Identity Accelerator #2: Guess The Untruthmkoole, · Categories: Educational technology, Identity, Teaching
Guess The Untruth is an activity that I adopted years ago when teaching English as a Second Language at the University of Lethbridge. Originally, it was a way to encourage students to practice the present perfect tense. This activity can be very interesting and engaging. It offers the students an opportunity to share their cleverness, their sense of humour, and some interesting aspects of their lives. In other words, the students can start sharing and shaping their identities.
Most recently, I have been using this activity with my master-level students at the beginning of the semester. It gives the students a break from the usual welcome forum introductions in which we ask them to tell us about themselves and why they are taking the class. (I can’t tell you how many times I was asked to do this when I was a student.)
- Asynchronous (recommended): warm up activity. Makes use of biography tool (LMS, blog, etc.) and text-based discussion forums with moderation. I employ this activity almost exclusively in asynchronous environments.
- Synchronous (possible): warm up in VOIP (Skype, Blackboard Collaborate, Adobe Connect, etc.). But, this activity works best when the students can draw upon some information from profiles updated in the LMS (or other tool) biography pages.
- Biography tool: most LMSs and social networking systems offer a means for the students to write a personal profile.
- Discussion board: set up a discussion forum specifically for this activity. For me, it is usually the “welcome” forum.
- The teacher (or facilitator) asks the students to update their profile/biography pages within LMS (or other system being used.
- The teacher then asks the students to go into the discussion forum and start a thread with two true statements about themselves and one untrue statement.
- The teacher prompts the students to read each other’s profiles.
- Then, the teacher prompts the students to read each thread in the discussion forum and guess which statement is untrue.
- Set a time limit (a week) for the students to guess each other’s false statement. Then, ask the students to confess.
- The teacher starts the process by
- Updating his/her profile.
- Starting a discussion thread with the three statements about him/herself.
- Guessing about one or two of the students’ statements and demonstrating the logic processes by comparing what is said in the profile and how the three statements might be truthful or not.
- Fessing up! This, too, is part of leading the group: ending the activity and debriefing.
I often send out a welcome letter to the students a week or two before an online course starts. On the course start date, I then explain this activity in a video as well as in text. (I recommend offering text scripts of videos just in case the students have bandwidth issues.)
Wthin a day of starting the activity, there can be 100 or more discussion messages posted for a class of 20 students. It can be a high volume activity, so be prepared.
I have had consistently good experience with this activity and I highly recommend it. Try drawing upon interesting snippets from your own life. For example:
- I have been marooned on the Orinoco River.
- I like catsup on my waffles.
- I have practiced Judo in Spain.
Which do you think is the false statement?
Rating: 5 stars
Note: My students recently shared this article with me:
Dixon, J. S., Crooks, H., & Henry, K. (2006). Breaking the ice: Supporting collaboration and the development of community online. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 32(2). Retrieved from http://cjlt.csj.ualberta.ca/index.php/cjlt/article/view/51/48
In this article, the authors discuss a similar activity called “Liar, Liar”.