The most significant development in teaching happens with tools whose potential is often only recognized at second glance. Mentimeter is in my eyes such a program, which with its simple and intuitive interface at first seems quite simple, but in the classroom unfolds its full effect: Pupils change from passive listeners to active contributors.
Mentimeter is an easy-to-use presentation software that can actually be used in all school areas. Goal: To engage students, colleagues, parents – or whoever is with them – through interaction. The principle of Mentimeter is very simple: When opening a Mentimeter slide, the website and a code are displayed, the students log into the presentation and are actively involved from that moment on. If the teacher opens a new slide, the smartphones / tablets / … automatically display the corresponding questions or content, the result evaluation centrally on the beamer.
Simple target formulation
Make teaching more interactive, adaptive and entertaining – above all: much more flexible.
How can I achieve this?
Mentimeter offers a wide range of possible activities that can be used in a targeted and straightforward manner during all phases of instruction:
- With Mentimeter, word clouds can be generated from brainstorming keywords automatically and without any further intervention. The more often a word is entered, the larger it appears in the evaluation.
- Open content can be pinned in the form of speech bubbles or post-it boxes.
- Mentimeter enables voting and polling, where participants can choose a favorite option in multiple-choice or image-choice mode.
- Prioritization of different answer options according to the 100-point method is offered, as is a two-dimensional ranking based on a matrix.
- With the help of scales, different values can be queried for different items, z.B. Popularity or approval ratings.
- In the Q&A section, participants can ask their questions – espw. on the topic – formulate.
- The creation of quizzes and estimation questions is also easy to realize, similar to many other tools.
- Last but not least, text slides or graphics can be inserted to combine the individual elements into an overall presentation.
How to proceed?
- Creating a new presentation.
- Select slide / question type.
- Enter questions / topics and answer options.
- Ready! Start presentation in class / in training / …
Useful option: Powerpoint presentations can be integrated via import function and extended by interactive elements. A very useful feature if you don’t want to redo the whole presentation or switch between PPT and Mentimeter all the time.
Different functions of Mentimeter – simply integrate with a click
Activity – activation – motivation – content focus: How can I use interactive queries in class to improve student learning??
Collect key words / vocabulary / terms in a word cloud and use them for the lesson
In all teaching phases – with different objectives in each case – an excellent function: collect terms or vocabulary quickly and easily in a weighted word cloud. Whether for reactivating previous knowledge, for weighting content in reading tasks, for collecting key words for discussions or further conversations, or simply for obtaining feedback – the word cloud function is suitable in all phases of the lesson. Gone are the times of tedious collecting on the blackboard or even via OHP – now the students can achieve impressive results in a short time and collaboratively, which can then structure the further lessons.
Teaching entry: Query prior knowledge on 11. September 2001 (Class 11)
Securing results: key words for a film scene
Collecting opinions and assessments of the students – via scale evaluation – and using them for the lessons
Two examples show how in the introduction (Spanish: Lesson on technological change and the question whether this is seen as an opportunity or a danger; History: Military resistance in 1944 – a pointless endeavor?) thanks to Mentimeter, the students’ assessments can be collected quickly and easily, but at the same time visualized in a target-oriented and appealing way.
Entry: student estimations of chances and risks of technological change
Deepening: Student assessments as a basis for discussion
On this basis, it is then possible to have an excellent discussion, to adapt the lesson accordingly, or to draw a before-and-after comparison towards the end of the lesson.
Collecting opinions, assessments and questions of the students – via open questioning – and using them for the lessons
I also like to collect questions of the students about a topic via mentimeter, in order to be able to align the lessons with them in the following lessons or to illuminate certain sub-topics in more detail via a presentation. Here is an example of a sequence for the 11. September 2001, in which I used questions formulated by the students as a template for possible (voluntary) presentations, which complement the lessons and put the design of the lessons more in the hands of the students.
Questions to the topic: Pupils’ questions to the 11. September 2011 – basis for presentations and sequence planning on my part
The open question function is also suitable for collecting arguments. Here is an example from the above-mentioned lesson on military resistance: The students used mentimeters to collect arguments on the question of the meaningfulness of resistance (from today’s perspective). On this basis, they then wrote a discussion – even the weaker students now had a large number of arguments at hand, thought them through calmly and could then use them for the discussion, which otherwise would probably have been much tighter..
Student opinions as a basis for discussion and debate
Collecting opinions, assessments, prior knowledge of the students – via multiple-choice questioning – and using them for lessons
For many topics it makes sense to ask for opinions, assessments or even prior knowledge first in order to have a first overview of the situation in the course. Mentimeter multiple choice queries are a great way to do this. Based on the results, lessons can then be flexibly adapted, z.B. by focusing on certain aspects, the closer thematization of which makes the query results appear important.
Of course, these queries can also be used to get to know an audience better. Here’s how I like to use Mentimeter during professional development sessions to get a first look at levels of prior knowledge and/or interests. Here is an example from a training with 60 participants unknown to me, whose different interests I could better assess after a short Mentimeter query and then go into more detail in the presentation.
With Mentimeter, teachers have a highly functional solution at their fingertips, which makes it possible to test students or other participants during z.B. Involve educators more than ever before, pool assessments, prior knowledge, and opinions, and achieve impressive results in a short amount of time and in a completely seamless collaborative way.
Mentimeter thus enables a fundamental change in teaching that was more difficult to implement in the days of the rather fleeting word: teaching becomes more flexible, more adaptive in relation to student interests, the activity of the students and thus the activation increases, quite subjectively observed also the motivation, and results can be developed, saved and further used in a goal-oriented and collaborative manner.
The fact that the implementation is so simple and intuitively structured is a clear plus point for use in schools.
Mentimeter is free in the trial version, but then only with three possible queries per presentation. For those who want to use this solution regularly, we recommend the paid version, which then also comes with approx. 70€ / year. In my eyes, already a worthwhile investment for the change of my own teaching, which I do not regret. However, I would definitely also like to point out the equally good tool Wooclap (see: Youtube tutorial on Wooclap), which basically offers the same functions as Mentimeter – but is basically free for teachers (how does the? Here is a Youtube tutorial). A real recommendation!