A couple years ago at a MACUL conference (Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning) while wandering through the vendor booths looking for freebies, I came across the QBall. This is a ball roughly the same size and material as a dodgeball, but with a microphone inside. While holding a class conversation, students toss the ball to each other and speak into the microphone so everyone else can hear them. This speeds up the sharing process as opposed to passing around a traditional mic and adds value to the conversation because now everyone can hear the individual sharing.
With some of the grant funding I had received in the spring, I purchased a QBall and am excited about the possibilities it could hold for my engineering enrichment class and my own students. I am trying to really emphasize productive talks this year in my class, and this is one easy way to increase productivity of the talk just by the fact more people will have time to share, want to share, and I won’t have to repeat those quiet students who can’t speak up loud enough for everyone to hear.
Additional Note 1/21/19--The QBall sound system was extremely easy to set up in my classroom. I just had to plug in the box to my computer and that then transmits through the classroom speakers. I found that I did have to turn the volume up quite high in order for the microphone to pick up students’ voices, and that they had to hold the ball fairly close to their mouths while speaking. However, they seem to enjoy it every time I get the QBall out and I do have more volunteers to participate! The ball also seems to protect the microphone as it has landed on the floor a few times while being tossed from student to student.
The STEM Sisters are Elementary Teachers working together on STEM related topics and projects.