In association with the Pennsylvania Department of Education we opened our software up to feedback from dozens of teachers across the state. They provided keen insight into how AthenaBridge (formerly DeepDebate) can be used in the classroom in many subject areas in addition to those that we mentioned before.
Here are some of the positive comments:
“This is an effective way to visualize and organize student opinion.“
“At first it was a bit confusing to navigate through the options. However, after a few moments I got the hang of it. It was easy to respond to a specific point someone was making… Once I understood how the website worked, I found it easy to engage in discussion on different points of the debate.”
“I liked that you can continue discussions on topics. I also like the idea of being able to rate/evaluate someone’s opinion. I really like the ability for people to log in anonymously to have a say. This allows someone to really express themselves without the fear of judgment.”
“I liked the idea of AthenaBridge. It offers many possibilities for my classroom.”
“I am going to try to use this with my students.”
“Everyday, there would be a new topic for the students to debate to get them ready for the day’s lesson.”
“I could definitely hold back-and-forth debates connecting social issues to literature that we are reading. We could run polls in order to get primary research from students during research projects. Most importantly, though, I would use this program to communicate with students in other classes/ disciplines. I would love to have my English students debate/ converse with social studies students when we read To Kill a Mockingbird. We could even open debates across grade levels and use this for tutoring help and things of that nature. I love this program and would love to start using it ASAP.”
Here are some of the comments suggesting improvement:
“A simple task made too complicated.” (Our thoughts: “Yes, for simple conversations of just a few people it’s best to use standard forum software. AthenaBridge is most valuable in situations where participants will respond to each other’s ideas and engage in an ongoing conversation.”)
“I liked reading the other responses, but should not have had to double click on them. All responses should be visible. I can limit from there.” (Our thoughts: “We’ve incorporated this feedback into the most recent version of the software.”)
“I thought the layout was a little confusing. Also, there were no directions on how to use the interface.” (Our thoughts: “The new design of the software has been fully field-tested and is fairly intuitive for the average sixth grader.”)
We thoroughly enjoyed this project, because we learned a great deal about how our software can be useful for teachers and students. We’ll also be able to address many of the excellent suggestions as we build version 2.0 of the software.
We look forward to working with the State of Pennsylvania and the creative ways teachers will use AthenaBridge in the future. As we hear of other innovative ways to use AthenaBridge in the classroom, we”ll be sure to share them here on this blog.
If you’d like to bring AthenaBridge to your school district or organization, be sure to reach out and let us know!