Build the suspense in team activities
I’m currently teaching at an intensive winter camp for adults. Each week there is an activity where the groups should break into teams and complete a series of activities, often in different locations on campus.
As this requires scores to be consolidated from different locations, I hit on the idea of how to do this in the most efficient way, whilst simultaneously keeping the students involved and excited.
I made the score board in a Google spreadsheet and invited the other teachers. Teachers could use their phones to add the teams results from their activity location. This spreadsheet was also projected in the main meeting room where all the students would gather after the activities.
This meant that the students could see their scores being updated live as the teachers calculated and entered the results remotely. It was really satisfying to hear the cheers from the building across from me as teams celebrated each time their score went up.
It kept the students engaged in what normally would be an unseen part of the process, and built the suspense of which team would win. Using a simple – and free – piece of technology to coordinate an activity solves the problem of collaborating at a distance and holds the attention of the students in a much more dramatic way.