Sunday, May 15, 2011

7 Fun Ways to Get Participation and Collaboration Going in Classrooms

Yes, I hear you. Preparing to teach a class is hard enough. Who has the time to add fun activities? Well, you do - given these no-frills group activities that only take minutes to build, whether you use a board, a flip chart or an interactive software like YawnBuster.

Show of Hands
Conducting a quick poll is a perfect icebreaker in the beginning of a class. Start with a question like 'How many of you know that..' or 'Who wants to ...' and watch the hands go up.

Invite ideas, and get your learners' creative juices flowing. You can combine brainstorming with a poll - first get all the ideas out there, and then have people vote on them. Or you can have them prioritize those ideas collaboratively. See an example here.

Express Brainstorm
Add excitement to brainstorming by creating teams, by limiting the time for ideation, and by assigning a score. Check out this example.

Whenever you have two sides to an issue (as in a debate) or two aspects to compare (as in pros and cons), use a T-chart and have learners come up with bullet points on either side. It encourages thinking and creates a useful visual comparison. Here is a T-chart built in a class.

Mind Map
Ideas are understood better when learners understand their relationships. Mind-map is a powerful graphical technique for representing relationships. Introduce ideas and ask the learners to help build a mind-map. For a mind-map building example, click here.

Parking Lot
Get distracted by too many questions? Create a parking lot and park the questions away. At the end of the class, answer each question. Want to see how it works? Click here.

Key Takeaways
Every now and then during your presentation, ask your learners to summarize  their understanding and write down a line of two on an online memo pad for everyone to see. At the end of the class, your key takeaways are ready! Click here for an example that shows how key takeaways are collected.

To get a free white paper titled 'Adding Fun to Learning with YawnBuster' click here.

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