Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Get Feedback Quickly with AnswerGarden

If you need a tool to quickly collect feedback from students of any age, try using AnswerGarden

Create an "answer garden" by posing a question and distributing the link to students. (Users can access AnswerGarden on any device with a browser or via the free iOS app.) Participants can enter short answers that will appear in a word cloud. The more times an answer is submitted, the bigger the word or phrase appears in the cloud. 

In this example, the words "education" and "technology" were each entered 3 times, while "engaging" -- which is smaller -- was submitted only twice
  1. Brainstorming
  2. Voting
  3. Discussions
  4. Finding Common Ground/Getting-to-Know-You during BOY

How-To Create an AnswerGarden
1. Go to the home page. Either click the + sign in the top, right corner, or scroll down and click "create AnswerGarden." . 

2. Enter a question or prompt into the topic area.

If you don't want to do anything else, just scroll and click the "create" button at the very bottom of the page:

If you'd like a bit more control, through, here are some other options:
  • Mode: decide how many times a student can answer, if you need moderate answers before they appear in the "garden," or if the "garden" is accepting new answers
  • Answer length: choose between 20 and 40 characters in length
  • Password: if you want to edit your "garden" or delete unwanted answers, choose a password to be e-mailed to you. (You'll do this each time you create an AnswerGarden, as there is no option to create an account.)

3. Share the link.  The actual URL is fairly short (for instance, the AnswerGarden I just created has this URL: http://answergarden.ch/view/189565), so students can just type it into their browser. (You can also use Google Tone to send the URL to student computers.AnswerGarden provides slightly faster ways for students to visit the link, though:

Scroll down on the actual AnswerGarden to see sharing options.

AnswerGarden lets you share your garden on various social media channels, embed a copy onto your class webpage or blog, or share via a QR code. I always just turned off the lights, displayed the QR code on the Promethean board, and let students scan the code to join our poll. 

Teacher Tricks
  • New answers do not automatically appear in the AnswerGarden; refresh the page periodically to see new answers. 
  • Get an inappropriate answer? Walk the room. When someone posts something, the answer is underlined on their device. Find the person with the device that has the underlined inappropriate-ness, and you've found the culprit. (Mentioning this up front is a great deterrent!)

Ideas for Use

  1. BOY getting-to-know-you project: everyone posts 5 adjectives that describe themselves or their summer. 
  2. BOY getting-to-know-you game: the teacher poses a question (ex. "Do you prefer fiction or nonfiction?"), and the students have to type in their answer. The answer that grows the biggest on the screen is the most popular. 
  3. BOY learning styles group quiz: the teacher poses questions (ex. "Would you rather show your learning with a song or a play?" ... "Do you like numbers or words more?"), and the students type their answer. If you keep it pretty simple, you'll get an idea about what the class as a whole likes the most and design your curriculum accordingly. 
  4. Quick, anonymous poll: quickly assess if the majority of the class understands the concept before moving on to the next part of your lesson. AnswerGarden is anonymous, but you can walk the room and look at student devices to see how everyone answered. 
  5. Short discussion: ask or post discussion questions to a novel or topic you're studying and let students weigh in. 
  6. Exit ticket (save the URL so you can review student answers later): "What other questions do you have about this topic?" or "What's one thing you're confused about in this lesson?"
  7. Real life examples: ask for examples to illustrate student knowledge on a topic (Learning about the elements of literature? Ask students to submit examples similes, metaphors, onomatopoeia, etc. Learning about polygons or supply and demand? Ask students to submit real-life examples. Reviewing the scientific method? Ask students for examples of when they could use this concept in their life).
  8. Collect data for a graph: get answers quickly to create a class graph. (ex. students can post how many siblings they have. Once the page is refreshed, hover over the answers to see how many times each was entered. Then create a class graph with the data.)
  9. Vote: decide on a class reward, fundraising idea, class pet name, etc. 

How would you use AnswerGarden (or would you use it at all)? What other BYOD tools do you use?

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