Bjorn Nordtveit headshot
 Dr. Bjorn Nordtveit
 Dept. of EPRA

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced many educators to shift to teaching online, instructors had to innovate, adapt, and find new ways to interact with their students (Dhawan, 2020; Hodges et al., 2020). Keeping students involved and interested can be particularly challenging online, but it is crucial for success in any content learning (Li & Xue, 2023; Martin et al., 2020). 

Within this pandemic-era online teaching context, Dr. Bjorn Nordtveit, a professor at the College of Education UMass Amherst, sought new ways to engage his students. Drawing upon a recommendation from his wife, Dr. Fadia Nordtveit, he began using Mentimeter—a user-friendly online platform that looks much like PowerPoint but is interactive. Though he initially began using it for teaching via Zoom, he continues to use it now for in-person teaching as he’s found it to be useful in encouraging participation and active engagement from a wider range of students–many of whom he believes are still readjusting to in-person classroom expectations and behaviors.

Why Mentimeter?

Dr. Nordtveit chose Mentimeter because it’s easy-to-use, free for students, and highly interactive. The platform's intuitive design enables his students to navigate its functionalities with minimal training. They can follow and interact with the class presentation on their smartphones (replying to real-time polling, quizzes, and Q&A sessions). 

How Does Dr. Nordveit Use Mentimeter in his classrooms?

Dr. Nordveit uses the tool for the following classroom activitiesExpand each item to learn more about them.

How did students respond to the use of this tool?

Dr. Nordtveit received positive responses from his students, which made him continue using the tool even after the pandemic. Students found the tool engaging and innovative for learning and sharing thoughts. Students noted, for example: 

  • “I like the opportunity to anonymously answer and ask questions in class. Sometimes it is easier for me to type out my response than formulate my words during an in-class discussion.”
  • “I love being able to do anonymous polls and responses - it helps me stay engaged.”

According to Dr. Nordtveit, Mentimeter has promoted better interaction with all students instead of having only two or three engage verbally all the time. With Mentimeter, the worry among other students about speaking out is eliminated since the students simply write their answers and post them anonymously.

What things should an instructor consider when using the tool?

  • Internet connection: You do need a solid Internet connection to use Mentimeter, so be sure to check your connection and address any issues, if possible, before using.
  • Free versus paid versions: The free version is limited to 3 polls/interactive features per presentation. Dr. Nordveit uses Mentimeter regularly and uses a wide variety of its features, so he chooses to pay for the annual subscription, which offers a special educator rebate.
  • Striking a balance: It's essential to ensure students don't get too attached to their devices. The solution is to set clear expectations and offer periodic breaks. At the beginning of the course, make some agreements with students about how and when to use the tool.
  • Purposeful Use: Use Mentimeter for engagement, not assessment, especially since the free version has limitations.
  • Safety and Anonymity: While Mentimeter is easy to use, stable, and offers anonymous interactions, educators must be vigilant. The anonymity can possibly lead to the usage of inappropriate language - although it has never happened for Dr. Nordtveit.

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