Teaching Tips

Whiteboarding Tip 4: The Report Back Method

The Report Back method can work as an alternative to the presentation method for post-lab discussions where several questions help students analyze data, view their results in more than one way, and develop the model of the concept they investigated. While you could assign one or two questions to each group and have them present their whiteboards to the class, the report-back method is sometimes more efficient.

The Report Back method has two advantages. Since all groups must answer all questions on their whiteboards, students must discuss answers in their small groups and self-correct within the group. As groups report out, the teacher has the flexibility to call on more than one group to answer the same question, particularly if it is a tricky one. The teacher can skip a question if one group has been thorough in their presentation and has answered two questions in one. The teacher might find a deep misconception that needs to be discussed, in which case students can self-correct later answers.

Veteran teacher Doug Steinhoff also likes to use a similar “Share Method” when students answer multiple choice questions pre- and post-instruction. Students just write their answers (A, B, C….etc.) on their whiteboards and hold up the whiteboard. The class can look around and see every group’s answer, and Doug gets a quick survey.

When Doug uses the Exploring Physics App, the built-in whiteboard tool serves the same function. Each student holds up their device instead of the larger whiteboard.

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