Engages Students in Peer Collaboration
Students can use the Engage Pointmaker system for peer collaboration or evaluation as they join small groups to solve a problem and then share their solutions with the class on a large HD display. They can also help correct work presented by other students.
Flexible grouping for different levels of students — First grade teacher Yvonne Madigan of Esmond Station K-8 (Tucson, Ariz.) reports that with the Engage Pointmaker system she can send a document to the students and have them work on it individually, all together, or within a group that she creates on her iPad. For example, she says, “Let’s say the class is working on addition; the teacher can create six or seven groups and can send the same document to each group from his/her iPad, or a different document to each individual group.”
This is particularly beneficial if a teacher has students who work at different levels. “You can put those students who need more of a challenge in one or two groups and send them a more challenging document or task to complete,” she says. “Then you might have two groups of students who are right in the middle and you can send them something that is appropriate for them.” For the group that isn’t quite ready for the task at hand, then the teacher can send them something that fits their ability.
Flexible sharing within each group — Madigan says that on the teacher iPad she can select a button that allows students to share within the group or not. If she chooses to have them share within the group, each student’s annotation will appear on the shared image. Only one person at a time can write on the image, avoiding confusion in the group collaboration.
Conversely, if the teacher chooses not to allow sharing in a group, the members’ annotations will only show up on their own iPad.
“Creating and managing groups is very simple and easy,” Madigan says. “I just slide the button over to share or not share from the teacher iPad.”
Easy web searching and saving — Engage Pointmaker easily allows students to search the Internet as they work in their groups, as well as save their collaborations. “If students were using whiteboards instead of this system, they wouldn’t be able to do this,” Madigan says.
Teachers can check on a group’s progress — A couple great features of the Engage Pointmaker groups function is that from across the room, a teacher can join any group to see what they are doing. For example, Madigan says a teacher might be working with one group and wonder what the challenged group is doing. She can easily switch over to that group from her iPad to check in. And she can write a message on her iPad that the group will see.
Ensures privacy in communications — If a group is not doing what they are supposed to be doing you teachers can communicate to its members without having to call out. “Just write a quick note on your iPad,” Madigan says. “Usually the students will get back on track with their learning.
“If you have a student who embarrasses easily they can let you know quickly by sending you a message that they need help and you can send them a note back letting them know you will be right with them.”
Increases enthusiasm for collaboration — With Engage Pointmaker groups, Madigan says her students are not bored and more engaged while working collaboratively with each other. As she points out, “Who doesn’t like working on an iPad and using different colors to highlight or change pencil color?”
Maximizes teacher’s time with students — When each group is paced with work that challenges them, teachers can have more one-on-one time with the students who need more personalized instruction or practice time.
Simplifies collaborative evaluations — “You can also have students grade each other’s work,” Madigan says. “For example, from my iPad, I can take a picture of student work and then send that photo to each group to evaluate.
She says that for lower grades a teacher could have one group edit the paper by finding capital letters, periods, circling sight words, etc. For older grades the teacher might have them look for the main idea or plot, underlining key points. “You are not limited to showing student work.” Madigan adds. “You can share a reading passage or a picture you found on the Internet, or a math problem that students can demonstrate solving, step by step.”
Saves collaboration time — Madigan says using Engage Pointmaker system saves collaboration time by not having to recreate the document through printing, distribution or having the students recreate the collaborative work on a whiteboard for presentation to the class. Once it is created or opened in the Engage Teacher app, teachers can quickly choose to share it with the whole class.
During presentations, she says, “the students are able to see their work and correct any mistakes they have made directly on their iPad document, whereas, if they were using the whiteboards, they would have to recreate the problem on the board for the class to see, which takes too much time. Also, some students work better with their original work in front of them.”
The system also saves time for the teacher, because “we don’t have to make a copy of the worksheet for each student to work on,” Madigan says. They just work on the document the teacher shared electronically.
Enhances Neatness and Saves Paper — “I think that writing on the iPads is neater than writing on the whiteboard and less of a mess because you don’t have markers to deal with,” Madigan says. And because teachers don’t have to copy worksheets, “Engage Pointmaker saves on paper,” she says. “It’s quick and easy to send it with a tap of the button.”
1st Grade Teacher
Esmond Station K-8, Tucson, Ariz.