Thanks go to Didier Lévy of Vu-Bridge for sending us this article and to Marti Ronemus for writing it.
Teaching Tools for the 21st Century: How to Use Technology to Involve and Excite Students
By Marti Ronemus
First, a True Confession. I am a technophobe. I never met a device or program that didn’t confuse me. I’m not allowed to have a Smart Phone (ask my husband why). I am clueless about how to download music. I can’t get NetFlix to work. And I have no idea what most commercials on TV are advertising.
BUT!! I am now happily and effectively using Vu-Bridge’s Quiz Maker to improve my teaching and retention of students. I am proud to now hold limited membership in the 21st Century and my students are better off and happier, more involved and learning more.
First, what is Vu-Bridge Quiz Maker? It is a program designed by Didier Levy to enable us to write and send quizzes to our students for their use, in private, on their various devices. It is much easier to show you than explain, so click on this link and take the quiz on “The Rule of 20.” After you take it, we can talk further.
You saw how involving it is. First, the question, then the answer. Writing the quiz is very simple (trust me… if I can do it, so can you!). So is sending it to your students’ devices.
There are two options. First, you and your students can discuss/share the two subscription products.Secondly, you yourself can write and send quizzes to your students.
Here are the most successful ways I’ve used the subscription products.
Firstly, students who choose to do so can subscribe to one of two levels of quizzes: “Quiz Expert” which is for high beginner through intermediate students. The other, “Quiz Beginner” is due to launch in Oct. and is geared to students going through the ACBL Bridge in the 21st Century (or other similar) material.
How do I use the subscription products? A quick email blast to them saying, “We’re going to talk about the Rule of 20 on Friday. Take a look at the Vu-Bridge Quiz from Oct. 3 on it to get a feel for it.” Also I encourage them to come to me when they aren’t sure of an answer. It often leads to incredibly fruitful discussions.
My favorite use of Vu-Bridge Quiz Maker though is making up my own quizzes for them. For example, say next Monday night we’re going to be talking about Reverses (you all know what THAT’S like!!), so I put together five questions (took me about 15 minutes, no more) and sent them a link to them.
Almost every single student these days has a Smart Phone, an iPad or a computer, and Vu-Bridge can be received on all devices.
I attach a note that says, “Here’s an advance look at what we’re going to do tomorrow night. See what you come up with and we’ll talk.”
The ability to design questions that exactly reflect what I am going to teach them is fantastic.
The other use—and this is a great one!--is to send a little quiz as a follow-up to a class. “We tackled Reverses tonight. Here’s a little quickie quiz to make sure it’s all clear. If you don’t get the answers right, let me know and we’ll clarify for you.”
Do the students like it? You betcha! They love to play with their device toys. I’ve seen groups of them, all with their Smart Phones, sharing the quiz, involved in discussing what the answers might be. They value the follow-up quizzes as a way of ensuring understanding.
As to the subscription products—we get emails after every publication (three times a week) saying how they love the questions, how they stimulate partner discussions, and how much fun it is to receive them.
So… Simple to use, I promise! Effective in that it reinforces what you are teaching and gives your students an involving toy which they love. It is the easiest way I know to use the best available technology in a way that encourages your students and reinforces your lessons.
If I can answer any questions or help in any way, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.