Back to school with Meetoo tips

Aleksandra Perisic

Back to school with Meetoo tips

As Autumn starts, anyone in education is anticipating the new academic year. Whether they are deciding on how to engage a new group of students, set their key learning goals for their course, rearrange the seminar lecture layout, or wondering what assessment tools to use - there is a lot to think about and prepare. To some, this back to school planning process can be a daunting task.

To make sure you’re utilising all your resources, technologies and tools to their full potential, and step up your teaching game, we’ve put together some useful Meetoo tips for preparing for the new academic year:

Get the first lecture off to a good start - icebreaker activities:

The first week back in class can be exciting or stressful for students, especially if they are freshers. To enable students to feel at ease and to build a good sense of community amongst their peers, it’s a good idea to start the new academic year with icebreaker activities. This gives new and returning students a means to interact and engage and will build confidence, especially with students who are less vocal.

Examples could include:

Use a student response system like Meetoo that transforms students’ smartphones, tablets and laptop devices into interactive collaboration tools. Everybody can send responses to your icebreakers live and you can watch them appear on the screen together. Use the Meetoo word cloud polling feature and ask your students a question:

  • 1.       I Chose This College Because?
  • 2.       What’s your biggest goal for the year, in one word?
  • 3.       What is your why for attending this session today?
  • 4.       What’s your top stress factor as a fresher? 

Get to know your technology

Not all Universities have a variety of digital tools available, but there is evidence to suggest that even technologically-equipped Universities still are not utilising the tools available to them to their full potential.

EdTech digital tools are meant to enhance learning, not distract from it. Some lecturers still object to technology in the classroom, citing that smartphones are the biggest distraction in a lecture and that education technology takes too long to set up. When going back to school, familiarise yourself with all the digital tools and platform features available to you ahead of time, to significantly speed up set up time and help to get you familiarised. Join forces with your University learning technologists and discuss the technology options available for your lecture type and make sure it aligns with your teaching /course goals. Additionally, try attending conferences such as the ALT Annual Conference to gain further knowledge of the technology available. Talking to your peers is a great way to get recommendations and inspiration for  how to implement Ed Tech it in your teaching or feedback sessions.

It won’t be an option for everybody but, consider the use of advanced tech such as virtual or augmented reality in the classroom to allow your students to approach a subject from a different angle as well as boost motivation and interest. 

Implement progress reporting

At the start of the academic year it is vital to set up not only clear communication channels, but to consider the best methods for ongoing reporting, assessment and feedback.

Students benefit from continual assessment and real-time feedback, so explore and implement the most effective channel for this at the start of term and commit to keeping it ongoing throughout the year. Whether it’s hand-written feedback, or interactive reporting within a platform like Meetoo, explore the opportunities for addressing knowledge gaps, and providing feedback where learning needs some extra work. Meetoo’s reporting feature allows you to review student understanding at the class level. You can download the report in Excel to share the results with students or colleagues. Use the instant feedback to determine next steps in your teaching. Additionally, Meetoo provides lecturers with a facility to send questions to a discussion board and for students to ask and answer questions anonymously.The anonymity feature removes the fear of asking questions by increasing both quality and quantity of questions being asked and answers given. Meetoo’s sort by likes feature maximises the effectiveness of your Q&A time by letting students decide which questions they would most like to discuss. Lectures also have an option to turn on moderation and easily filter any inappropriate questions before they go live.

There are many Edtech applications on the market and it can be overwhelming when trying to decide which use. To quote university of Southampton lecturer Trevor Kettle – ‘Technology in lectures has to have a purpose, you need a strategy’, so think about why you want to use ed tech to get the best mix of features and functionality for your teaching and learning environment.