Friday, 24 June 2011

Crowdsourcing Knowledge with Students

Over the last few weeks I have been playing with a very simple brainstorming and voting website called tricider. The great thing about tricider is that it is incredibly quick and simple to use, and yet it enables users to collect information and opinions from all over the web in a very easily digestible and powerful way.

It's very easy to create a tricider topic or question and you don't even need to register, just type your topic or question into the field.


You can also add a bit more detail and instructions to guide your students.

After you have saved the description, you or your students can start adding solutions.

Once there are some solutions added it's easy to either vote for them or add arguments for or against, using the + or - symbols.


Once you have set up your page you can add your email so that you get notifications when ever anyone adds something new or votes. You can also get a URL to edit the page (in case anyone adds something offensive) and a separate URL to either share with your students or post to Twtter or Facebook.

Here are some examples that I have set up to crowdsource in formation from my PLN.
So how can we use this with students?
  • Set up some controversial statements and get students to vote for the ones they agree / disagree with and leave pro and con comments. You could assign groups of students to all think of pros and another group to think of cons and see which can come up with the most convincing arguments. Example: Controversial Issues
  • Your statements could be about a particular book your students are studying and they could add arguments for or against. Example: Goldilocks and the 3 Bears
  • Get students to brainstorm word or phrases based around a theme. Example: Computer Phrases
  • Get students to vote on a list of topics they want to study. Example: Topics
  • Put up a list of favourite films or books or bands and get students to vote and debate which is best. Example: Favourite films
  • Get students to brainstorm, debate and share knowledge about any particular topic or even language point. Example: Present Continuous
  • Set up true false questions to check comprehension of a text.
  • Create action research questionnaires to get feedback on the things you do in class. Example: Things we do in Class
  • Create needs analysis questionnaires for your students or other colleagues. Example: Needs Analysis
  • Get students create their own questionnaires and circulate them online (through Twitter or Facebook) to collect opinions. You could also get the students to use this information as part of a written assignment.
What's so good about tricider?
  • It's free and really quick and easy to use.
  • It's allows people to interact and share opinions.
  • It doesn't require any registration.
  • It's very simple for students to add their arguments or just vote.
  • It updates very quickly so you could use it live in class and just click refresh as students add opinions or vote.
  • It's versatile.
  • It can help students pull in opinions from outside their classroom and also share opinions beyond their school.
  • It creates easily digestible information.
What's not so good?
  • Well there's not much wrong, but a couple of nice extra features would be:
  • An embed code to allow me to embed the page into a blog or wiki.
  • An archive button to enable me to close some of the debates so they don't go on forever.
  • The ability to export the results to pdf or csv.
Well I hope you find tricider a useful tool and please do share any ideas you have for using it in the comments below.

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Nik Peachey