questioning interesting and engaging? Can technology help to keep the inquisitive quizzical?
The iPad could be the answer I'm looking for. In this blog, I will look at apps that can help teachers to pose and manage questions in the classroom.
One Question for Today
What about the other way round? How can the children ask the teacher questions? One of the best ways of tackling this is through Apple iMessage. If you are lucky enough to work in a school that has one iOS device for each child and teacher, iMessaging could be a way of allowing children to ask as many questions as they like in a secure and manageable way. During the lesson, children could iMessage the teacher to ask questions about the subject matter. Many children feel too embarrassed to flag up a query in front of their school mates. This might be a way of connecting with your class’ at a deeper level.
Creating a free Quizlet account provides you with a username. You can then create a simple question and answer quizzes. Other Quizlet users (like your students) can then search for username and try out your tests. It is incredibly easy to use. I would encourage children to create their own accounts and set up quizzes for their peers. It is one of the best tools around for creating powerful and simple revision resources.
So there you are… These are some of my favourite apps for questioning in the classroom. I believe that it is a teacher responsibility to harbour an inquisitive learning space. After all, questions are at the core of all learning. Without the drive or determination to realise that which we do not understand we lose the will to explore anything. Keeping children curious is more important now than it has ever been. We live in an accessible age where questions can be answered almost instantly. We live in a world where the term ‘Google it’ has become a well-known phrase. Retaining information is becoming less and less important. Therefore, we must try to spread a sense of joy and achievement when children find answers for themselves. Our questions need to be as exciting as the answers.
Nick Acton is an Apple Curriculum Specialist at JTRS as well as being a part-time Computing and Music teacher. Through the creation of bespoke training, Nick specialises in empowering educators so they can embed Apple technologies into their day-to-day classroom practice.