An Updated Show of Hands

Helen Berrington, Eleftherios Kastis, Anna Karapiperi


It is a tried and tested technique to gauge the overall understanding of a class: a multiple-choice quiz with a show of hands for who thinks the answer is a, b or c. Although quick and easy, how much does it really measure the students’ understanding? On top of that, how useful is it as an informal formative assessment? A few students usually dominate the class and less confident students may not put up their hand, or may follow what their classmates are doing, and hence both the learner and educator may never know the individuals’ true answer.

Here we discuss “an updated show of hands”, whereby students scan a QR code to take them to a real-time quiz hosted on the Moodle Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), that they can answer on their smart device. All students answer the same question at the same time, and after a set time, the correct answer is revealed and the class results for that question are then displayed to everyone as an anonymous percentage. Whilst this updated method has the obvious advantage of anonymity and the obvious disadvantage of potential technical problems, in this case study we provide a full description of the implementation and an in-depth discussion on the pedagogy and practicalities of the updated show of hands – the real-time smart device quiz.


mathematics education; maths support

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