As more and more classrooms at Indiana University have Solstice added to them, it is increasingly likely that the classroom you are teaching in will be equipped with this technology. And just because the technology is in your classroom, does not mean that you have to use it. However, if it allows you to do something you were never able to do before, or allows you to do something more efficiently than before… then it makes sense to use the technology. In other words, don’t search for ways to incorporate the technology just to use it. Use it because it makes the learning experience better for your students.
If you are worried about introducing new technologies in class because you’ll have to teach the students how to use the technology, please read on. With Solstice, it is best to ease your students into the technology with a low stakes introductory activity. At the start of the term, engage them in a quick activity that allows you and the students to start to get to know each other.
This can take on many different forms, but when I have Solstice in the room, it really allows me to meet students where they are… their pictures. I ask students to find an image that represents something about themselves, about something they enjoy, or about their recent term break (winter break, summer break, etc.) that they would like to share with the class. By leaving the terms a little more open, it allows students that want to share their favorite instagram photo to do so, or those that are a little more private to just search for a google image that represents a trip they took or something they are comfortable sharing.
I usually only give about a minute or two for students to find an image on their devices. I then briefly explain that Solstice is a wireless sharing technology that we will use often this term and that we are starting with this activity so that everyone can gain experience with how to connect, share, and manage sharing within this space.
By this point, several students will have already connected and shared without further instruction. I ask those students to help others around them, which frees me up to help those that need further instruction. I then like to take a couple of minutes to demonstrate some of the management features of Solstice and discuss classroom norms with the tool. Finally, students can verbally share what their image represents and why they chose that image with either the whole class or their small group, depending on class size.
From start to finish I find this activity takes about 15-20 minutes and is invaluable for setting up the culture of sharing with Solstice for the remainder of the term. If you are unsure if any of the classrooms you teach in have Solstice in them, check the IU Solstice list to see all the spaces it is available on your campus. If you are interested in more information about Solstice or interested in a one-on-one session to learn more, contact us firstname.lastname@example.org. Are you already using Solstice in your class? Please share what works for you and your students in the comments below.