Doug Lemov, author of the acclaimed Teach Like a Champion, suggests a strategy called “No Opt Out.” He mentions that this strategy or mindset is consistently observed in champion teachers who maintain that expectation is that everyone tries the work presented. Fundamentally, this strategy is a “sequence that begins with a student unable to answer a question should end with the student answering that question as often as possible (even if the student is repeating someone else’s correct answer).”
So, we can picture how this might work without technology. Student A is called upon to answer a question orally, and he gets it wrong. Student B is called and answers the question correctly. The teacher then returns to Student A and asks A to repeat B’s answer.
But, how might this look using a technology tool? And why might it be better using technology?
- In PearDeck, a presentation tool that includes formative assessment slides for students to answer on their devices, teachers can monitor a running tally of the number of students who have answered the question. When all students have answered the question, then the teacher can review answers. Teachers then can ask the question again so that all students can input correct answers. So, instead of insisting the one student (A in the above example) answers correctly, all students will be required to answer correctly.
- Use the Quiz feature in Google Forms to offer immediate feedback to students. If students answer a question indirectly, they can resubmit the form with the correct answer. Teachers know who knew the information on the first try and who may need more support in getting the correct answers after receiving feedback from the form.
- Using conditional formatting seen in Alice Keeler’s “Check my Spelling” Google sheet, students get immediate feedback on whether or not a word they type in a cell is spelled correctly or not. This is done using the data validation feature of Google Sheets. (Menu item “Data” → “Data Validation”)
This would be great for spelling words, foreign language, matching definitions and terms,
and recall activities.
It is important to remember that using systems that automate feedback generally requires that teachers ask students recall based, DOK 1 questions. There is a time and a place for DOK 1 and once this understanding is built in all students, the learning can become deeper and more authentic.
Technology strategies that feature immediate feedback can emphasize the “no opt out strategy” and extend its power by ensuring that every student can’t opt out (rather than just the student the teacher calls on in the traditional implementation of the strategy).