This post is contributed by Leah Cleary, a secondary social studies and English teacher in Newnan, Georgia, where she lives with her husband and 11-year-old son. She invites you to check out her blog.
Even the most introverted among us is inherently a social creature. There’s something that happens internally when we connect with another person that can only be described as happiness. Connection is exciting — it’s satisfying — it’s comforting.
We learn better when we’re happy, excited, satisfied, and comfortable. Isolation is uncomfortable and, therefore, not conducive to learning. It makes sense, then, that we learn better together.
But teachers of all grades know how difficult it is to make real collaborative learning happen.
Students are often reluctant to work with people they don’t know. One student often dominates and ends up doing all the work. Another often sits back and lets that happen. Some often refuse to work with others they don’t know. There are a lot of “oftens” that make collaborative learning incredibly difficult in practice.
So why would a collaborative review game like Quizlet Live work?
I have used Quizlet with my classes for a couple of years now. I loaded all of my unit vocabulary sets to the site, and like magic, my students had flashcards, practice quizzes, and games to help them study. I thought it couldn’t get any better than that.
Then one day last school year I logged onto Quizlet and saw a beta version of something called Quizlet Live. At first I ignored it, but I kept wondering about it, and even though it seemed like “one more thing,” I eventually checked it out.
I watched the introductory video. My classes played it that same day.
Teachers, you heard me right — that same day. There was nothing for me to do because my vocabulary sets were already entered into Quizlet, so there was zero prep on my part.
But that wasn’t the best part. The best part was how much my students loved it. They kept asking to play, and when I said it was time to move on, they begged for one more round.
The unique thing about Quizlet Live is the teamwork component. Collaboration is important, but as mentioned before, it’s difficult to implement.
In Quizlet Live, each team member is vital to winning the game. No one can sit back and let others do it for them. Since each teammate has different answers on her screen, if one chooses not to participate, she ruins it for the rest.
As teachers, we know the importance of instilling collaborative skills into our students, but it can prove challenging. One student often takes the lead. Others often do nothing.
Quizlet Live forces student interaction. Everyone has to contribute. I’ve watched struggling students work hard to actively grasp the content and more advanced students depend on them, for a change.
And Quizlet Live enables students to collaborate with others they may not normally talk to. For one round, each team shares a learning experience. Each team member depends on the others for the win. Struggling and advanced students take equal ground — a shared moment of learning.
Then the round ends, the teacher hits “shuffle,” and the students regroup to share a learning experience with another team.