A New Tool (at least for me) to Try!

This year, in addition to being building based (I’m at a middle school) the members of the Teacher Resouce Specialists for Technology (TRST) team and I are also department based. This means I will also be coordinating with the Math & the Science Supervisors to help integrate technology at department meetings, model effective use, and discover new tools with them.

Our Math Supervisor heard about a web tool and wanted to feature it at the next department meeting. We (myself & my colleague Jessica) put together some resources for how to set up a teacher account as well as how to integrate it into instruction. One of my teachers wanted to try it out with her students. So we met ahead of time and developed a lesson. I then came in and team taught the lesson utilizing the tool; we debriefed after the period, and then I stayed for the second period to coach her so she could do the last two periods on her own.

The tool we were using is called Verso, which if you haven’t tried it, take a look (heck it’s free). It allows students to view content then respond to a posted question. The students are viewing everything anonymously while the teacher sees exactly who posted. The students, once they have submitted their response, can then view, reply, like, or flag their fellow respondents. The teacher has a feature where they can group similar responses which could be good for differentiated grouping.

It can be hard to find edtech tools which incorporate into math, but I feel this tool easily fit in. The teacher was amazed by how well the students took to the tool with minimal instructions. We planned this for a lesson on Order of Operations. I created a screencast (below) which the students watched and then they needed to respond to:

When the student looked in the back of the book to check his homework answer, why was it incorrect? Explain using mathematical terms.

A teacher can either respond to students as their self or go into “student mode” and appear as an anonymous classmate. Here is a screenshot of first period’s responses in the Verso dashboard:

1st Period's Verso Dashboard

This gave the teacher the opportunity to see each student’s prior knowledge of Order of Operations. We were able to push the students who understood the topic with questions that delved deeper (i.e. “Is there ever a time where you would do addition before multiplication?”) We also knew which students were going to need a refresher or individualized attention on this topic.

Verso is definitely a tool to check out! Have you used the tool before? If so, please comment below on your experiences with it.

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