Quizzing has never been as popular or as vital for teachers as in these extraordinary times in which we are living.
During the first lockdown period, quizzing became embedded in our distant teaching and learning as we set online quizzes, collated the data and identified misconceptions to guide our teaching.
Now that we are back to school, it continues to be a vital method in our pedagogy, as we have had to become increasingly flexible and adaptable.
In the first term, there have been students self-isolating and year-group closures in many schools across the country. Using online quizzing through Quizlet has enabled a continuity of learning, with those at home able to engage with the same material as those in the classroom.
I am a languages teacher, and I’m well aware learning a language is quite a challenge for many young people and requires a certain amount of independent learning. I have found quizzes to be extremely helpful with this, particularly after so long away from the classroom.
I have seen an increase in engagement from students at home when online quizzing is part of the process – and especially when they are able to use the games on the Quizlet website.
It’s been a tough year for them in all sorts of ways, and the stress of being back in the classroom after so long away is evident.
It’s a relief, then, to be able to create opportunities for students to have fun alongside the challenge of learning. My students particularly enjoy the games Match and Gravity, and being able to compete against their peers and other students from around the world is a great motivator and a nod to the increasingly blended future of education, where online connections will take more of a role.
The new GCSE Resource Centre has also been a huge help in terms of getting students back into the swing of things with key vocabulary. And as well as the vocabulary sets, I’m making regular use of the exam-style sets (which are also proving popular with my key stage 4 students to use at home).
With worries about social skills being rusty after a long period of learning remotely, quizzing has also been able to offer some steps back to normality. I use Quizlet Live to test difficult subject knowledge through students collaborating and communicating (sometimes in a very lively manner) across the classroom.
It is a pleasure to hear them working together in their learning and making progress as a group. A session lasts approximately 10 minutes and allows students to revisit previous learning, encouraging spaced retrieval and interleaving in a manner that they enjoy.
My students are also finding it useful to make and share their own Quizlet sets, which they are sharing among their friends to revise in a collaborative way, again ensuring those social links remain even when they can’t be together in person.
With quizzing now embedded in the practice of so many teachers, it’s becoming more and more of a mainstay of lessons, both inside and outside of the classroom.
And when used effectively it can help students to think more, ask and answer questions, and develop communication and collaboration skills – in any number of subjects.
Phil Edmonds is head of faculty for modern foreign languages at Cotham School in Bristol