Using a Qball in the classroom
Last Christmas, I asked my husband, Eric for a Qball for my classroom. It was new on the market, and it looked like something that I would use daily as a tool for teaching. Although I wasn’t sure if it was worth the cost, it’s about the amount we budget on gifts for each other.
If you’re not sure what a Qball is, imagine a microphone in a ball that students throw (without breaking it!) to each other. They speak into the ball for the class to hear and either throw to the next student or back to you.
I’ve had microphones in my room before and they either were too clunky or the cords were in the way. A wireless microphone would have worked, but I definitely didn’t want to invest that much on a good one that would last for several years. The Qball looked appealing because it is durable and mobile.
So on December 25, I opened a square box and voila! Thanks to Eric, I was the owner of a Qball!
Let me tell you, I love that thing! Our kids proved its durability playing with it all afternoon, so I didn’t have to worry about my first graders breaking it. You plug it into your own speaker (I just use the portable one that I always use in my classroom for music etc.) and the sound quality is loud enough for everyone to hear.
On the first day back to school after Christmas Break, I pulled it out to show my students, and with wide eyes and “Ooohs and Ahhhs” they were ready to try it! This video is from the manufacturers website, and gives you a good idea of how it works:
First a little classroom management.
- Toss underhand. We practiced with imaginary Qballs.
- Say the person’s name you’re throwing it to just in case you throw it in the wrong direction and there’s no confusion over who should catch it.
- Speak into the Qball, but do not put your mouth on the foam microphone piece. (Germs… Ew…)
And that’s it! We were off to the races. I used it DAILY.
You know those students who have an outdoor voice when they’re lining up or working with a partner, but when they’re participating in class you need one of those old-timey ear horns to hear what they’re saying? The Qball solves that problem.
You know that student who isn’t interested in participating in a group discussion? The Qball solves that problem too. The makers of the Qball, PEEQ, believe “Every class, meeting and event is an opportunity to change lives. But that's only possible if people can hear and learn from each other.” My classroom engagement skyrocketed, and students began to truly listen to each other.
We passed it around for restorative circles as we were talking about issues that came up on the playground. We tossed it to students who went up to the front of the room to explain how they solved a math problem. We read our published writing pieces at the author’s chair with it on our laps. And best of all, when I got sick and lost my voice, I removed the microphone and carried it around on a lanyard all day and could keep teaching.
According to the manufacturers website, the Qball has:
- 75 foot range from the microphone to the receiver
- 2.4 Ghz Frequency
- 10+ hour talk time for the rechargeable lithium-polymer battery
- 2 in 1 microphone that can be used in and out of the Qball
- Quiet Toss: The microphone detects motion and shuts off in flight to avoid hearing bumps
- Audio in and out. Using a standard AUX jack, the receiver can also play music from your phone or computer.
Qball Promo Code for your classroom
The Qball runs $179. I contacted the great people at Qball and there is a free shipping promo code you can use - it is SHRKTNK19 and you just enter it during checkout. Over the next few weeks they’re hosting a back to school giveaway. You can follow them on their social media platforms at @gopeeq for more information, and when I see it I will post about it as well.
You can order a Qball at https://qball.myshopify.com/products/qball
Read about the Qball’s journey on Shark Tank HERE.
In a few short days, I’m going to head into my classroom to prepare it for the school year. One of my first to-do items is to charge my Qball. I’ll probably be posting pictures and video soon!
This is just one of the many ways I have begun to incorporate technology into my classroom. Read about the differences between various digital platforms I have used, such as Seesaw and Class Dojo.