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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsSPEAKER: In this example, I'll show you the online, asynchronous equivalent for Think-Pair-Share. I'm going to be using Google forms, here. You might be able to use the learning platform at your school or college, or another tool. Please refer to your school or college guidance on the use of third-party tools. The first stage is to gather the ideas from your learners. I've set up a very simple form here, where we have a short text response with a question that I've posed. So this short answer response is where the students will put their thoughts and their answers to this question.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 secondsI've also included a deadline in my description at the top of the page-- I want responses by three o'clock on the 1st of May. In the Settings, because everyone in my institution has a Google account, I'm able to restrict it to just those within my institution. I haven't asked the people to sign in because, actually, that information is not relevant for me at this point. I've also enabled learners to submit another response. I'm more interested in gathering as many different perspectives as possible than just restricting to one response per learner. To access the student-facing form, I click the Preview link in Google Forms.

Skip to 1 minute and 20 secondsAnd then this URL, this web link, is what I will share back to the students to complete the task. Students will then put their responses in this form. And then they would Submit their response, and if they wanted to, they could even submit another response, the way I've configured this particular form. When the deadline is reached, I go back to my form and I look at the responses. And I can see here that I've gotten nine responses. To the next stage is to create a new form with these responses. So I'm just going to Copy those.

Skip to 1 minute and 56 secondsAnd then go into forms.google.com, I'm going to create a new form. So again, I've set up my form with a deadline at the top. Now, what my learners are going to do is select the statement they agree with the most and the statement they disagree with the most. So with my copied responses, I have a multiple choice question type ready, and all I'm going to do now is Paste in. Now, because those responses were on different lines, it's created separate options for each one of those responses. Now, I'm just going to quickly look through these responses and remove any duplicates or anything that is irrelevant. So for example, here we have "I don't know," we can remove that one.

Skip to 2 minutes and 38 seconds"One is good, the other is not" isn't very helpful, so we'll remove that statement. So in the question, I'm just going to ask my learners to select the one they most agree with. And what I've put in here is that they're going to read all the responses from the class, Select the statement they agree with the most, and reassure them that it's OK to change their mind from what they originally posted. So I'm just going to emphasise the agree stage, here, just by putting that in capitals. Because what I'm now going to do is Copy that, duplicate that whole question, and then change that to "disagree."

Skip to 3 minutes and 14 secondsSo now I have two questions in my form-- an "agree" and a "disagree." Now for this particular form, again, I'm going to look at the Settings, I'm going to restrict it to just people in my institution. But also at this time, limit it to just one response. In the presentation then, they will not be able to submit another response. So I'm Saving that, Opening up the form in the Preview Mode. I've now got a web link that I can share with my students. Now, once all the students have had a chance to submit their responses, I can go back to my form at forms.google.com. Go into Edit and then view the responses.

Skip to 3 minutes and 51 secondsAnd we can see here that we have two graphs that I can now Copy and share back with my students. As an educator, it's really clear to me, here, that most of the students have got that distance learning is about location and online learning is about the method. Though, there are still significant proportions where they are agreeing with other aspects. And those are the things that we want to maybe draw out in a synchronous session. For the "disagree" side, most of them selected "online distance the same, they're not different." So it shows that they are understanding the concepts and the differences between online and distance. But there are a couple of responses here that don't quite get that.

Skip to 4 minutes and 27 secondsSo again, when we take this back to the synchronous session, that's the learning opportunity for those two individuals to understand why the majority have selected that option for the "disagree." Now, at this stage here, what you could do is Share those responses back to students before the live session. So I'm going to turn Off "accepting responses." I'm going to go to the Settings, Scroll down to the bottom, Select "see summary charts and text responses," and click Save. Now, the URL that's been used to view the actual forms, the ones that students submit, all I need to do is change the end of that URL from "view form" to "view analytics."

Skip to 5 minutes and 10 secondsAnd now this is a link that is available to my students for them to view the results. And the comparisons that take place could take place within a live facilitated session or, perhaps, on an asynchronous discussion board.

Think-pair-share online version

‘Think-pair-share’ is a very popular in teaching strategy in secondary science. Often it’s about developing a willingness to compare ideas with others. It’s about reaching a group consensus and being able to compare their ideas with those of others. It involves:

  1. Think: The teachers poses the questions and students think quietly by themselves about how they might answer
  2. Pair: students share their thinking with their partner, discuss ideas, and try to reach a consensus by questioning each other.
  3. Share: Allow each group to choose who will present their thoughts, ideas, and questions they had to the rest of the class. In classrooms where teachers bounce ideas raised by one group to another for comment, this can actually lead to much better understanding for both the teacher and the learners. However, it does require the teacher holding back from commenting immediately, as a teacher voice can dominate and close down dialogue.

What would this look like in distance learning?

Representation of think-pair-share for distance learning: a funnel. First ideas are gathered, then filtered and shared back, with a smaller selection chosen for discussion in detail

To carry out this activity remotely, think of it as a funnel, where every student initially contributes a single idea, perhaps by email, text or on an online form. You then collate a list of the ideas, filter and group if necessary, to share back with the whole group. Each student then has time to explore and consider the different contributions before reassessing their own viewpoint.

As a teacher, you can identify one or two opposing ideas to explore further, or misconceptions to address, during a synchronous session, recorded video or written post.

The video shows how this could be implemented using Google Forms, or similar tools.

Always refer to your school or college third-party tool policy and do not require students to submit personal data.

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This video is from the free online course:

Teaching for Home Learning: Secondary Science

National STEM Learning Centre