Writing for The 74, author Tim Newcomb reviews a new iPad app that tracks student discussions to facilitate student growth of dialogue skills, including conversation flow and inclusion. Excerpts of the piece appear below:
Educators can think of the iPad app Equity Maps as a digital ball of yarn, one that tracks data on in-class discussions and then helps students understand how their interactions during those group conversations affect those around them.
Dave Nelson, lifelong teacher and founder of Equity Maps, created the app as a way to “provide a tool that helps students see how they performed as a group and as a way of improving for the next time.”
The core idea is simple, based off the old group discussion concept of passing a ball of yarn from one speaker to the next so that by the end, the group sees the web of yarn connecting speaker to speaker – often showing holes where students didn’t participate and highlighting those who may have dominated the conversation.
Equity Maps does that in digital form.
Each student in the app is displayed as an icon. As the group discussion flows, educators tap the icon of each new speaker and a line appears to create a visual representation of the conversation. At the end, educators can play back the data in actual time, or sped up to condense a 45-minute discussion into a one-minute recap, to show how the conversation flowed.
For more information on the app, see https://equitymaps.com/