Two of my hybrid EDU classes this semester were challenging me to actively engage my students, especially when involved in group tasks or assignments. Collaborative groups expert Spencer Kagan recommends, among a variety of strategies, the use of Talking Tokens. Each student is given 3 tokens (I use paper clips from a box in the middle of each table). As they talk, ask a question, give a suggestion, etc., they put a token back in the box. When they are out of tokens, they cannot talk until everyone else in their group is also out. Then, the process begins again. This helps eliminate typical collaborative group obstacles such as one student dominating, or others slacking off.
Prior to implementing this strategy, students were polled (on a 1 – 5, with 5 being most positive) as to whether or not group participation was equitably distributed between members (2.5), and whether they thought groups were effective (2.3). Post implementation of Talking Tokens, ratings were a 4.8 (equal participation) and 4.9 (effective groups). Finally, students, in discussing time on task, all agreed that class time on task was 100% for this activity.