The past couple of weeks, I’ve been experimenting with new technology known as Mimio Vote. It’s the best thing that’s happened to science education since Borax. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but it has worked wonders in my Biology 20 class. The idea behind Mimio Vote is each student has a multiple choice handset, like in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Ask the Audience. This allows you to poll the students with a question at any time during the lesson. It used to be that lessons would consist of 20 minutes of notes followed by work time, or rather, time for motivated students to learn and non-motivated students to stall. Now my lessons take 50 minutes of a few notes with frequent Mimio Vote questions. Students are allowed to have their books open and talk to the people around them before answering. The idea is to get them to think about what they just learned, or to review background about what I am about to teach. Ironically, many of the questions I use for Votes are the same questions I would put on worksheets, only now, students actually want to answer them. It’s also helping immensely with their multiple choice test skills. If kids don’t get it, the results show right away and we can talk about why the answer they picked was wrong. Because the feedback is immediate, we can move on with the lesson knowing that everyone is on the same page. Feedback from the students suggests that they absolutely LOVE learning this way and they don’t mind that the lesson takes longer. It keeps them engaged and thinking during the lesson, instead of just being fed information in the form of notes. I think that a big pull for the kids is the novelty factor and the fact that the buttons on their handsets light up in pretty colours. I wonder if the novelty will wear off over time. In my Bio 20 class, it doesn’t seem to be losing its effect. Sometimes I wonder if this will take a toll on independent learning skills in the long run. It’s almost like they are being forced to work only one way and at one pace. There is very little self-motivation involved. However, their test results are showing huge improvements and retention of information. Mimio Vote: Talk to your administrators about investing in it.