Teaching and Cats

I’m test-running Mentimeter this semester for Cambrian College’s Teaching and Learning Innovation Hub. Look, here’s proof of just how much test-running I’m doing;

Screenshot 2019-02-10 at 9.09.37 PM

Did I mention the title of the email was “Thank you for being in the top 1%”? There is no prize. Just bragging rights. đŸ˜‰

Here’s my review after a month of consistent use for my documentation class:

Ease of Use

There’s a tutorial you can run through but I opted to skip it. I prefer to play around first and then resort to tutorials if needed. I found Menti to be intuitive and user-friendly so the tutorial remains a mystery for me.

Ease of use for students is also straightforward. There is no need to download an app. All students need to do is head to menti.com and type in the code associated with the presentation.

Aesthetics

Menti may not look as clean shaven as some traditional slideshow templates but I think that’s part of its charm. Plus, there’s only so much information you can fit on a slide which might be helpful for people who are inclined to keep adding content. Menti says don’t do it. And your audience will thank you.

Images

A fun feature is that Unsplash is naturally embedded as a search option which allows for convenient searching of images without worrying about copyright infringements.

Videos

A downside is that there isn’t an option to embed videos. My workaround has been to showcase videos in the course Moodle shell.

Student Involvement

Menti has a social media vibe that allows students to react in real-time to content. All of the interactive features keeps the audience at the forefront when planning the slides. If you’re intimidated by the social media rating option, you’ll be relieved to know that you can customize which slides have the options for the following: thumbs up, thumbs down, a heart, a question mark, a cat (yes, there is a cat option). You also have control as to which of the 5 options you permit users to choose from. I opted to wait a few classes before adding the cat option, but when I did, it was a pleasant surprise to see how many fellow cat lovers were in the room. It’s a fun component for feline fans but I use it sparingly as depending on the content, it is not always appropriate.

There are a variety of options to obtain student feedback. Here’s what they thought about documentation on day 1:

Screenshot 2019-02-10 at 9.12.40 PM

Sliding scales serve as an alternative to traditional multiple choice questions:

Screenshot 2019-02-10 at 9.26.07 PM

You can also have fun with contests. Spoiler: virtual confetti is involved:

Screenshot 2019-02-10 at 9.15.16 PM

The social media-esque features can also serve as a quick assessment of the audience. I sometimes use it as a quick check to assess student knowledge:

Screenshot 2019-02-10 at 9.32.21 PM

You’ll also notice in the above screenshot there is a number above the question mark. This is one of my favourite features of Menti – students can anonymously type questions in real-time. The question appears on the screen once the presenter hovers over the question mark. It’s a great way to encourage participation, especially for students who aren’t as comfortable participating verbally.

The thumbs up and thumbs down feature also serves as a great way to spontaneously capture audience feedback that you didn’t account for when preparing the slides.

Student Feedback

We’ll head on over to my 24/7 virtual feedback lounge, fully equipped with forever-fresh donuts, to see what students have to say about Menti:

Screenshot 2019-02-10 at 9.46.13 PM.png

Menti is my favourite so far. The other application we tried for a few sessions was Nearpod but for some reason it didn’t stick. We did have fun with the drawing option however, which Menti does not have.

One application that I continue to use across all classes is Kahoot. The students seem to get a kick out of the bells and whistles.

While Menti may be an interactive method of presenting, it also has an option to download the presentation as a PDF file which I post for the students. You also have the option of downloading the file after it’s been presented with the data from the audience.

So there you have it, my thoughts thus far on Menti.

Meow.

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