I just learned about a new classroom application that can be used to engage learners, and to act as a formative assessment to guide instruction. Mouse Mischief is a program that can be used with PowerPoint 2010. Essentially, a teacher would show a presentation to the students, and at certain points during the presentation ask the students to participate. The teacher should include multiple choice questions, or just some type of question where students can reply by “pointing” with their own individualized (characters, shapes, bugs, etc) cursor by using a wireless mouse. The program is very affordable, with the main expense being a wireless mouse for each participant. I am looking forward to trying this, but feel that with 25 students in a class it could get quite “busy” with all the cursors swarming around the screen. I may have to find a way to do this in smaller group instruction, but I am willing to try it once to see what happens with the full class.
Another neat feature is that students can draw with the wireless mouse. So, I could ask all of my students to draw their own heptagon on the screen and then students can compare and contrast each to determine which are correct. And, the students can feel comfortable because only the teacher knows which cursor belongs to which student. See it in action for yourself in the video below then visit the Mouse Mischief site for more information. Let me know if you have tried it, how you have used it, and if you feel it was helpful. Thanks!