One of the first tools which I began to use in the classroom was called answer garden. This is a free online tool which allows students to create word art real time in a classroom setting. It gives students ownership and the power to build an opinion that is unique to that group of students.
The way that I use this is to poll the class having them build something that is unique to them. We later revisit this after students have completed some learning about the nursing profession. For example in a nursing lecture with 130 students I usually pose two questions:
- what is the nurse?
- what does nurse do?
Here is what the students get in class:
Students answer both of these questions on the spot in class and work together to generate real-time word art where the more times a word is included the larger the word becomes. Later on we revisit and unpack these questions when discussing dignity respect and use these words which are made by the students to start conversations.
Here is the latest iteration of what students created in class semester two 2017:
What I found useful about this is that it gives ownership to the students and allows them to create, discuss and unpack issues relevant to more than one student in anonymous manner.
I have run a similar paper based exercise in the past, however doing this online has made it convenient and accessible to students who have access to an internet enabled device. In the era of immediacy and learning that is explorative this has assisted me to streamline a paper based process while engaging with young people.