Blog of Mr C

Educational ICT links and musings….

Windows Live QnA

I had been thinking for some time how to provide an ICT platform for students to ask questions of each other and in turn provide answers.  I had a look at some forums and also Yahoo Answers but I decided to go for QnA.  This is because of the tagging system and the motivational points and reputation system.  I wanted to be able to create our own school community within QnA and we could achieve this by tagging our questions with “shr” (Shrewsbury High School’s domain).  This makes it really easy to find all the questions authored by shr pupils and it is also possible to subscribe to an RSS feed for this tag.

So, as an experiment I introduced my form group (year 8) to QnA during a PSE lesson.  I tried to give them some guidelines and set them off questioning and answering.  Initially, I was quite disappointed with the majority of the questions in terms of the lack of thought and some silliness.  However, some took it seriously, and others found it fascinating and began to answer as many questions as they could in order to build up their reputation and improve their score.

I was concerned that the team at QnA would be slightly hacked off with this sudden influx of school girls asking some inappropriate questions and tagging everything with the mysterious “shr”, so, I got in touch.  However it turns out that they are “thrilled” for us to be using it in this way and they are really keen to work with us to develop QnA to make it really accessible to schools and classes.

What I would really like to see QnA develop is the possiblity of creating custom groups so that we can have an shr league in order for the pupils to see how they are doing against each other.

I think that this has huge educational potential.  Pupils have the opportunity to ask a question regarding their school work and the whole world wide community can provide answers.  The best answer for a question can be voted for and this will mean a consideration of several different answers and viewpoints before making a choice.  Added to this, pupils can provide answers for others and their answer could be voted the best which will boost their reputation and points.  An interesting aside for teachers – what if your answer isn’t voted the best and a pupil is able to provide a more succinct, relevant and knowledgable answer…. 

Clever use of tags could also provide interaction between schools.  If all pupils in shropshire schools tagged their questions with shropschool then pupils covering similar work in different establishments could assist each other with their learning.

Any other thoughts?


October 18, 2006 - Posted by | web2.0


  1. Tim – this is an excellent idea and one I will try and promote with the other schools in Shropshire.


    Comment by Steve | October 29, 2006 | Reply

  2. OOh – I Like this site! I also like the idea of tagging so that other shrop schools can share. I’m sure we’re doing some of the same units at the same times – unit 8.3 for instance, and after trying out google docs with some of my bunch recently, I think they’d like the chance to share. Good find!

    Comment by Jude | October 30, 2006 | Reply

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