In my last post I wrote about my experiment with SideVibe, as suggested by @coolcatteacher. I had decided to try it with two groups – a Year 9 class, during lesson time, and a Y12 class for revision homework.
I have now used SideVibe with my Y9 class, looking at some short stories – below is the verdict, mine and theirs!
I had selected two very short stories from Short Stories at East of the Web – the site allows you to search by genre, age range and length. I then prepared a series of relatively simple questions on each of the stories for the students to comment on. I used the ‘Written Response’, ‘Ranking’ and ‘Discussion’ task options. I also used the ‘Multiple choice’ option and a free text to get feedback from the class.
Getting the class onto the site was relatively painless. I had produced a Powerpoint showing them what to do and included the teacher reference. We did find that, when they went to the first ‘vibe’, the website did not show up. This was down to the school system not fully downloading the page and was easily sorted.
The class worked through the tasks at varying speeds as the tasks allowed them to work at their own pace. I could keep track on their work by circulating and also by checking the feedback option on the teacher site.
I had only spent a short amount of time producing the ‘vibes’ and some of the tasks were a little repetitive, however the group as a whole seemed to like what they were doing. They particularly enjoyed the ‘Discussion’ task as it brings up the responses of their classmates and allows them to respond. This would need to be used carefully and with clear rules, with some groups, to avoid rude comments, but each comment is logged to an individual student and therefore any misuse provides clear evidence! As it was, only a couple of the group made silly comments and they were daft rather than malicious.
The ‘Feedback’ option allows teachers to feedback to individual students – this is something I will explore with the Y12 homework task.
Via the ‘Feedback’ option, it was also possible to create reports of the student responses for all tasks or for each individual task – this could allow you to stick the work into their books. It also means that you could evaluate responses from a whole class pretty quickly, so if the tasks were designed to test particular skills you could use it as a snapshot diagnostic tool.
About 75% of the class said they enjoyed the tasks – although, I would certainly work on improving the tasks when doing this again. I also gave the group the chance to tell me what they thought could be improved – here are a selection of their comments:
Definitely worth using. The tasks are easy to set up and allow students to work at their own pace.