Unfortunately, it is sometimes hard to get students to volunteer, so educators all have their own methods for randomizing the order in which students present or perform other tasks. Do you have students draw numbers from a hat or popsicle sticks from a jar?
I have a fantastic little line method I can do on the board that has both students and other teachers just scratching their heads, but despite how wonderful many of these low tech solutions are, they usually take up more precious class time than some other options out there.
Enter Random.org. I learned of this site from a presentation titled “It’s Okay to Have Fun in the Classroom!” by Jolene Jaquays and Sara Okello from The University of Michigan – Flint. It was one of the recorded sessions from the TESOL convention in Portland, Oregon and I am just getting around to watching some of them now.
Anyway, Random.org is pretty basic. It is completely free and all you have to do is enter a list of under 10,000 items and click randomize. If you have your class list saved, you can randomize the list in class in under 30 seconds. I usually project the screen in class so that students can see how I arrive at the order, and I have not heard any complaints.
It may be a simple thing, but anything that makes your time in class more efficient is worth considering. Do you use any other effective and efficient methods for deciding order?