Wouldn't it be cool, if we could in a formal lecture and classroom learning environment EASILY generate the kind of noise, engagement, and fun one experiences in a(n) electrifying concert, All-Star Wrestling event, football match, festival, etc.?
Alright, we have tools such as Kahoot, Quizizz and Poll Everywhere to engage every student/participant on their mobile devices with questions (and results) in a lecture or F2F learning session. These tools are great, but they require everyone to have Internet access, need to learn how-to-use the tools first (quite easy), and prepare questions before the session.
Now, what about when you want to ask questions on-the-fly as you speak, how do you engage everyone to participate in the room? You could quickly type and launch a question through Poll Everywhere, but not many lecturers are confident to that (from my experience).
Another way, is to give all your students in the room color-coded cards to answer questions, which is a technique I learned from Dr. Ronald M. Harden, when he facilitated workshops at the International Medical University (IMU).
Probably, the simplest way is to simply ask people to raise their hand if they agree (true, false, myth, etc.) with you. Though, these days' younger students (and us, too) often hardly bother to raise the hands (especially in big crowds), when asked during lectures or talks. Perhaps, we are so busy on our mobile devices typing away that we have no time to lift even one hand to participate in answering questions.
So, any better alternatives?
While driving on my way to the SMiLe Symposium 2016 at National University of Malaysia (UKM) on the 5th December, the 'YEAH-BOO' idea just popped up in my head. I was invited to participate in a panel discussion, and that also gave me the opportunity to explore my 'YEAH-BOO' idea, too. Unfortunately, I forgot to video recorded how it went (will video record next time, Insya-Allah), but here is a snippet on how this method works.
You are giving talk, and suddenly you are inspired to ask the participants a quick Yes/True and No/False question, what do you do? Well, again I could ask them to raise their hands if Yes...BORING!
So, instead I asked the participants to scream 'YEAH' (and even raise their hands if wanted) if Yes, True, Positive, etc. and 'BOO' if No, False, Myth, Negative, etc. depending upon the question. Guess what? You could immediately feel the energy, engagement and noise in the room. The participants seemed to have fun with it, too. When is the last time they could 'BOO' with a smile at an academic event?
The great thing about the 'YEAH-BOO' method is that any educator can apply it without any training needed (except guts). It is a great way to awaken (sleeping students) and engage everyone to make some noise for their feedback and opinions. For the first time, you might experience the kind of noise and engagement often experienced in live sport events. Try it out to find out!
- The YEAH-BOO method is limited to questions with only two options. Although, you could have 4 sounds for 4 options, but I am not sure if you could filter out the noise you want.
- You have to sense their opinion from the noise generated, and that might not be so accurate (compared to digital tools like Poll Everywhere), especially if your hearing ability is damaged. Also, one nutty dude BOOing his lungs out might neutralize 10-15 'YEAH' screams.
- While the noise and fun might awaken all the students in the room, other neighboring classrooms could be affected dramatically, if the room is not sound-proof.
If only I could work with a few geniuses from MIT School of Engineering or Google, we could conceptualize, design, prototype, and launch the sound-frequency-vibration-detector YEAH-BOO WAND, which will capture all the noise generated from the students/participants and provide ACCURATE LIVE STATS on the projector/smart screen, which include percentages, noise factor sentiment (new and hot feature for learning), and voice-person detection for formal (and informal) assessment.
Once the YEAH-BOO WAND (version 1) is launched on February 22 (2018), we will straight away work on version 2, which will enable the tool to detect up to 6 different sounds, empowering multiple-choice questions, too. Launch target is November 14, 2018.
For version 3, we will work on the YEAH-BOO WAND that supports open-ended questions, whereby even hundreds of students could talk at the same time and all that would be captured with a blink of an eye and be displayed on the project/smart screen in various ways, including chat boxes, word clouds, running text, etc. Yes, let's not forget that all the versions, will have infused gamification and game mechanics to spice up learning to a level never seen at a University, College or School.
Let's do it! Yes, we can :)