My plan is that (most) every Tuesday I will devote this space to highlighting a technology tool or resource that I actually use and that I feel that could benefit teachers and gifted students. As I have been planning this section, I created a list of tools that I have found to be the most useful for within recent history and have continued to stand the test of time. As I have been working with teachers, parents, and students across the country one tool that I continually go back to again and again is Mentimeter because it helps me to better understand what my learners are thinking and allows me to quickly and easily gathering data. Let’s see what Mentimeter can do and how it can work for you.
HOW HAVE YOU USED IT?
I generally use Mentimeter to gather input from the audience when I am presenting to large groups. This helps to show what other people are thinking. The responses are anonymous since no one has to sign into an account to submit their responses. I know what the Middle School teachers are thinking right now, "You have no idea what type of inappropriate things my students will submit if it is anonymous. Is there some type of filter?" Yes, yes there is a filter. It will even filter Ascii and emoji.
Perhaps my favorite way to use Mentimeter is to create a word cloud of responses. In the example below, I asked participants to list three films that they would want to be able to take with them if they were deserted on an island. Here 77 people responded with their films. The films that appear the largest are the films that were entered most frequently. You can see that there were a lot of Gone with the Wind fans at the 2017 WAETAG conference. I like this question because it shows how similar and different everyone is. I also really love when people respond with films that take place on an island like Moana or even better Castaway.
I love being able to ask an open ended question to a group and then being able to instantly see all of the responses. While I was keynoting at the Iowa Talented and Gifted Association annual conference last year, I asked that audience “What Makes A Superhero?” In less than 2 minutes, I was able to gather 283 responses and begin an initial review of the responses. Without Mentimeter, I could have probably heard from three people in the same amount of time. I really like asking this question because many of the qualities that make a superhero are the same qualities that make a gifted person. Look at the response below and ask yourself if this describes a superhero or a gifted student.
Mentimeter also allows you to easily change the way the responses are displayed by clicking on the settings gear in the bottom left hand corner. You can even switch the responses to be displayed as a word cloud. Best of all, once you are done with the presentation, Mentimeter automatically generates an email with all of your responses that can be downloaded as an Excel document.
One last type of question that I enjoy using with Mentimeter are scales. While conducting a day long workshop on curiosity for the Kentucky Association for Gifted Education, I asked the participants to rate themselves on a 4 item curiosity scale. Below you can see the results for the 124 people who completed the task. Mentimeter shows you the average for the response as well as the distribution for each item when you hover over the question.
Certainly there are a number of other tools out there that do things similar to Mentimeter, but I really enjoy it because it is simple to use for both me and those who are responding. As long as everyone has a device connected to the internet, then Mentimeter is a breeze. In the past I have tried a large number of tools that simply did not work as nearly as well. I like that they give you access to all of the advanced features for free. The only real limit here is that you only get 3 questions, but again, I think 3 is a magic number. The other downside is that the responses are anonymous, but if you are looking for responses to be tied to students' names then this is not really the tool for you.
Do you have experience with Mentimeter in your educational setting? Please share your experiences below.