As part of our Humanising the Online Experience webinar, we suggested the use of name selectors to take the decision-making out of selecting a student to answer a question. We recommend you use this only when you have gotten to know your students well enough to know how they respond to being asked questions by name. Using a randomiser tool can also reduce the feeling that the teacher is ‘picking on’ a particular student too often – both for the teacher and the students!
There are a lot of online tools available, such as:
- Wheel of Names – a flashy web tool with animations and sound
- Random Lists Name Picker – a more utilitarian approach for a web tool
The slight hitch with using these is that they are not reusable – you need to paste the names in every session.
It’s possible to create one of these yourself using Excel, which you can then save and re-use for the class time and again. A 2-minute tutorial for this, and an example file, is available on the FMS TEL Canvas Community. If you haven’t got access to that community in your Canvas yet, first enroll here.
Of course, you can use these tools for more than just selecting names. You could use this to randomly assign cases for students to study, or assign group roles. You can use them to generate lists of anything in a random order by noting outcomes.
During icebreaker games or other tasks, you may want to try a heads-or-tails or dice-roll randomiser, and there are many other randomising tools available on Random.org.