My latest obsession is Google Jamboard. Although I still haven’t quite been able to put my finger on what makes it different, not quite just PearDeck-plus-Slides and not quite just anything else, I know that the “feel” of using it in class has led to a high level of engagement from the students, which is a huge goal for us, especially in my current virtual teaching situation.
As always, I decided to reach out to the students to get feedback from them to see whether my sense of their enjoyment of working together in break-out rooms (with or without Jamboard) and specifically using Jamboard was on-track or not.
I wrote a Google Form asking students for feedback about working together in break-out rooms and about using Jamboard. I did my usual combination of a four-point scale with a required question followed by an optional open-ended question to allow students to provide any additional information that they want to share.
Overall, the responses were positive. Students liked working together, which resonates with “Foster collaboration and community” (8.3) from the Universal Design for Learning Progression Rubric where the ultimate goal is to “Create a classroom culture where students work together to define goals, create strategies, provide feedback to each other and push each other with mastery-oriented feedback while building integrative thinking.” Although students only work together for ten minutes or so at a time, they have opportunities to take control of their own learning, to co-design the learning experience, and to work together and give each other feedback throughout the process.
I also appreciated the opportunity to receive the cool feedback that students shared that let me know about things that are not working well yet. I have followed up with each student individually, offering an alternative in one case (Would you prefer to work alone on recommended topics in IXL? Do you have a different option to propose?) and some direct support in another (This is an opportunity for you to share your screen, which you identified as a way you would feel more connected and engaged.). I am reminded again of the power of these feedback opportunities–although brief, this quick feedback allowed me to make minor adjustments to my practice that will have big impacts for these students, as we use Jamboard one or two times a week.