Using Technology to Facilitate Verbal Discussion – Giving Every Student a Voice.

This morning at Saint Wilfrid’s Academy in Blackburn I presented the first in a new series of New Tech breakfast meetings. This series is looking at interactive response systems and how they can transform the classroom. To be able to get ideas from every student in the classroom is extremely powerful if used in purposeful and meaningful ways.

In being able to get the views of every student in the classroom, rather than the select few who put up their hands or those that the teacher pick, as a teacher you can delve deeper into questioning, using answers that you may not have received without the use of technology. I use Socractive a lot to do this. The ad-hoc feature of asking students for a short response allows me to see all students’ views and then share those views with the entire class, using the vote button put into the app.

The questioning develops when the teacher picks  a students’ response and gets the writer of it, or other class members to elaborate on it in a basket balling type of technique. This has made discussion times in the classroom more sophisticated and meaningful. Check out the Socrative app and the ad-hoc features it offers. Plickers is another great app to facilitate verbal discussion. Although, this time you will have to print off some voting cards for your class and question the students after a multiple choice question.



AFL with Kahoot and Plickers


Discovering Kahoot last year transformed my classroom and the way I use online student response systems. Whereas most systems have students glued to their screens, Kahoot allows students to interact with the teacher, with the class screen and use their iPads to make selections.

There has been a real game show, competitive element to lessons where students are celebrating getting things right, with the opportunity to respond and reflect on their answers in discussion with their teacher.

For teachers, it is so easy to see where the learning gaps are in your classroom and using the results options on the website informs planning for subsequent lessons. Kahoot does require strict rules in order for your class to enter their actual names, rather than nicknames and to keep the noise and joviality at a reasonable level, although it is great to see students celebrating success. To create a teacher account go to

Whilst I wait for our year 7 classes at St Wilfrid’s to get their iPads, Plickers has been a great way to show them the power of new technology and to assess the understanding of my class very quickly. Plickers is a fast and easy way to get instant feedback from the entire class using a paper and technology based voting system. From the Plickers website you can download a class set of voting cards for your students to respond to a multiple-choice question.

By scanning their cards with the Plickers app, you are then able to see your students’ results. This is great for the end of a lesson where you want to assess student understanding, in order to plan for future lessons.

An example of a question could be: “Who feels confident that they could write a speech using effective persuasive devices?”

Multiple choice answers could be: Fully confident, quite confident, slightly confident, not confident.

In the space of two minutes you will have a visual representation of the confidence of your class and can plan what you will do to raise the confidence of those who need extra help.

More information can be found at