Solution: Keeping students engaged in learning and helping them feel comfortable with contributing to the conversation in a classroom is always a challenge. Recently, I came across an app that I think is going to take student engagement and participation to a whole new level.
How do I get started?
Begin by going to the Verso website and create an account. Once logged in, you'll see that a default class has already been set up for you. You can add additional classes to accommodate the work of all students assigned to you. For each class, you'll be provided with a unique class code that you will give to your students. They'll need the code in order to join your class. If other teachers in your building are using Verso, students will be able to join each of those classes as well.
How do students access Verso?
Students can access the content you provide to them through the use of Verso in a number of ways: use a web browser on a desktop/laptop computer or Chromebook, download the free app to a mobile device, or use any web browser on a mobile device. After the initial log in and joining classes, students will now be able to access each class from the class list.
How do I set up content for students to access?
When you're ready to provide students will some content to work with, you'll be creating a "flip." A flip is "a stimulus and related question designed to reveal individual learning needs." A stimulus is any content that you want students to engage with: a video or audio file, a document, a link to a website or an image. Note that you'll be able to access video from YouTube or via URL and you can link your Google Drive account to Verso.
What types of questions are best?
Below are some resources to help you design questions that will promote deeper thinking.
- Webb's Depth of Knowledge - This has been widely associated with the implementation of the Common Core Standards. There are a number of sources that you can find with a quick Google search. Here are a few that can help you get started: Depth of Knowledge Levels - provides a listing of verbs associated with each level and and examples of activities. Question Stems - these can be used across the curriculum.
- Questioning Techniques - common questioning techniques and when to use them.
- Core Thinking Routines - these come from the Visible Thinking website and can easily be integrated into the use of Verso.
What do my students need to do next?
After logging in, students will see assigned Flips either from the Dashboard or from the Classes list. By selecting a Flip, students can access the stimulus (content) and respond to the related question. After responding, students will then be able to comment and as "like" other responses and continue to develop the conversation. Since no names are associated with responses, this should provide the avenue to bringing all students into the activity and improve levels of engagement.
How do I see the results of the students' work?
Select a Flip from your Dashboard to review student responses and comments. This will allow you to assess the level of understanding of your content.
How can the results help me to differentiate for future instruction?
As you review the responses, think about the similarities and differences as well as the depth of understanding revealed through those responses. This can help you to group your students for instruction the next day so that students can engage in follow up activities or work with you to further develop their understanding of the content.
Alignment to the Common Core Standards
For those states that have adopted or adapted the Common Core Standards, the following ELA anchor standards can be supported through the use of Verso.
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.