In a world full of distractions, how can teachers increase student engagement and class participation? These are two of the biggest issues for the educators of today. Students are surrounded by technology that draws their attention away from learning… From their mobile phones, to laptops, to tech that they wear. So how do lecturers cut through the ‘noise’ and make learning stick?
There are many different types of educational technology (‘edtech’, for short), that teachers can implement in their classrooms. Websites or apps such as YouTube, Google Hangouts or Facebook can help lecturers reach their students via platforms that they already know well. They can set up learning groups, share links and connect in ways that were previously unheard of. Other tools like Skype or Twitter encourage collaboration, and platforms such as Pinterest and Scoop.it! inspire learners to curate their own content. But none of these tools encourage active engagement in the classroom.
Over the last decade or so, student response systems (SRS) have emerged as the most effective way to engage with students in the classroom, and help teachers understand student learning in real time. The simplistic approach of posing a question during class and getting immediate feedback has proved highly beneficial to both students and educators. The technology has evolved from hardware, such as clickers (handheld devices handed out to students) to software and apps that can be downloaded or accessed via the student’s personal device.
In order to get the most from your chosen tool, here are a few handy tips to consider:
1. Check that the edtech you choose is flexible and capable. The solution must be simple to implement and roll out across your organisation. Even if an institutional-wide solution isn’t what you initially need, it might be in the future.
2. Does the software integrate with your current learning management system (LMS)? How will this integration happen? Will it create a huge headache for your already overworked IT team, or will the company assist with this integration?
3. Is free training and support offered? How long for? Does the company provide complementary webinars and visitations to your location?
4. Does the solution have an office in a timezone/language that matches your own for when support is needed?
5. Will you have a dedicated Account Manager to liaise with?
6. Is the solution scalable? Ask the sales representative for case studies of the solution on a large-scale project – have they any case studies?
7. How reliable is the solution? What are the downtime stats?
It is worth noting that TurningPoint meets all of these requirements, and more. Our solution integrates with many LMS, including Blackboard, Moodle and more; we offer complementary training and support; we have offices in the US, UK and Amsterdam, and a multitude of staff that speak multiple languages; you will get a dedicated Account Manager who will know your individual needs and requirements; we have many case studies showing our scalability, and our software is the most reliable solution on the market, with servers in the US, Europe and Asia, with minimal downtime. We are not just a clicker company – we provide both hardware and software solutions that can be used separately or together in the same environment, as a ‘hybrid’ solution.
There are many different edtech tools available to teachers and lecturers alike – but student response systems are a true engagement tool that will help both student and educator engage, learn and understand.