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Managing, organising and reorganising your students can be challenging in any classroom, especially if you have large classes. This can be made even more difficult in the remote classroom, where your view of the order of students on your screen can be different from the order your students are seeing.

One tool that can help you overcome this problem is the Flippity Random Name Picker. This is a great tool the enables you to organise your students in a multitude of different ways. You can see a demonstration here: Random Name Picker

The demonstration includes random names, but you can easily edit the name list so that you have your own students names instead of the demonstration ones.

The basic demonstration shows all the names on a spinner, which you can click on to select a random name. This is useful if you want to randomly select a student to contribute to the class.
This isn’t the only way to use the tool though, there are lots of alternatives that are listed along the top of the interface. These include:

Groups – Putting students into groups with a specific number of people in each group.

Teams – Dividing the students into a specific number of teams.

Single name – Selecting the name of an individual student

Lineup – Putting students into a specific order.


If you click on ‘More’ you can also find an option for speed dating, so that you can partner up students randomly and then just click a button to rearrange them.


Another nice feature of the site is that it also has a timer, so you can add strict time limits to various activities and students are able to see how much time they have left. This is good for activities like brainstorming (for 3 mins), or talking about a random topic (for 1 minute).

To customise the names or topics that appear, click on ‘Want to Make Your Own Random Name Picker?‘ at the top of the page. Then follow the instructions.

You will need a Google Spreadsheets account. Then you make a copy of the spreadsheet that powers the name picker and edit and publish your own version. You’ll then be able to get a link to your own version of the name picker.

This is a really useful tool that can help you quickly and visually group your students with the minimum of fuss.

Need more ideas to help manage your remote classroom?

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