October 25, 2019

Learning in teams at Phnom Penh Barcamp

Do you have a class that has students who tend to play with mobile phones? Do you want to run an activity that promotes curiosity, team-work and critical thinking? Do you want your students to learn from each other?

I recommend that you try this Team-Based (TBL) technique that we demonstrated at the Phnom Penh Barcamp 2019.

Step 1: Individual Test

We gave an individual test to all the students.

They must answer 3 to 4 questions (created on a Google Form) individually. Talking to each other and discussions are not allowed.

Here is the form we used for the individual test

Google forms produces a very long URL. Use a service like tinyURL or Bit.ly to create a short link for your forms. This way the students can type in the link easily on their phones. For example I shortened the URL for Individual Test form to bit.ly/mmsugar1

Here are the Google Form settings for the Individual test

Individual Test

At the end of the Individual test, they see their score and the questions they got wrong or right but they do not see the correct answers. By not giving the correct answers, we make the students curious.

Step 2: Team Test

This time we ask the students to make the team (3 to 4 students per team). The team must also select a reporter.

We give a Team Test this time. The Team Test has the same questions as the Individual Test earlier. The idea is that the student who got the correct answer in the Individual Test will now help the other student understand why their answer is the right answer. Once they have discussed the answer, the reporter types in the response on their phone.

We also have one or two higher-level questions. For these questions, the team will need to have a short discussion and come to an answer. The reporter types in the response and submits the form.

Here is the form we use for the Team test

Again I shortened the above link to bit.ly/mmsugarteam. Also, I have changed the colour of the Team Test form. This makes it easy to check if the students are answering the right form by just glancing at their phones.

Here are the Google Form settings for the Team test

Team Test

This time the team can see the correct answers to the questions.

You can create the Team Test form by duplicating the Individual Test form. Change question 1 to ask for team member names. Add the higher-level questions at the end. Also remember to change the settings to show the answers this time.


In the Individual Test, the students explore fact” information. They can Google search and find the answers. These answers are terms or values, for example: the capital of a country, the amount or sugar one can consume safely, the height of a mountain.

In the Team Test, they help each other figure out the right fact. The higher-order questions helps them use these facts to analyse a real world issue.

After the test, the teacher can download the test scores from the forms and analyse 1) percentage of wrong answers in Individual Test, 2) percentage of wrong answers in the Team Test, and 3) The improvement in scores. Finally, the teacher can also analyse the answers to the higher-level questions to evaluate if students are applying the information gained from the fact” based questions.

If students got some questions wrong in both Individual and Team tests, the teacher can explain the concepts.


If you plan to conduct many such team learning activities, I recommend that you use Google Classroom to collect these activities. Google Classroom allows you to integrate forms and administer them to your students. This way once your students are enrolled in a Google Classroom class, they do not have to keep typing the form URLs on their phones.


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