Going Low-Tech

I have enjoyed using some of the newer technologies in the classroom for teaching and assessment activities, such as Quizdom, for example. I have found, however, a “low-tech” version of this activity that I also like. In one of my courses I pass out sets of brightly colored flashcards on the first day. Each student receives 4 flashcards of different colors. On each flash card I have written a large A, B, C, or D. I tell the students that we will use these periodically and they should keep them in their folder for this class, always having them available for in-class use. I then use these cards in multiple ways. Sometimes, mimicking Quizdom, I quiz them from a Power Point about a couple of key topics from the session before. Everyone has to “vote” and we clarify any points of confusion. The big benefit, however, is that I have a tool that I can use spontaneously as desired. Quizdom does take planning. There are times in the classroom that I want to just do a quick activity as it occurs to me based on the specific dynamic in that room at the time. I have also had students quiz each other, break up into teams and answer certain questions, and “vote” on all kinds of topics. I don’t think it takes the place of Quizdom type tools because I am getting different data, but it is an easy tool that I can use at any point during a three-hour class when some topic comes up that may be very difficult to “put aside and come back to next week”. I have been doing this for about a year and have only had 2-3 students not bring their cards to class, and they return them to me on the last day. It seems to be an effective, easy, additional tool.