Have you ever asked a question to the class which is met with silence, or taught a new class and have not learned all your students’ names? Giving the job of selecting a student to a randomiser reduces your cognitive load – you don’t have to think about who you’ve already asked, who you might have missed out and what’s the name of that quiet student in the corner?
Student’s quickly understand why you use a randomiser and this keeps them engaged in your class. They know that the randomiser may select them at any time to perform a task. A randomiser helps the tutor avoid asking questions to the ablest student.
In a recently observed EAP class, I created a ‘hot-seat’ activity where I placed business idioms into a randomiser. The class was split into teams and one team member was nominated to sit in the hot seat with their back to the board so they can’t see the selected idiom. The aim of the task was for the students in the teams to describe that idiom. The student in the hot seat listened to their teammates and tried to guess the word. The British Council describes ‘hot seat’ in more detail, but does not use the randomiser.
I’ve often used this online randomiser from classtools.net, but recently, however, they have started to put ads. on their pages. There is now a premium edition (ad. free) available.
Alternatively, you could use a simple ppt with one name/idiom per slide that cycles through automatically. Jimmy Littlewing has shared his creation on the TES lesson resources page.