Better class brainstorms

We love brainstorming in class as a way to generate discussion around a new topic; it’s a time-tested favourite of many teachers. But there has always been a few drawbacks:

  • Discussion is usually dominated by a few louder students in the room, and it’s often hard for us to keep track of who did and didn’t contribute.
  • It doesn’t prompt all students to think about what they know before being prompted by others.
  • You risk not getting as many novel ideas, because the students’ thinking ends up being prematurely guided by the thoughts of others.

We thought we might be able to do better. That’s why we built the brand new Live Brainstorm feature in Stile.

How it looks in the classroom

Live Brainstorm, as the name suggests, is designed to be used live in your class, with students on their laptops or tablets, and you on the projector up the front.

Here is the classroom workflow as we imagine it:

  1. On their laptop or tablet, students quickly dump everything they know about a topic into Stile via the Live Brainstorm feature. To begin with, these ideas are not shared.
  2. As the teacher, you monitor who has contributed in real-time, on your computer. Consider prompting those that haven’t contributed before continuing.
  3. Once students have had a few minutes to contribute their ideas, pop the Live Brainstorm widget up on the projector at the front. You’ll be able to see all the students’ ideas in one place, drag-and-drop to organise those ideas, and use this as a stimulus for classroom discussion.
  4. You can then make everyone’s contributions available to all students, so they’ve got a record of it for later revision.

But wait, there’s more…

Of course, generating class discussion is just one example of how Live Brainstorm could be used to enhance learning in your classroom — we know you’ll come up with a million great ways to use this new collaboration tool. I encourage you to play with it and see what works. We’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts! Get in touch at community@stileeducation.com.