Forming classroom groups that are diverse and productive is a task that takes a lot of time and thought. The free, GroupMaker iOS app by Richard de los Santo of Splaysoft, does some of the work for you. After entering your students, you can add a picture and indicate some demographic data for each:
- Miscellaneous: 1, 2 or 3 (performance level)
You can choose to form groups that take into account all, some, or none of these factors (random).
You can set up multiple classes, then create and save multiple groupings for each class.
You can enter students one at a time manually, or import a text file. To import students, I exported a class of students out of our student information system as a text file. I then sent the text file to myself as an email attachment. I opened the email message in the Mail app on my iPad (didn’t work when I opened the message in the Gmail app). After a press and hold on the attachment in the message, I was given the option to open the file in several apps, including GroupMaker. After opening in GroupMaker, a new class was created with the text file of students.
Once the groups are generated, you can make adjustments by dragging students into different or new groups. There’s also an attendance feature that you turn on or off. When on, you can indicate absent students by tapping their images, which causes them to gray out, but not completely disappear.
Picker and Timer
The included picker and timer are nice features. When I was in the classroom I liked using a spinner to choose students or groups randomly to avoid limiting student participation to those that volunteered by raising their hands. This app’s picker tool allows you to do just what my spinner did, randomly select a group or a student.
It would be beneficial if the app could take into consideration past groups, so that an effort could be made to avoid students having the same team mates repeatedly, as much as possible. What other factors do you take into account when grouping students?