# my latest invention to aid education

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I have made a small excel spreadsheet which randomly generates a number between 1 and 15 (the number of students in one of my classes), then it looks up the name next to that number in the class list and displays it in large (200pt) text so the whole class can see it.

I wrote a small macro and attached it to a button so that when I press the button it randomises a few times so names flicker in the display area and then stops on a particular name.

The reason for this is like this:

As an instructor, a useful method of divining exactly what students know is to ask questions in class. The reccomended method is to ask the question, wait, and then single someone out... that way everyone thinks about how to answer the question in case it's them who gets chosen.

The trouble with that is that there is a certain amount of negative feeling involved in the selection process... particularly if the class thinks you picked someone "unfairly".

Now, with the randomizer, I can't be blamed for the choices, and when someone gets a question they find hard, I'm the one who helps them out... in other words, my influences are positive more than negative.

i'm very proud

[/boast]

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Sounds like a good idea! How did the students react when they saw it the first time, and what did other teachers say about it?

But indeed, you will almost certainly avoid the reaction that "the teacher always picks me for the difficult questions"... And if a student says that you made an unfair randomizer (a cheating randomizer), you can happily invite the student to make a better one

If I were a teacher, I'd probably ask you for a copy of it

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The students find it slightly amusing that i'm that much of a nerd. I'm not sure if they noticed the subtle psychological change in the room. It seems to me it works nicely.

It's a good job i'm even more of a nerd than that, though:

Just because I wanted to find out if I could, i decided to make my randomiser report every result to a frequency chart and then set it to run for a while to test the randomosity of it. It turned out that the first and last student in any list was being chosen half as many times due to the rounding function. I changed it to "INT" instead, which always rounds down, and it's better.

I've also developed a function on another sheet in the same workbook, where thereare checkboxes next to each student's name so I can tell the randomiser who is and who isn't there so it won't choose absent people (that was a bit of a bodge... basically i told it to calculate a new name if it came up as "absent", and repeated the function twenty times, but it works).

Now that I have the checkboxes, i'm thinking i could add a button which would report that day's attendance into another sheet which would record attendance. This is turning out to be difficult.

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You really are a nerd. I approve!

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another good Aid to education is to get yourself a Personal 3-band Cell Phone blocker/Jammer.

theyre quite affordable, and renders useless any mobile phone within a 15m radius, even a call in progress will be stopped within a couple of seconds

the battery lasts a good 3.5 hours and itll run indefinitely on the mains Charger (plenty long enough for your average lesson).

my Lab is a Cellphone Free Zone

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or you can make a giant tinfoil hat for the building

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Good that you fixed your randomizer. You must always assume that one of the kids in the class is as big a nerd as you... and that this kid will therefore somehow statistically prove that your randomizer is cheating - better avoid that

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a nice way around that is to use the numerical contents of the register that stores the Time as a seed value for the RND function.

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I HATE it when I get called on to answer chem questions...I get all nervous and I KNOW I'll mess up...you are an evil person, you teacher.

But that is a cool idea. But then again...I think silly string is cool...so...

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i'm very nice about it. If you can't get it i'll help you out.

I've managed to write a macro now which takes the attendance data and stores it in a table. It works beautifully.

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Hm. Interesting concept. I usually keep a DB in which I keep track who I have asked how often, but randomize it openly may be a nice trick. It may appear a bit like a quiz show then, but that might not be a bad thing.

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Hm. Interesting concept. I usually keep a DB in which I keep track who I have asked how often, but randomize it openly may be a nice trick. It may appear a bit like a quiz show then, but that might not be a bad thing.

you can have those mini mars bars as a prize too. amazing how far a bar of chocolate will encourage a kid to learn. even if that kid is a 21 year old university student (me).

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you can have those mini mars bars as a prize too. amazing how far a bar of chocolate will encourage a kid to learn. even if that kid is a 21 year old university student (me).

I was taught the basics of radioactivity by having Dairy Milk thrown at my head. It worked!

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Hm. Interesting concept. I usually keep a DB in which I keep track who I have asked how often, but randomize it openly may be a nice trick. It may appear a bit like a quiz show then, but that might not be a bad thing.

my early results really do seem to be promising. I am concerned, though that it might not work as a device that's there from the start. My students have been taught chemistry by me for the last year... they're used to my ways and tolerant of my nerd-dom. Perhaps if i start using it next year as soon as i meet the new students they might (a) take it for granted (b) not find it so amusing as my current students

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Trust me Mr. Hermanntrude...the chocolate bar thing WORKS.

I'm 20, yet I would get up and do integration on the board for the promise of a 3 Musketeers bar...or a Reesee's...mmmmmm...

We learn via chocolate...remember that!

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We have got the clicker system here, where you actually can poll the answers anonymously. I always wanted to try that out but apparently there are sometimes technical issues with that.

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BRAVO i would love to be in wutever class you teach

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I was taught the basics of radioactivity by having Dairy Milk thrown at my head. It worked!

meh, it was blackboard erasers when I was a kid!

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meh, it was blackboard erasers when I was a kid!

lol

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We have got the clicker system here, where you actually can poll the answers anonymously. I always wanted to try that out but apparently there are sometimes technical issues with that.

We use those in our corporate training events all of the time, and without issue. They're great once you learn how to use 'em properly, and allow for real feedback anonymously, and also to see which content areas are being missed by the students (and without them feeling "put on the spot").

It's called an Audience Response System, btw.

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good idea! I think it would benefit the class better if you could set it up on an alternating systematic process rather than random (this will in fact ensure each child is eventually selected in an even distribution)

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systematic would be predictable. The whole point is to make sure the students dont know who's next so they attempts to think about the answer in case they're selected.

and random DOES ensure they're selected evenly. the program has a built-in plotter and after 30 or 40 questions a class of 15 gets selected fairly evenly

Merged post follows:

Consecutive posts merged

one of our instructors is piloting clickers now. Ive already told them i want them

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It's called an Audience Response System, btw.

Bah, I call it bloody expensive useless system that makes student complain half the lecture that their device did not register properly . Though to be honest last time I heard that the system is supposed to work properly now.

Thinking about hurling stuff. I was wondering how well it would work to throw chocolate bars at students. The signals might be ambiguous, but they pack a better punch than chalk.

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I knew I was doing something wrong. I've been hurling staplers this whole time. Granted, my student base likely tends to be older than yours.

We don't use our ARS for grading purposes, just for status/retention checks. If a large number of folks are getting specific questions wrong, we know our crew failed to properly address that topic and we go back until everyone is up to speed and ready to move forward into the next module.

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There are a bunch of randomizers online, like random.org. Just enter the names of the students and it randomizes them. I use it from time to time when forming lab/activity groups. But I call on who I want when I want. I'm in charge and they will bow to me! lol

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