Type of technology: Website
SAMR Model Rating: Modification
Grade level: 3-12
Subject area: All Subject Areas
Description of the lesson taught:
Verso Learning is an innovative, global education company where pedagogy meets technology.
Verso is a free app that allows students and teachers to interact in an effective way both in and out of the classroom. Using Verso can be a learning experience for the entire classroom. I’d like to provide some context for Verso, so people can understand more of their offerings and mission, and then explain how I utilize it in the classroom. Verso is an educational company that grew out of Learnology which is a “pedagogy first” company focused on implementing both education and technology. Verso uses an online platform to help students find their voice to probe deeper questions and personalize the learning experience for both classrooms and individuals. Verso offers a library of activities ranging from questioning strategies to response formats. Verso offers these “safe” learning opportunities for all levels of students. With the peer anonymous format (students cannot see who posted a response, but the teacher can) students can build and experience confidence, share their ideas with their peers, and see their thinking right on the screen. This is a great opportunity for students to receive immediate feedback from their peers and it activates learning across the classroom by providing real time student thinking and immediate development of ideas being taught in the classroom. Students can see to what extent other students are responding, collaborating and providing positive to feedback to their peers. Verso allows students to find their own voice and creates the opportunity for more personalized learning.
Verso is instrumental in facilitating learning for students with the following:
✓ Critical Thinking
Now on to how I used Verso in my classroom. For the teacher, Verso is simple to sign up and create an account. Once you log into Verso, you will see a dashboard along the left hand side listing the following learning opportunities: Classes, Library, My Stats, and Help. I created an AP Language and an AVID class for my experience with Verso. Once you create you class you can then create different activities based on what you are doing in class.
For my AP class I posed various questions and links to stories or videos we watched in class. The benefit of this is that students who missed class that day can still access Verso from anywhere. One of the activities we used was Queen Elizabeth’s Speech to the Troops at Tilbury. We initially read and discussed the speech in class looking for rhetorical strategies she used and then I had them watch a video of an actress delivering the actual speech. Students then responded online in an anonymous format and analyzed the differences in the written and the visual texts. Each student submitted a paragraph on Verso, which all other students could view without any names attached to them. As a teacher I have access to viewing which student wrote which response and I let them know that this is not anonymous to the teacher to circumvent any shenanigans.
What I found was that students were excited and genuinely interested in viewing what their peers responded. It started a discussion based on student writing about two different texts. Students were quoting each other’s writing as part of the discussion. For this purpose it is very effective as a learning tool for class.
I have also used it as an exit ticket to acknowledge what students specifically learned on a specific day. In addition, I have also used Verso as a Do Now – a quick recap of what students read the night before. This serves two purposes:
- I make the students’ responses timed and it becomes quickly obvious who completed the reading.
- For those who either did not complete the reading or who had a hard time understanding the reading, this serves as a great review for the entire class.
Finally, the most useful aspect I have found with Verso is for test prep. Throughout our two week unit we read and responded to eight stories or essays. As part of our review for the test, I posed potential test questions on Verso and we responded to them in class. Students now had access to over 30 responses to a particular question which became a great study guide for those who used it. I have found Verso very simple to use and beneficial in the capacities listed above. If you find other ways to use Verso please let me know.