Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 45 seconds
A few days ago, at the New Rules for Work Symposium, I tried a tool called QuestionJam for the first time and enjoyed it so much, I wanted to try it myself. It’s free (so far at least!) and it’s basically a 7-minute activity where people ask each other questions and answer them – a large group join, and then each person asks a question of another person, and the other person replies, etc. And you just keep doing that for 7 minutes. The host sets a topic, but then pretty much it’s the participants asking questions to each other, seeing each other’s answers, etc. Today, I tested it from the host’s end, with the help of CJ and my kid.
I can see it 3 different uses for it in the immediate term:
1. First week of class, for ppl to get to know each other, asking warm-up questions to each other – and then there is a word cloud towards the end of the most common words used, and you can click on a common word and it will show you all the questions and answers for that word (without people’s names). you can also download the data later, but it’s still anonymous.
2. In a workshop with educators, collecting the questions on their minds but also them feeling like they got an answer from someone immediately even if the host doesn’t have time to answer all the questions. Again, downloading the data later and checking out the word cloud can give ideas to the host of some questions they could answer right then and there, or for the next session.
3. Before we start a topic in class to see what students are curious about, or after we finish introducing a new concept to see what questions students have for each other on the topic.
The difficulty using it with students is they may fall into asking content/understanding questions rather than more open ended probing questions, but perhaps that is also a way to teach them about different types of questions and how they might be used for different purposes?
The limitations are that it is 7 minutes and that’s it. You can’t modify the length. But it’s a good length, I feel, for the purposes above.
The other limitation is 4-50 participants. So if you have more than 50 it will be tricky.
One thing I think we need to keep in mind is that, as CJ says, you don’t have a lot of control on whether you are in asking or answering or reading-answers mode at any point in time – the game/app itself decides. So this may be uncomfortable for some folks.
I also think we can help people by letting them know they can slow down or speed up as they need. They don’t have to be asking a question every minute they have, they can rest a bit; they can take their time to respond if they need to; they can also ask the same question twice, to different people, if they can’t think of a new question each time.
Has anyone else tried this platform? What do you think of it? How have you used it? How did it go?
Featured image of a question mark inside a jam jar – created from the AI at you.com