A classroom with all individuals looking at the interactive board at the front of the room

Opportunities to Respond: Engagement Meets Technology

Author: Samantha Goldman; info@ciddl.org

The Universal Design for Learning framework emphasizes the need for timely feedback. Beyond this, “checking for understanding” throughout lessons is a recognized evidence-based practice and an aspect of “good teaching”. The concept of Opportunities to Respond (OTR) is an instructional-based strategy that encourages students to respond in different forms. Some of these opportunities may be errorless, yes/ no, or multiple choice. Using this strategy encourages more students to participate, and be more engaged, in the class. 

Why Does OTR Matter?

Not all students are given equal opportunities to respond. Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders (EBD) are not given as many opportunities to respond as their peers. According to Haydon, et al., choral responses, where everyone responds together, encourage more responses and more on-task behavior than independent responses. However, does this type of response give teachers the necessary feedback to drive their lessons? Probably not. 

Technology Solutions for OTR

In a previous CIDDL blog post, we shared several informal assessments that can provide OTR. Rila et al. shared suggestions for technology-based solutions to improve OTR. Within their article, they discuss how clickers, a handheld student response system that’s primary function is to give students the OTR and for teachers to quickly receive feedback and gauge understanding. How can we encourage OTR in the 1:1 classroom? Rila et al. suggest Plickers, Kahoot, and Socrative

Plickers is the most high-tech low-tech OTR. Each student is assigned a printed QR code. Especially in elementary, it is highly recommended teachers laminate these codes. The only device is the educator’s which is used to scan the QR codes. The teacher asks a closed question (one that is either yes/no, true/ false, or multiple choice). Students answer the question by holding up their QR code and aligning their answer choice on the top. Then, the teacher uses their phone or tablet to scan the QR codes, and, like magic, the student's responses are all recorded. The only person that sees the responses, and therefore sees who answered correctly or incorrectly, is the teacher. 

Kahoot, another option for OTR, provides a gamified formative assessment. Unlike Plickers, Kahoot requires students to have access to devices in order to play, and thereby respond. Rather than displaying individual data, Kahoot presents each question with a percentage of students who guessed each answer choice. This does not provide detailed data with regards to exactly whom in the class understands or does not. Rather, this provides an overall picture.  With Kahoot, students choose a nickname, which adds to the fun of the activity. A drawback of this is the students’ scores are shown on the projector, which may impede a student’s willingness to participate. 

The final technology Rila et al. shared was Socrative. Socrative presents more like a standard assessment, in that it lacks the gamification of other systems. Students, however, are still provided with immediate feedback and each is given OTR. Like Plickers, and unlike Kahoot, the teacher is provided with a dashboard that shows which students, in real-time, answered the questions correctly and incorrectly. 

Your OTR

These are just a sampling of the variety of tools that exist to provide students with and without disabilities and pre-service teachers OTR. Head over to our community and share your favorite technology for OTR!