Giving Compass’ Take:
• Equity Maps is an app that functions as a tool to show students how they communicate in the classroom, and how to improve upon their dialogue to promote understanding.
• This technology is extremely student-driven because it allows young people to come to their own conclusions about how conversations flow in the classroom. Why should schools promote student-centered education technology?
• Learn more on how technology is shaping the future of education.
Educators can think of the iPad app Equity Maps as a digital ball of yarn, one that tracks data on in-class discussions and then helps students understand how their interactions during those group conversations affect those around them.
Dave Nelson, lifelong teacher and founder of Equity Maps, created the app as a way to “provide a tool that helps students see how they performed as a group and as a way of improving for the next time.”
The core idea is simple, based off the old group discussion concept of passing a ball of yarn from one speaker to the next so that by the end, the group sees the web of yarn connecting speaker to speaker — often showing holes where students didn’t participate and highlighting those who may have dominated the conversation.
Equity Maps does that in digital form.
Each student in the app is displayed as an icon. As the group discussion flows, educators tap the icon of each new speaker and a line appears to create a visual representation of the conversation.
“When students can see the data and see the lines of communication that happen in a classroom, they can come to their own conclusions rather than being told this is something they need to work on,” Nelson says. “How can we go deeper to involve everyone and come to a better understanding? It is very student-driven. It teaches them how to have a conversation. That is the goal.”
Nelson likes to have groups set goals for equity in overall dialogue before each discussion. They can then look at the data at the end to see how they did and where they can improve. While many teachers use Equity Maps to measure student understanding of a topic, Nelson considers improving dialogue as its primary purpose.
Read the full article about student equity maps by Tim Newcomb at The 74.
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