Mobile Technologies for Learning and Development (VIII). John B. Stav & Gabrielle Hansen-Nygård: Promoting Interaction and Engagement in Education and Training by use of iPod/iPhone

Notes from the UOC UNESCO Chair in e-Learning VII International Seminar: Mobile Technologies for Learning and Development, held in Casa Asia, Barcelona, Spain, on October 6-7, 2010. More notes on this event: eLChair10.

Promoting Interaction and Engagement in Education and Training by use of iPod/iPhone
John B. Stav & Gabrielle Hansen-Nygård, Sør-Trøndelag University College, Norway

A student response system (SRS) is a group of technological products designed to support response, communication and interaction. The teacher can e.g. create a quiz and the students can answer it on their mobile phones.

One of the reasons to use such systems is that if asked orally, the students might end up not raising their hands at all to provide an answer to the question (including endorsing the proposed answer by just raising their hands). This way, anonymity allows more participation.

The system also fosters collective work, as questions can also be proposed to be answered in groups. In this case, students gather and debate about the correct answer. Involvement is also a good part of it. Indeed, involvement does not end in the most active part of the participation system, but also in its closure: the teacher is pressed, after the question or problem has been answered by the students, to provide a correct answer and a thorough explanation for that answer.

The SRS is not intended to substitute the teacher but to complement and enrich their classes. In fact, many times the system is used to “wake up” the students, to force a change in the pace of the class, to collect (tacit, indirect) feedback on how the class is going.

Discussion

Several people point at the fact that using the SRS implies the possibility of being really flexible in the way you teach, adapting your teaching in real time depending on the feedback. This may sometimes not be possible, sometimes may have a negative effect on tight schedules and, in any case, it demands more preparation for the classes, which is not bad (on the contrary), but it’s definitely time demanding.

[NOTE1: This session was a demo of the Sør-Trøndelag University College student response system].

[NOTE2: I can here think of the Berkman Center Question Tool].

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