Teachers need to have students converse, discuss, and debate. At the same time, whole class discussion has some inherent challenge:
- Classroom management – getting students to follow rules, take turns, etc.
- Students who dominate the discussion
- Students too shy to participate
- Keeping a record to provide feedback to students
The good news is Verso solves these problems. Teachers can go to their website, signup with Google and get started easily.
Adding classes is easy. Click on “Classes “and “Add Class.” Each class has a code that can be shared with students:
Students go to the Verso site, sign in with Google and enter the class code. They then see all discussions (Verso calls them “activities”) assigned to the class.
Creating an activity is easy. Click “Add Activity” in the dashboard:
An activity consists of a resource and a description where teachers can post discussion questions. The resource can be a link or a Google Drive file. Links to YouTube videos work really well in a nice preview window. Teachers can use hyperdocs in Google Drive to link to many resources. Author’s note: teachers can use the “record” option by installing the mobile Verso app on their phones. See Verso’s comment below.
Here is the magic of Verso: when students participate, they do not see their peers’ names. All students are anonymous. Students lose the baggage of identity. Talkative students don’t dominate. Shy students can shine. Here is what it looks like for students:
Here is the teacher view of the same responses:
Unfortunately, profile images from GAFE do not automatically upload to Verso. Students and teachers have to add profile pictures themselves. Teachers should have students do this early in the school year so they see students’ faces when they read discussion posts and give feedback.
Thank you for reading this introduction to Verso. If you would like to talk about this more, comment below or tweet me at @edtechtom.
Here is a brief introductory video from Verso. The video refers to “flips.” Verso now calls them “activities.”
Blog Image URL: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/74/US_Navy_090617-N-9610C-029_Chad_Stober,_an_instructor_at_John_C._Stennis_University_,_center,_teaches_students_Japanese_in_a_training_classroom_aboard_the_Nimitz-class_aircraft_carrier_USS_John_C._Stennis_(CVN_74).jpg
VERSO has potential to allow for discussion at a new and different level than a blog. I worry about “devolving” to a too low a level of shout and shout back though. I have a class I may try this out on next year. Thanks!
Great blog post – thanks Tom!
A couple of minor corrections from the Verso team:
– The record feature for teachers actually is part of the free version. To use it you need to download our mobile app from the IOS or Android store. Once you have the mobile app installed you’ll be able to sign in as usual to see all your classes and you’ll also see the record option when creating an Activity
– You can now upload a profile picture from the browser as well. We only just rolled this feature out a few weeks ago and hadn’t gotten around to updating our support pages. We’ve done that now though!
Thanks too for the great suggestion to have your GAFE profile picture automatically added to Verso. We’ve added that to our roadmap.
If you or your readers are interested in checking out the growing list of awesome features we have in our paid-for version then this link has all you need to know: http://versoapp.com/campus-features/
All our Verso development ideas come from our amazing community of teachers and we really appreciate great posts like yours.
Thanks for the feedback! I will make a note of this in my post.
Hi Tom – I’m going to check out Verso, thanks for the tips and ideas! I’ve used Socrative for class discussions in the past but am always looking around for other features and options. If you have any insight or comparison between the two, please let me know. Thank you!
Kalei, I have used Socrative. I have not used it for class discussions. I use it for assessment. The killer app of Verso is the anonymous identity component. I love that functionality. Please let me know if you have more questions.
Love it! I definitely need to try this out.
Thank you Kendra!
Thanks for such a clear overview. I will make sure to explore this with my students next year.