Every teacher—from first-year teachers to those who should have left the classroom years ago—has been in a class dominated by one or two people. Whether it’s because the student loves attention more than celebrities do or because he/she is the class’s version of Hermione, it is really easy for less vocal students to hide in the shadows. The Prowise ProConnect application used in conjunction with the cloud-based Prowise Presenter software allows every student to contribute to a lesson. Even the shy students can have their voices heard!
A teacher can access ProConnect by logging into the Presenter software, clicking on the ProConnect button, and then pressing start. The software then generates a code, which students (anywhere in the world) can enter into their own device (tablet, smart phone, Chromebook, etc…) in order to participate in the ProConnect lesson. Teachers can use ProcConnect in numerous interactive ways:
Students can vote, thus providing instant feedback. Possible student responses include the following: Yes/No, True/False, Agree/Disagree, Right/Wrong, Multiple Choice, and Color.
The voting feature is ideal for class discussions (I sure wish I had this when I was discussing an anticipation guide). Voting is also perfect when students are learning a new concept: throw a math problem on the screen, give students a minute to work it out, and then have them vote what they think the answer is. That way, everyone has a chance to lock in his/her thinking before an attention hog or brainiac says the answer.
Another one of ProConnect’s features is the teacher’s ability to share screens with the students in the class (or even the students at home). Students can then provide their own thoughts on the screen that’s been shared, and send it back to the teacher. For example, a teacher can take a screen shot of a text and ask students to highlight ten adjectives, nouns, and/or verbs. Also, the teacher can ask students to identify the main idea in the passage. Then, the students can send back their answers with either the labeled parts of speech or the identified main idea before the class has a discussion about the assigned task. Everyone can know that there is no talking about something until everyone has had a chance to think through the assignment.
Teachers can choose to then have an open discussion, or they can pull up each of the student’s responses and have him/her explain his/her thinking. Knowing that they will have to support their thinking will lead students to be less inclined to put nonsense down in response to the assignment. This way, the entire class can think and share their ideas…not just a few students.
Create a Mind Map or Have a Brainstorming Session
Word Cloud is a tool that allows a teacher to pose a question, and students can send up their answers. This can allow for a fun way to access prior knowledge or to have everyone share ideas.
Another tool is the Mind Map feature, which allows the class to work together to brainstorm ideas related to a central question or a thesis of some sort.
In the picture above, the teacher has asked “Why teachers should not assign homework.” Then, if the teacher wants to use ProConnect, the students can send up their thoughts about the topic without having to say anything. The ideas first go to the “Received” section of the page (see the blue area on the right-hand side of the above image). The teacher can see who sent up the ideas (that way, if anything is inappropriate the teacher can know who sent it). Then, all the teacher has to do is drag the idea and put it on top of the thought it goes with, and the software creates the web.
In conclusion, ProConnect is a great interactive tool that teachers can use to create an environment where everyone’s ideas are valued—not just the loud few. Gone are the days of quiet students hiding behind more vocal personalities. True, an over-reliance on technology can keep people from learning necessary speaking skills, but using technology can give a voice to students who haven’t traditionally been heard in the past. Now, if only we could have that in politics.