AppSense: The Importance of Questioning and a Useful Teacher App
by Linda Corbett, CALT
Questioning skills are essential to good teaching. Teachers often use questions to ensure that students are attentive and engaged learners. Knowing how to ask the right questions and provide thoughtful answers is the foundation of all learning. One of the ways teachers can do this is through purposeful questioning that will generate interesting discussions and focus students thinking.
Through the practice of questioning, teachers are able to understand where students are cognitively as well as provide diagnostic information that ought to guide further instructional decisions. Teachers should initiate questions at the appropriate level of difficulty and then scaffold to more challenging questions without intimidating students and stifling interactions. Ideally a teacher will want to combine questions that require lower-level thinking” (often closed questions to assess students knowledge and comprehension) with questions that require "higher-order thinking" (often with "open- ended” questions to assess students abilities to apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate.)
I came across a useful education app for teachers to help assist in higher level classroom questioning and monitoring called Stick Pick. This app was developed to help teachers keep track questioning in the classroom. Questions can be based on Blooms Taxonomy, English as a second language skills, and degree of difficulty. Teachers can easily track each individual student and their ability to answer higher level questions.
Stick Pick uniquely links question stems to the cognitive needs of each learner in the classroom. It can help teachers differentiate instruction, track formative assessment, and enrich learning. Each class can have its own “soup can" which may be filled with "popsicle sticks" representing each student. Stick Pick will suggest question starters for learners at different levels and will record how well students respond during classroom discussions. Teachers have the option to rate student’s answers (0-5) on a critical thinking or elaboration rubric and save and e-mail student data. Stick Pick and can be purchased in the App Store or Google Play Store for $2.99 and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Android.
Pick a student at random just by giving your device a shake or tapping the screen -- but that’s just the beginning. Stick Pick suggests question starters for learners at different levels and also records how well students respond during classroom discussions. If a student is consistently scoring near the top or bottom, simply change the level so students aren't bored or frustrated. Depending on students' levels of English proficiency, they might be asked simple yes-or-no questions or to elaborate in longer sentences.