Last class blues

I haven’t blogged for a while as term classes have been drawing to an end so this got pushed to the back.  I also haven’t blogged on teaching ideas specifically before – so this entry marks a return and a change of topic.

Keeping students interested and motivated for the last classes are difficult:  all their assignments are in, ‘it’s probably not on the test’ and their minds have moved on to more pressing matters – upcoming exams and finding accommodation for next year.

Little did I know was that all they needed was the promise of a Kahoot quiz (www.kahoot.it).  Students not familiar with the format were immediately challenged with ‘have you not done this before’.  After a lacklustre first half of the class, the level of adrenalin in the room shot up as did some of the heads.

screenshot kahoot.pngI’ve used Kahoot before so why the blog now? Mainly to share what seemed to be a positive response to, basically, an experiment.

As part of the course in business communication, the governing systems of the US and UK are considered in very broad detail.  Unfortunately, gettting students to research this topic seems to result in an out-loud reading of Wikipedia.  A quick straw poll of the class however reveals most students would vote for Bernie Sanders.  Today’s Kahoot survey aimed to challenge students pre-conceptions of their candidate.  Based on a presidential campaign comparison site, students were presented with key issues from the heart of the US campaign.  They could then agree, disagree, remain neutral and so on. Each question had a two minute discussion when they could argue their point of view.

For me, the greatest success was how passionately they threw themselves into the discussions.  An energy not seen in more traditional presentations and in class. The final question asked, if they could understand why Americans were voting for Donald Trump.  Whilst none of the students said they personally would vote for Trump, they thought they had more understanding of why his campaign had been so successful.  (And indeed they had been surprised when their view was more aligned with Trump than Sanders).

Of course, my ultimate goal is that I have raised their interest in following politics, not only in their own country but across the world.  We shall see!  But I remain optimistic.

If you would like to try the quiz for yourself it is available at Kahoot.it.  Information on the US election candidates (plus further comparisons between the candidates is available here).

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