FAQs

What is Collaborative Learning?

06 Jun 2016

There is a wealth of research on group work that suggests that collaboration, compared with individual work, can foster better problem-solving and greater learning outcomes (e.g. Barron, 2000; Roseth, Johnson and Johnson, 2007; Slavin, 1995; 2011; Webb, 1989; Webb and Palinscar, 1996). Social interaction has a central role in constructivist and sociocultural theories of learning, although there are various interpretations of the mechanism through which it promotes learning (Piaget, 1952; Vygotsky, 1978). Social interaction is at the heart of collaborative learning. However, placing people in groups does not necessarily lead to collaboration or learning. Rather, it is engagement in specific types of interaction that fosters learning. Broadly speaking, collaborative learning has been conceptualized as a specific form of social interaction that involves a shared goal (Johnson and Johnson, 1999). The term has been used to cover diverse situations that vary in terms of the number of learners, the nature of the learning experience, the structure and medium of communication, and the degree to which learners construct a common understanding (Lipponen, 2002; Dillenbourg, 1999). Collaborative learning situations range, for example, from a pair of students conducting an experiment, to a community of students participating in an online course. This diversity of learning situations is reflected in the variety of definitions of collaborative learning (Dillenbourg, 1999).

Further, many researchers distinguish between collaborative and cooperative approaches to group learning. For example, Roschelle and Teasley (1995) argue that “cooperation is accomplished by the division of labour among participants, as an activity where each person is responsible for a portion of the problem solving”, in contrast with collaboration that involves the “mutual engagement of participants in a coordinated effort to solve the problem together.”

The principal aim of research on collaborative learning has been to understand how to foster social interactions that foster learning. This involves a) identifying patterns of social interaction that facilitate or inhibit learning, and b) understanding the factors that lead to different patterns of social interaction. Researchers have also developed theoretical frameworks to explain how particular social interactions facilitate learning, and have devised instructional approaches to foster positive social interactions in group learning situations (e.g. Slavin, 1995; Johnson and Johnson, 2009).

How do I prepare a Quickfire?

02 May 2016

If you wish to prepare your questions before a class, you may create a new Quickfire activity in your class page.

Once you have created a class, on your teacher dashboard, click on the class name and you'll reach the class homepage.

On the class homepage you will see the 'Assigned activities' section as in the following image, click on '+ Create new' to create a new set of Quickfire questions.

You will then be presented with the following screen where you can enter your prepared questions for your Quickfire, you can add as many questions as you like:

Once saved, you will see the Quickfire is assigned to your class, as in the following image:

When you're ready to teach - you can click on the blue 'Teach' button at the top right of your screen. This will take you to the 'lesson' page, where a code will be displayed so that students can join your class.

To launch the Quickfire activity you made earlier, click on the 'launch' button next to the title that you gave your Quickfire activity. You'll then be ready to start receiving answers from the class.

How do I delete a student from a class?

18 Apr 2016

1. Click on the class you would like to delete the student from.

2. Click on the 'students' tab.

3. Click on the 3 dots next to the name you'd like to delete.

4. Click 'X Delete student'.

How do I import a PowerPoint presentation into Discuss?

06 Apr 2016

1. Click on the Discuss icon on the Dashboard.

2. Click 'Create New'.

3. Click 'Import from PowerPoint'.

4. Choose the PowerPoint you'd like to use and click 'Open'.

What should I do if I am having problems using Spiral?

05 Apr 2016

If you are experiencing any problems with Spiral, no matter how large or small, we are here to help. Please use the contact us form on this website to detail your query, together with your preferred method for us to respond to you. We will get back to you as soon as possible and will do everything we can to answer your questions and resolve any problems. You can also tweet to us at @spiraleducation.

What can I do if my screen is not showing students answers as they come in?

05 Apr 2016

First, try clicking the refresh button.

If you are having to manually refresh your page every time you want to see updates, then you may wish to try another browser, for example, Chrome.

Occasionally student devices may also need a manual refresh and this is the first thing to ask students to try if they are not receiving messages and prompts from you.

Does Spiral have a single sign-on to other systems?

05 Apr 2016

Spiral does not currently have a single sign on to other systems, other than Google and Twitter for teachers. We are planning to integrate with Google Classroom and Office365 in the future. If a school chooses to use Spiral, then we can work with you to integrate Spiral registration with your active directory and management information system.

Do I have any control over students phones when we are using Spiral?

05 Apr 2016

You will be able to see who has logged into Spiral and who is answering questions and contributing to activities, both on your mobile device and your main screen. This means that you will be able to see when a student has logged off Spiral and be able to prompt them if they are slow at submitting their responses. We haven't yet developed a means of viewing all student's screens from your main computer as this is being tackled by classroom management solutions. These are becoming more flexible in terms of the range of devices they can manage and should be able to help you view student screens more easily.

My school does not allow mobile phones in lessons - how can I use Spiral?

05 Apr 2016

Spiral can be used on a range of devices.

Mobile devices such as laptops or tablets work very well.

Does everyone need their own device to use Spiral?

05 Apr 2016

There may be occasions when not every student has access to a device; maybe they don't have their own phone or don't have any battery life left. In these situations we have seen Spiral used very well between pairs or small groups of students. It facilitates a think/pair/share style of activity and develops collaborative discussion.

Does Spiral require an internet connection?

05 Apr 2016

Yes, Spiral does require an internet connection. For mobile devices you may either use WiFi or a mobile data plan.

Is Spiral available on the app store/iTunes? Is it web based?

05 Apr 2016

Spiral is available in the Chrome Web store (laptops & Chromebooks), iTunes (iPad/iPhone) and Google Play (Android).

However, since Spiral is a web based app, it is usually the best practice to run it through your web browser

You can find the Spiral apps on the following pages:

Do I need to install Spiral before I can use it?

05 Apr 2016

No, you do not need to download Spiral before using it. This means that you should be able to use it in school without having to add to your ICT team's workload!

However, you can get the app from both the Apple Store, or the Chrome Store if you'd like to access the link more quickly.

Can I upload pre-made Powerpoints onto Discuss?

05 Apr 2016

Yes. We received feedback from a lot of teachers that they have a lot of Powerpoints made for their classes. We listened and have added 'import Powerpoint' feature into Discuss. We are working hard to improve this feature.

Can I use it on my device?

05 Apr 2016

Yes, Spiral's apps are web-based app. There's no download necessary and therefore you can use it in any 1:1 classroom. Supported devices include tablets, iPads, Android devices, laptops/computers and even your mobile phones.

What’s the difference between Quickfire and Discuss?

05 Apr 2016

Quickfire

Quickfire gets the whole class to answer fast paced questions in class using their personal devices. It is ideal for assessing student understanding at the start or end of a lesson.

Discuss

Discuss allows each student in the class to contribute their ideas to an interactive presentation that has been prepared by the teacher.

Spiral has asked me for feedback. What do I need to do/say?

05 Apr 2016

We'd love to know whether the apps are compatible and useful to your teaching method as well as our way of improvement!

Anything you feel about using it! We have been co-developing the apps with teachers in London. We want to know if it also fits into school in other areas. Most importantly, we want to make Spiral more teacher-oriented!

How do I plan a Discuss?

05 Apr 2016

How do I use Quickfire?

05 Apr 2016

Quickfire doesn’t require any preparation - simply launch it when you want to ask your class a question.

On your teacher dashboard, click the Quickfire symbol in the ‘Apps’ section and select the class you want to teach by clicking the ‘Teach’ button next to the class.

When the student logs in to their account, they will be directed to their dashboard. After the teacher has chosen the class which they wish to teach, the student’s dashboard will show ‘Lessons in Progress’, in a blue box. They can select ‘Join’ and then they will be directed to the Quickfire app. Click the orange ‘Quickfire’ bar and you’re ready to begin. Type in the question you wish to ask your class. When you’re ready for your class to answer, click ‘Start Quickfire'.

The question you’ve asked the class will be displayed on each student’s personal device, which they can then answer. When they’re ready to submit their answer, they can press ‘Post’.

The responses provided by students will be displayed on your device in real time. Click the tick if the answer the correct; or the arrow button if you’d like your student to improve their answer.

Select the icons below to view the answer wall (which displays all the answers submitted, along with the ones which have a tick); the leaderboard (which shows all the correct answers and how many people submitted those answers); and a piechart (which generates and displays a piechart of all the answers submitted).

If you’re ready to move onto the next question, click the plus button on the bottom left corner to add a new question.

How is Spiral different from Socrative/Plickers/Kahoot?

05 Apr 2016

Spiral is not a learning management system - it is a suite of collaborative learning apps designed for classroom use. Each app emulates a specific classroom activity.

Spiral uses a unique three-way view: students answer using their personal device; teachers provide feedback to each response, which is shown to the student on their device; and responses are displayed anonymously on the whiteboard. Spiral facilitates active and collaborative learning, and the questions you choose to ask are not limited to multiple choice questions. In Discuss, questions are embedded within the slideshow.

What is Quickfire?

05 Apr 2016

Quickfire is a tool that enhances question-and-answer activities in the classroom. Students answer questions on their mobile devices. As the teacher you can view responses on an answer wall, allowing students to build on each other’s responses. The teacher’s device will display answers submitted by students in real-time, which teachers can mark as correct, or can return to the student for editing.

You can either create and launch a Quickfire without any preparation or create a Quickfire in advance of a lesson that you are planning to teach in future.

How long is Spiral free for? Are there premium accounts?

05 Apr 2016

Each of the basic features on Spiral are free and will remain free to individual teacher accounts forever. What this means is that everything you can see when you first sign up is free and will remain free forever.

We will be launching the Spiral PRO upgrade soon, which, for a very small annual fee, will give access to our flipped learning features and extra features in the apps.

Spiral School/District licensing is also available, which includes integration with your school's systems (eg. Moodle).

For corporate use, please contact us for pricing and more information on our "Spiral Training" services.

How do I add my students?

05 Apr 2016

The quickest way is to ask students add themselves using these instructions:

1. Visit www.gospiral.ac

2. Students type in the Lesson Code (this is on the screen once you as a teacher have launched a lesson).

3. Students type in their name. If they have already registered, then they are to choose their name from the list that appears below.

The student should now appear in the lesson.

Do students need to create their own account?

05 Apr 2016

Students will create their own account the first time they join a lesson using the lesson code. When the lesson is finished, they will have the option to set a password. Teachers can reset their student’s password if they forget it.

What should I do if I am having problems using Spiral?

01 Apr 2016
If you are experiencing any problems with Spiral, we're here to help.

You can use the contact us form on this website or just tweet us at @spiraleducation.

We will get back to you as soon as we can and will do everything we can to answer your questions. We love to help teachers make the most out of technology in the classroom!

Is Spiral really free?

24 Mar 2016

Each of the basic features on Spiral are free and will remain free to individual teacher accounts forever. What this means is that everything you can see when you first sign up is free and will remain free forever.

We will be launching the Spiral PRO upgrade soon, which, for a very small annual fee, will give access to our flipped learning features and extra features in the apps.

Spiral School/District licensing is also available, which includes integration with your school's systems (eg. Moodle).

For corporate use, please contact us for pricing and more information on our "Spiral Training" services.

Are there many users in Europe?

18 Mar 2016

Yes, there are many users in Europe (such as those in Norway and Sweden). Spiral was founded in the UK and has expanded overseas.

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