An AMA (Ask Me Anything) is a two way conversation first conceived on the social networking and news website Reddit. Essentially an AMA is an opportunity for people of interest to host their own Q&A session where users are encouraged to ‘ask them anything’. Questions can range from deadly serious to utterly ridiculous, and are voted up or down by users so that the most popular questions are answered first. More than just a fad on Reddit, there are a heap of ways you can run your own version of an AMA with interesting guests in your own classroom.
A Quick Look
1. In person – Invite a classroom visitor
It’s not a new concept to invite a community member or parent to speak in your class. Next time you have a classroom visitor, try and run the session like an online AMA. Have students write their questions on sticky notes or on slips of paper. Each student then has 5 votes they can use to vote up or down questions of their choice. This will dictate what questions are asked and when, ensuring the most popular questions are answered first.
2. Skype Classroom
Skype Classroom is not only one of the best technologies for conducting video chats with people around the world, it is also one of the best ways to find speakers to virtually visit your class. Skype can be easily set up on any classroom computer or device and is completely free to join and make video calls.
3. Google Hangouts
Similar to Skype, Google Hangouts are a quick, easy and free way to set up a video conference with your virtual guest. All you need is a Google account to get started and you could even consider inviting other other classrooms to join your AMA. Hangouts also have the added ability to easily record your conversation and upload it to YouTube to share or for your students to view and study later.
4. Voting with Trello
While Skype and Hangouts may solve the problem of connecting your students to your virtual guest, Trello is a very neat tool to help you manage and rank student questions. You can create ‘cards’ for each student question and then add votes to each, deciding which questions are most popular.
If you are thinking of running your own classroom AMA, it is well worth visiting Reddit to see some real life examples. In some cases it can even be a worthwhile experience having your (older) students engage on the site. I would preface this by saying the site often contains inappropriate content, so do take care and consider carefully if choosing to direct students towards a Reddit AMA.
Links and Next Steps
- Top scoring Reddit AMAs – The most popular AMAs on Reddit
- How to Host a Successful Reddit AMA
- Barack Obama, President of the United States — AMA
- Keanu Reeves AMA
- Astronaut Chris Hadfield, currently orbiting planet Earth
- Using Trello to Visualize and Manage School Projects
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, Wonderlane.