Inside My Virtual Classroom. 2. Retrieval Practice MCQs.

One of the key components of a good lesson start, in ideal circumstances, is to be able to quickly explore and diagnose student recall of previous learning. In a school where we don’t expect students to bring laptops to lessons, we could perhaps use paper multiple choice quizzes, but the time and resource implications in completing and marking those is high!

With our virtual classroom, though, a number of options exist for us to create MCQs for the start of lessons in the right moments. Teaching Physical Geography, these have been able to focus on diagnostic understanding of process and technical terminology, and very rapidly build confidence in our use of the vocabulary and knowledge. 

I made the choice to build these on our virtual learning environment (Firefly) rather than via our online platform of Teams/Forms. While these are excellent platforms, the sustainability of our VLE means that I feel the time and workload involved means I want to try and future proof this as much as possible. I use assessment pages, where students have one attempt to complete, and have created multi choice questions which self mark. The only downside of this is that they are very bespoke to us – we can’t share them or import them from others’ work!

Where relevant (I don’t do it in all my lessons), students join a lesson with a link made available. Within the first five minutes, they have been able to answer the 10-15 MCQs, and have their responses marked. I can keep the marks if I want, particularly if there are any concerns, and keep this low stakes process really quick and hassle free. 

Students have really enjoyed being able to get this done with the minimum of fuss, and it’s been hugely powerful at helping them check where they are in this remote scenario. Moving forward, all of these quizzes are retained on our VLE for the future, and I’m hoping to be able to set them as pre learning activities for lessons next year and beyond too!

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